Saturday, January 12, 2013

2013 - The Year Ahead

2012 was such an amazing year. I had a really good run with form, consistent training and lack of injury through the whole year which led to some very pleasing results. It was the year I really focussed fully on ultra running and I learned so many new things about this tough discipline of running.

I recently received some very good news from AURA (Australian Ultra Running Association). It seems my results in 2012 were good enough to earn me the Australian Male Ultra Runner of the Year. It is a huge honour to get this award, considering the outstanding results achieved by many ultra runners this year. Clarke McClymont ran a fantastic time and 35th place at what is arguably the most competitive trail ultra in the world, UTMB. Mick Donges put in some outstanding performances, particularly early in the year both here and abroad and Andrew Tuckey had a brilliant debut race at the TNF100, pipping me to being the first Australian home and running a sub 10 hour time. And these are just the top performances from the trail ultra runners! I guess the fact that I put in a good performance on the road at the World Champs and then on the trails later in the year got me over the line. Congratulations must also go to Beth Cardelli, winning the female award. She also had an outstanding year, and I thought her course record at TNF100 was the outstanding performance of the year. Right on her tail must have been Shona Stephenson who took a giant leap forward this year and these two ladies are going to achieve amazing things in 2013.

Some other great news too came too just before Christmas but it has been something simmering away in the pipeline for a while. I have been chosen to be on the Inov-8 International Trail Running Team next year. I've been wearing Inov-8 shoes on the trails for since 2009 and I believe have been crucial in all the success I've had. What this means is that I will have the opportunity to go overseas and race some of the big European mountain races with the Inov-8 team. Included in this will be a week of gear testing and meeting the rest of the team. At this stage, I'll definitely be running as part of the Skyrunning Series the Mount Blanc Marathon, the Chamonix vertical challenge (eek) and possibly the Ice Trail Tarentaise Ultra two weeks later.

Well how does the rest of my year pan out? Well being on holidays this time of year is traditionally a really good way to put in a massive block of training leading up to 6 Foot Track. This year I've done things a little differently, giving myself some much needed R & R after the GNW100 miler and just giving myself some time to rest, eat and drink and do, well, not much at all over the Christmas period. My training is now starting up again but this year it will not be for what is usually my big first race of the year 6 Foot Track. As much as it pains me to say it, I won't be racing my favourite race this year. Instead I will be running the Tarawera 100k in New Zealand. One of my big running aims this year is to see how I go against the World's best. Unfortunately I missed out on getting into Western States, but Tarawera is not far behind in the competitiveness of the field. There is a list of the elite field here. Tarawera is only one week after 6 Foot Track, and it will be foolish to jeopardise my performance at Tarawera by racing 6 Foot.

After Tarawera it will be time to focus on TNF100 where I hope to improve on my time of last year. I believe with much more specific training, I can cut my time down under 10 hours. After this, there will be the European trip and then towards the middle to end of the year I'll probably focus on a lot more road running, for what will hopefully lead up to another crack at the World 100k. I say hopefully because unfortunately the hosts in South Korea had to pull the pin on the event due to lack of sponsorship. The IAU, meantime are trying hard to find an alternative venue around the same time of year.

Of course, in between these 'A' races, there will be a lot of local racing and of course there is also my coaching partnership with Shona at Ultra Training Australia. Busy year ahead!