The first 100 of the season is upon us. With a warm dry winter, the course is in good shape though with some rain expected this week the usual sticky spots may still apply. As always, however, the field is expected to go out hard and it remains to be seen this year whether anyone can hang on to the early pace. Our 2012 event saw Craig Holgate blitz the course in 15:11 and Mimi Anderson run away with the win in 18:50, times which haven't been threatened since, although in 2013 the conditions put pay to that all on their own. Can anyone come close this year?
As always, this preview comes with the usual caveats. It's compiled by me and largely using nothing more than hearsay plus a bit of investigation on DUV Statistik. If you know of someone who's missing and could contend please do leave a comment.
Martin Bacon: Martin has finished all 3 TP100s and was champion in 2013 in appalling conditions. His best of 17:41 in 2012 was good enough for 3rd that year behind Craig and Robbie Britton, 2014's 7th being his lowest finish position. Although he is the first to admit that youth isn't on his side, he likes to go out hard and mix it up from the gun. If he can hang tougher than he did in 2014 he could well be in contention come the final stages. Certainly with his Sparta finish in 2014 he will take confidence in to this race.
Gary House: Gary makes the preview by virtue of one particular stand out performance, his 130 mile Leeds Liverpool Canal time from last year, of 23:41. Pat Robbins may well have disappeared out of sight for the win, but Gary's time is very solid indeed and clearly he knows how to get a result on the flat trails the TP has to offer.
Max Wilcocks: Ultra running's answer to George Clooney, Max has run a couple of cracking 100's, most notably his 2013 SDW100 where he finished 3rd in 16:58. He has a number of sub 7hr 50 milers behind him and a 3rd place at last years Race to the Stones 100km. Just recently he posted a 49 mile final training effort on the track at Crawley 12hr so if he is fresh and recovered he will be looking to go all the way here.
Chris Howe: Chris' legendary low training mileage doesn't seem to affect him often when he shows up to races. He's finished UTMB twice as well as the SDW100 and in the last couple of years, racked up some solid wins at shorter distance ultra trail events in the UK. Our main man at Profeet Rich Felton puts him on a sub 17hr potential finish on a strong day and that should be good enough to put him in contention.
Sam Robson: Sam will be going in to the first race of his 2015 slam with high hopes for sure. He has raced well in the past at the SDW100 finishing 2nd in the first year of the race, 2nd at the Viking Way Ultra in 2013 and putting in a very solid Spartathlon in 2014 where he finished in 32:04. Sam is perhaps capable of much more, could this be a really stand out run with which to kick off the year....?
Nick Greene: Final nod goes to Nick Greene who will be there to pick up any carnage from the early pace. Nick is a super solid runner and has focused on this race. With a 14:48 at the Ridgeway for 4th last year and a sub 18hr SDW100, he could well be looking at a time somewhere a good ways south of 17hrs, potentially good enough to walk off with the win.
A few stand out names on the female runners list this year.... (Sally Ford added)
Mimi Anderson: Mimi comes in to the TP100 the course record holder and 2012 champion. Her racing history is too deep to mention here, her results over a long period of time outstanding - having taken part in and won many of the world's longest ultra's over the last 15 years of her ultra career. She knows the course and knows how to run long and flat trails.
Elisabet Barnes: Elisabet has turned in some astonishing results of late. In the last 6 weeks alone she won the Marathon Des Sables and this past weekend clocked a sub 3 at London. Previously this year she won and set course records at Country to Capital and the Pilgrims Way. If she is at the TP to race it's certainly going to be fascinating to see what kind of level of performance she can turn in but on recent evidence she could set a new benchmark without a shadow of a doubt.
Sally Ford: Sally finished 6th in 2013 and 2nd in 2014, bettering her time to 20:19 overall so the question remains can she go all the way this time out? She has notched up a number of wins, podiums and top tens at a variety of ultra distances in the last few years so is undoubtedly going to get stronger and stronger.