From the get-go, the BTU 110km race was one to watch and could almost be considered a State of Origin- Trail series contest. Our local trail favourites Ben Duffus and Jess Schluter were flying the flag for Queensland and interstate trail stars Vlad Shatrov and Kellie Emmerson representing NSW, the battle of the states starts here. Will the cane toad cheer squad help the Queenslanders over the line?
The heavy clouds were looming and a light brisk breeze blew, but the rain held off for the first wave start. The 5am 110km competitors shared the start line with their 100 mile compatriots. The signal was given and the race commenced. A stream of head torches moved along the footpaths of The Gap before disappearing into the suburban single trails. The 6am wave followed not long after and here begins the BTU 110km race.
The first sector towards check point 1 McAfee’s lookout was a fast one. Vlad Shatrov lead the way creating a 5min gap between himself and Ben Duffus. This Australian marathon champ, boasting a road marathon PB of 2 hrs 8min, was really showing his speed on the trails. Kellie Emmerson was on their tail and was followed closely by Garry Marwood and Daniel Lucas. Hannah McRae and Jess Schluter were not far behind.
Local trail knowledge gave Ben a huge advantage in the next leg of the run. The climbs and descents towards check point 2 Mt Nebo State School were made all the more muddy and slippery as the rain fell lightly but constantly. On exiting Mt Nebo Rd and onto the fast flat sections of the Thylogale Trail, Ben had not only caught up to Vlad, he had overtaken him and was now 2min ahead at check point 2. Kellie had extended her lead on Hannah and Jess to sit comfortably in behind Ben, Vlad and Garry. Daniel had dropped back and Miles Brown was now in front of him.
The next leg took the competitors through some of the most technical parts of the course- a steep descent into Township Break. This technical descent was made much more difficult with the continuing rain. The shale and clay combination together made for a slippery downhill and a sludgy climb out; comparably this could almost be considered an OCR segment of the BTU 110km.
There was a reprieve from the technicality of the terrain as the run continued onto the fire trail sections of Augies Rd and Gold Creek. The gradual climb towards Gold Creek Reservoir followed firm fire trail before descending into the forested single track and finally into check point 6. Ben arrived here 30 minutes ahead of his closest rival and was all set to make quick work of the last 2 legs of the race but unfortunately and retired from the race. Vlad was now in the lead again with Garry and Kellie not far behind. Daniel was promoted to third position in the men’s race. In the meantime, Jess had quietly snuck up on Hannah and was now only 30sec behind.
Even with nasty blisters, Vlad fought hard and reached check point 7 JC Slaughter Falls in no time. This section features undulating trails that are wide, firm and can be run fast. Garry was now 30 min behind with Daniel further back. Kellie had made great ground and sitting in third place overall and well in front of the jostle for second place. Jess had pulled in front of Hannah, putting in a 10min buffer between them.
Kellie’s Red Bull Climb was nothing short of amazing. With 94.8km on her legs, she managed a 7th place in the women’s Red Bull Climb challenge with a time of 00:15:21, wow..
Vlad powered through the urban sector to finish in an impressive time of 11:18:27 for the outright win and first completion time logged for the BTU 110km. The last stretch saw Kellie chase down Garry to take overall second and first female in a time of 11:57:37. A very exciting race indeed.
1st Vlad Shatrov 11:18:27 Veteran (40-49)
2nd Kellie Emmerson 11:57:37 Open (26-39)
3rd Garry Marwood 12:10:13 Open (26-39)
1st Kellie Emmerson 11:57:37 Open (26-39)
2nd Jessica Schluter 14:15:43 Open (26-39)
3rd Hannah Mcrae 14:59:19 Open (26-39)
1st Vlad Shatrov 11:18:27 Veteran (40-49)
2nd Garry Marwood 12:10:13 Open (26-39)
3rd Daniel Lucas 13:16:59 Open (26-39)
Look out for the addition of age category winners