What an absolutely thrilling race the inaugural BTU 100 mile event turned out to be. I had the pleasure of following these amazing athletes around the course and it was nothing short of pure guts and determination.
The morning started early, very quiet and sedate. Athletes weighed in and were in their final preparations for the long run to proceed. Their focus was palpable. As the clock ticked closer to 5am, final pre-race niceties were exchanged with support crew and competitors and then it was all business.
It was clear runners were pacing themselves for the long haul as lights moved steadily through Enoggera Reservoir, snaking up around the dam before turning towards Mt Nebo. Ewan Horsburgh was the first to reach check point 1 McAfee’s Lookout and was closely followed by Vivian Johnston, Matthew Crehan and Kieran O’Brien. Nikki Burke was leading the women’s pack with Jenny Morris, Sam McNulty, Lisa Hurring and Erika Brann not far behind.
The terrain to come consisted of short climbs and descents before hitting some flat sections of single trail. In this leg, the lead runners stayed within minutes of each other with Matthew Crehan taking the lead. The ladies were a little further apart now with Lisa Hurring out in front.
Constant rain meant very slippery and muddy descents before the slow gradual climb up Mt Glorious and into the rain forest. Kieran had now snuck into the top 3 alongside Matthew and Ewan. Lisa extended her lead on the other women.
Ewan showed his experience in the next sector. The mild descent down Lawton Rd gives the legs a stretch before the relentless climbs to come. Ewan and Matthew were on each other’s heels towards check point 4 Dundas Bush Camp. Locals Kieran and Noelis were close behind and Lisa still forging ahead. It is now past the half way point and teetering on nightfall when the most technical section of the course is ahead of them.
To add to the difficulty of the infamous Township Break, night fell and so did the rain. The loose rocks, shale, clay and mud means rain water can be seen trickling down the trails. To give you a gauge of the expected difficulty of this section, medics and the rural fire and emergency services were stationed at the top of the climb. Now back on track and following the same course as the 110km competitors, runners then jumped back onto some wide fire trail featuring gradual rises and falls towards check point 6 Gold Creek Reservoir.
Matthew was first to arrive at Gold Creek Reservoir. Ewan and Kieran were minutes behind. At this point unfortunately only two women were left in the running of the 100 mile course. Lisa in the lead and Jenny a few hours behind.
The undulating terrain towards check point 7 JC Slaughter Falls are short but sharp. It was through this section that Ewan regained the lead with Kieran within arms reach of him. Matthew was now in third place. It is not often we see a race to the finish for a 100 mile run but this is exactly what this appeared to be. Kieran powered through to the finishing line only 8 min in front of Ewan to take the inaugural Brisbane Trail Ultra 100 mile event. Matthew closed out the podium finishes in the men’s race. Lisa Hurring finished ahead of Jenny Morris even though a 2 hour time penalty was added to her time.
What a challenge. The attrition rate was high. Of 30 competitors signed for the BTU 100 miles, 4 did not start, 8 did not finish. What a tough course, what a tight cut-off. What a thrilling race.
Kieran O’Brien 20:49:43 Open (26-39)
Ewan Horsburgh 20:57:48 Veteran (40-49)
Matthew Crehan 21:44:39 Open (26-39)
Lisa Hurring 27:45:31 Veteran (40-49)
Jenny Morris 29:50:11 Veteran (40-49)