The 2015 The North Face 100k-Australia takes place this Saturday in Australia’s Blue Mountains. As the fifth race in this year’s Ultra-Trail World Tour, the local speedsters will spar with a fleet of fast folks imported from around the world.
iRunFar will cover TNF100k-Australia live via our Twitter feed starting Saturday, May 16, at 6:20 a.m. local time in Australia (AEST), which is Friday, May 15, at 2:20 p.m. MDT in the U.S. Stay tuned!
Here are some resources to help you follow the race:
- Skip directly to the men’s or women’s previews;
- Check out the article we published an article describing the intricate, temporary Tarros Ladder that’s installed to lower runners down a cliff in the middle of the race;
- Watch pre-race interviews with François D’Haene, Dylan Bowman, Brendan Davies, Cassie Scallon, and Amy Sproston;
- Check out the race website, course info, and live runner tracking; and
- Tune into the live video feed at the race’s start and finish line.
Ps. To get all the latest ultra news from iRunFar.com, subscribe via RSS or email.
2015 The North Face 100k-Australia Men’s Preview
Headliners from Afar
François D’Haene (pre-race interview) need I say more than his name to readers of this article? He was the winner of the inaugural 2014 Ultra-Trail World Tour, which he garnered by winning Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji (post-race interview), Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (post-race interview), and Diagonale des Fous. He was second at the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships in the Ultra category and was the winner of the 2014 Ice Trail Tarentaise. In the last couple years, he’s become one of the few who seems to perform at a level above most of the sport’s top runners. He will be seriously difficult to beat.
The U.S.’s Dylan Bowman (pre-race interview) is super strong. In 2014, he won the Sean O’Brien 50 Mile, was third at the Western States 100, and fifth at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. So far in 2015, he’s already visited Oceania and won the Tarawera Ultramarathon (post-race interview). He had a bout of dehydration/heat overexposure/something this spring at a local-to-him race that required a few weeks of dedicated recovery. If he’s ready to roll again, he’s an almost-certainty for the podium.
In 2014, China’s Yun Yan-Qiao won at least three 100k races, The North Face 100k Hong Kong and Beijing, as well as China’s YiShan 100k. He ran at the front of this year’s Tarawera Ultramarathon for quite a distance, and then inexplicably (at least to us) dropped while he was still in prime position. I’m eager to see how he fairs at this race.
Yan Long-Fei of China won the 2014 MSIG Hong Kong 50k and the 2014 Lantau 50k. He was second by almost an hour to Yun Yan-Qiao at the 2014 YiShan 100k, though. So far in 2015, he’s won the Vibram Hong Kong 100k in January (post-race interview) and was second at the MSIG Sai Kung 50k. He’s proven his leg speed with a 2:15:45 marathon PR at the 2011 Beijing Marathon.
In 2014, France’s Julien Chorier was second at Transgrancanaria (post-race interview) and Hardrock 100 (post-race interview). He was also the winner of the 2014 Madeira Island Ultra Trail. He doesn’t race too often–he’s yet to log a major race finish in 2015–but when he does, he shows up the professional ready to go.
France’s Antoine Guillon is always calm and strong. In 2014, he tied for third at the Tor des Géants. In 2015, he’s been third at the Vibram Hong Kong 100k, third at Transgrancanaria (post-race interview), and ninth at Marathon des Sables. MdS just ended a little over a month ago and those three races add up to a lot of fast kilometers in just four months, but if he’s recovered, he’ll be a factor.
Headliners from Australia and New Zealand
I’m sure TNF100k-Australia fans will remember Andrew Tuckey’s sprint finish at this race last year, where he lost by a couple a hairs to winner Stu Gibson. After that, he full on blew things out of the water in representing ANZ abroad by finishing sixth at UTMB. A month ago, he was second at the Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon.
Australia’s Brendan Davies (pre-race interview) is a serial racer. His best results of 2014 include sixth at UTMF, third here at the TNF100k-Australia, eighth at the Western States 100, and 12th at the IAU 100k World Championships. He’s dangerous almost anytime he races, having proven himself through a passel of strong international performances.
Jono O’Loughlin of Australia is a six-time TNF100k-Australia finisher. His best result was last year, where he finished fourth only 20 seconds behind third-place Brendan Davies. In March, he was fourth at the Six Foot Track and in the thick of it with many of Australia’s top male ultra-trail runners. His results over the years show a steady improvement through time, so I’m not sure if this race has yet seen his full potential.
Ben Duffus (Australia) was fifth here last year, a few minutes behind fourth-place Jono O’Loughlin. Perhaps most significant on his trail ultramarathon resume, however, is his third place at the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships in the Ultra category where he finished 23 minutes back from second-place François D’Haene. [Update May 13: Ben Duffus is running the 50k, not the 100k.]
In 2014, Kiwi Vajin Armstrong’s best races were his fourth at Vibram Hong Kong 100k and third at the White River 50 Mile. So far in 2015, he’s been fourth at the Tarawera Ultramarathon. He just ran 2:28 at the Boston Marathon. He’s a multi-time winner of his home country’s famous Kepler Challenge.
Mark Green, a Kiwi living in Australia, and Jono O’Loughlin have flip flopped at the last two races they’ve been at together, with Mark besting Jono by one place and a couple minutes at March’s Six Foot Track–which was the fourth-fastest time ever at the longstanding race–and Jono besting Mark by a couple minutes at April’s Mt. Solitary 45 km Ultra Race. Mark was second at the 2014 Kepler Challenge.
