Firstly, I apologise profusely to anybody who feels they have been 'missed out' from this preview. I have included only those people which I am already aware of from the UK ultra circuit. Those of you that have been 'skipped over' will I'm sure right that wrong on race day and hence write yourselves into the history books with a bang. Remaining a dark horse is no bad thing....? Please also excuse any slight errors in the information present. Whilst the US has an incredible range of databases for results and a magazine dedicated to ultrarunning alone, we are obviously not so fortunate over here so I am forced to go off of snippets of info picked up along the way.
Corrections and additions gratefully received in the comments field below this post!
I thought it would be fun to have a look at a few of the potential front runners at the upcoming TP100 in order to highlight some of the calibre we have in the field. I am looking forward to seeing how the race plays out and have a feeling there will be some super fast times laid down this first weekend in March.
Ed Catmur - Ed has enjoyed a stellar start to the 2012 season with a 5:20 something win at Go Beyonds Country to Capital 44 miler. Whilst relatively new to the sport, his results to date have been seriously impressive, capturing 1st place at the Norfolk 100km and a 2nd place at the inaugural NDW50 last August. He also holds the Course Record at the Trionium Greensands Marathon. Look out for Ed later this year also as he steps up to the full 100 on the NDW on August 11th.
Robbie Britton - A man who has spent time out on the course recently with yours truly and who has, undoubtedly got a very bright future ahead of him in the ultra game. Robbie has built up a good amount of long distance experience in the past 18 months with finishes at Caesars Camp (twice), UltraRace 100 and the GUCR but his best result came in last years NDW100 when he overturned a huge deficit at 50 miles to win in 19:47. He recently ran the TT50 in 6:40 and knows what it is like to go long. Look out for a fast second 50 at the TP100.
Craig Holgate - Until recently, unknown on the ultra circuit, having not run any before the back end of last year, he has won his first two ultras, the latter being a very creditable 5:56 victory at the Thames Trot 50. This won't be a suprise to those that have seen him post extremely quick half and full marathon times over years of top level running. This will however be his first 100 miler and there is no substitute for experience. On paper, perhaps the fastest man in the field and it will fascinating to see if he can put together a great first 100.
Graham Booty - A man at home racing cross country as he is finishing strong at 100 milers. I've had the pleasure of witnessing him run just outside of a 20 hour time at Caesars Camp, as well as chasing Ian Sharman hard for the win at the Jurassic Coastal Challenge in 2010, falling just shy. His run at Caesars, which is an extremely challenging course, is proof that he can go on to record a super fast 100 mile time at the TP100 if he has a good day. Maybe a little early in the season for a man focusing this year on the UTMB but he will be in the hunt for sure and is as strong as they come.
Martin Bacon - 2nd place at the 103 mile SDW race in 2010 and with a sub 7 time at this years TT50, another man with experience of going long and capable of holding a very strong pace for the duration. Again perhaps another one to pick up the pieces if others go out too hard in the early stages.
David Ross - Dave probably wouldn't put himself in the mix for this race, but he should do. Having suffered at the hands of a really unfair DNF at Western States last year, his first 100, he came back to record a 5th place 22:39 which included getting lost for a considerable amount of time, a habit which those of us who know Dave has caused him problems in the past (he gifted me 7th instead of 8th at the C2C by adding on a few extra miles - thanks Dave!). In his second 100, a man who runs marathons and ultras every single week will be fighting fit and ready to push himself to the max. If everyone has their best day, Dave will be in and around the top 10. If others fade, I think Dave will pick off places all the way to the line.
Cliff Canavan King - Cliff ran a 19:59 at the 2011 SDW Race for second place. He is a man with plenty of speed at all distances from marathon and upwards and will be in the hunt from the start.
Ken Fancett - Ken won't win this race but is perhaps one of the most remarkable runners we have in the field. At the NDW100 he finished in 5th place in 22:31. I don't know his exact tally but Ken has been racing 100s and 24 hr track races for many years and I believe has over 30 100 mile finishes to his name. He recently also snuck in for a super time at the Benfleet 15 showing that he is still doing it at all distances. The amazing thing about Ken is that he is 62.
There are a host of other runners who could go fast on the day including Paul Acheson 4th at the NDW100 in 2011, Richard Webster who has a big year ahead - another man to have gone sub 20 at a 100 in the past and Dale Staton and Stuart Blofeld both late entries and sub 24 hour runners the NDW100 in 2011. It is shaping up to be a great race.
Erica Terblanche - Erica and I ran the first 60km of the Sahara Race long stage together in 2009 and I discovered somebody who is 1. as tough as they come but more importantly 2. totally and utterly has her pacing down to a fine art. Those subtle adjustments that allowed her to go on and win that event and kept her running almost the entire duration were gained from years of adventure racing, often where Erica would be the only female in a team. Steady pacing at 100 miles is crucial and Erica has that skill as well as plenty of experience of going long in abundance.
Mimi Anderson - Where to start. A lady who has been winning ultras for years, who regularly beats the men as well as the ladies, who has set records at the most difficult ultra running challenges around the world including but not limited to: Bawdater, Double Badwater, the MdS, female record holder at double Comrades, female record holder for John O'Groats to Lands End, until recently the world record holder for a 7 day treadmill run, fastest Brit at the Spartathlon in 2011, winner of the Seni-Extreme 200 mile race the list goes on and on. Mimi will start at her own pace and indeed finish at her own pace. The one thing that's for sure is that she will finish as strong as she starts.
Sandra Bowers - Sandra was this months female winner and new course record holder at the TT50 and has the pedigree of representing her country multiple times. There is no doubt that she is on form and whilst a late entrant, will be one to watch after her show of recent form.
Jen Bradley - Perhaps not entirely focused on this race with other goals in mind for 2012, Jen won the 12 hour hell on the humber last year and has the potential to go fast here.
In amongst the others Trinity Booth and Wendy Shaw both had great races at the C2C, showing that they are coming to form at the right time.
All in all both races are lining up to be fascinating at the front end. Where ever you are looking to finish, finishing is the number 1 priority and the aid station teams will do their best to get you to that line.
Please feel free to add yourselves or recommend others I've missed into the comments section below.