Other Men to Watch
- Thomas Bakowski (Australia) — 13th 2014 TNF100k-Australia
- Pau Bartoló (Spain) — Winner 2014 CCC (a UTMB sister race), 6th 2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon
- Cyril Cointre (France) — 4th 2015 Hong Kong 100k, 5th 2015 Transgrancanaria
- Yeray Duran (Spain) — 4th 2014 Transgrancanaria, 4th 2014 Ultra Pirineu
- Scott Hawker (a New Zealander living in Australia) — 5th 2014 Hong Kong 10ok, 5th 2014 Tarawera Ultramarathon (the event was 65k last year), 7th 2014 TNF100k-Australia
- Keita Kobayashi (Japan) — 8th 2014 UTMF, 7th 2014 Hasetsune Cup
- Christophe Le Saux (France) — 7th 2015 Marathon des Sables, but he was way back in finishing Transvulcania last weekend
- Andrew Lee (Australia) — Six-time TNF100k-Australia finisher, last year he was 9th
- Sam Maffett (Australia) — 10th 2014 TNF100k-Australia
- Hiroaki Matsunaga (Japan) — 3rd 2014 River of No Return 100k
Tetsuaki Nomoto (Japan) — 7th 2014 UTMF
- Kazufumi Oose (Japan) — 11th 2015 Vibram Hong Kong 100k
Andrius Ramonas (Lithuania) — 11th 2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon[Update May 16: Andrius Ramonas is running the 50k.]
- Paul Robertson (Australia) — 12th 2014 TNF100k-Australia
- Satoshi Suga (Japan) — 9th 2014 Hasetsune Cup
- Purna Tamang (Nepal) — Winner 2013 The North Face 100k Hong Kong
- Chris Truscott (Australia) — 8th 2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon
- Siu-Keung ‘Stone’ Tsang (Hong Kong) — 8th 2015 Vibrm Hong Kong 100k
- Minehiro Yokoyama (Japan) — 5th 2012 UTMF
2015 The North Face 100k-Australia Women’s Preview
After time off for injury and subsequent surgery on her ankle last year, American Cassie Scallon (pre-race interview) has been back at it again with a third place at the 2015 Chuckanut 50k in March and a second at the 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile (post-race interview) in April. Fresh and primed, Cassie should be racing to win from the start.
American Amy Sproston (pre-race interview) is another clear favorite. Last fall, she won Japan’s Hasetsune Cup. In January, she won the 2015 HURT 100 Mile in Hawaii. Most recently, she ran to fourth at the burly 4 Refugios in Argentina. Constantly traveling around the world for work and running, the massive time and geographic difference between her home and the race shouldn’t be an issue.
Aussie Beth Cardelli is a five-time TNF100k-Australia finisher, including three wins at the event, most recently in 2013. In 2014, she was fourth at the Tarawera Ultramarathon, 11th at the Western States 100, and second at the Kepler Challenge. Just last month, she was second at the Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon. [Update May 13: Beth Cardelli is not racing.]
Hong Kong’s Wyan Chow won the Vibram Hong Kong 100k in January (post-race interview), and then dropped from February’s Transgrancanaria early. Last fall at Hong Kong’s Oxfam Trailwalker, her team re-set the longstanding mixed team course record.
Dong Li of China has already had a big 2015. She was second to Wyan at the Vibram Hong Kong 100k (post-race interview), second at the MSIG Sai Kung 50k and third at Transgrancanaria (post-race interview). She starts aggressively, so the question will be if and for how long she can hold her pace.
Australian Shona Stephenson is a perpetual top-10 finisher at about every race she makes it to the end of. She’s a four-time TNF 100k Australia finisher, including a ninth place here last year. In 2014, she was 10th at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and so far this year she’s been sixth at both the Tarawera Ultramarathon and the Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon.
In 2014, Claire Walton (who is from the U.K., but who lives in New Zealand) was second at the Tarawera Ultramarathon followed by fifth at TNF100k-Australia. During the latter event, she fell and broke her kneecap, but soldiered to the finish. Since then, she’s been recovering from that injury. [Update May 13: Claire Walton isn’t yet recovered enough from the kneecap injury she got at this race last year. She isn’t racing.]
Christine Benard (Réunion) seems to excel when conditions get rough. From Réunion Island, she’s finished the Diagonale des Fous six times. Though she’s never won the event, she’s always been strong there, and was most recently fourth in 2014.
Other Women to Watch
- Susan Keith (Australia) — 2nd 2014 and 11th 2015 Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon
- Katherine Macmillan (Australia) — 7th 2014 TNF100k-Australia, 9th 2015 Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon
- Marie McNaughton (a Kiwi living in Hong Kong) — 2nd 2014 The North Face 100k Hong Kong, 4th 2015 Vibram Hong Kong 100k
- Melissa Robertson (Australia) — 7th 2015 Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon
[Author’s Note: Thanks to Kerry Suter for his research assistance with this article.]
Live Start and Finish Video Feed
Call for Comments
- Who do you think we’ll see on this year’s podiums?
- Do you know about the preparations and fitness of any of these runners? Who’s primed and ready?
- Is there anyone on this list who you know isn’t racing? Or anyone who you think we missed?