Ben Duffus is a fresh talent breaking onto the Australian Ultra Running Circuit. He has just won 2 Australian Ultra’s the Surf Coast Century and he was on the winning team at the 96km Kokoda Challenge all this while studying physic’s uni. This 21 year old’s name is one to remember. He was kind enough to spare some of his time to chat with me about his trail running adventures so far.
Shona Stephenson: You have a few memorable wins under your belt – what was the hardest (and why) and do you have a favourite win?
Ben Duffus: It’s very difficult to quantify a “hardest win”. I would say that the races I DNFed were the hardest! Having said that, it is hard to go past Pomona King of the Mountain in terms of shear “pain per second”! It’s only 4.5km long but involves going up and back down the 439m high Mt Cooroora. The burn going up was incredible and while the downhill was an absolute blast, it left my quads feeling like they had just lost a fight with a meat tenderiser! That feeling was probably also partly due to having run the Kokoda Challenge two weeks beforehand. Sharing the Kokoda Challenge win with my Kokoda Spirit Racing team mates was very special so it would have to be my “favourite” win.
Shona: You have a few memorable wins under your belt – what was the hardest
(and why) and do you have a favourite win?
Whitney Dagg: My recent win at the Surf Coast Century was by far the toughest.
Mainly because it was 100km but also because I got a sore IT band at
half way and had to run with the pain in the side of my knee for 50km.
Pain relief helped but it required mental toughness. I was determined for
a good result and thats what I got.
Shona: What’s a favourite training session or run (that most advances your
fitness or abilities)?
Whitney Dagg: I love getting up in the hills above Dunedin, away from the city. A
good long run with a few tough climbs and some technical descents
always feels like your getting somewhere with both your fitness and
I know you have been training hard for the GNW. How many hours a week did you manage to get out on the trail to train?
Brendan Davies, what can I say. You just broke the GNW record by over 2.5 hours in your first 100 mile event. Smashing through the 20 hours barrier convincingly with a blistering time of 19 hours 27 minutes. I heard from your pacer Joe Brischetto (Kanangra 50/50 winner) that you just got faster and faster. You’ve proven that you can go fast over any terrain and distance. I think we can safely call you a living legend.
Shona; Brendan Davies What was your race plan for your first 100 mile event?
Rowan Walker the Australian Road Marathon Champion of 2010 (2:18) crossed over to the Ultra dark side of running and tackled his first 100km event on a trail in the inaugural beautiful Surf Coast Century in Anglesea Victoria. Rowan Walker only decided to run the full 100km when is Duo Relay team mate pulled out a fortnight ago. After 5 trail stacks, tough but fast trail running he finished the inaugural Surf Coast Century in a blistering time of 8 hours 25 minutes.
Shona: You use to be in the Navy, correct me if I’m wrong you switched to the army so you can stretch your running legs, was that the only reason why you decided to switch Defense roles?
Rowan Walker: Actually, I still serve in the Navy on a part-time basis. I left he Permanent Navy at the end of 2005 after a little short of eight years service. I had actually served a few years in the Army Reserve for a few years but that was 20 years ago. I also worked as a Defence public servant for a few years.
Shona: I was first made aware of Martin Fryer when I was trying to pull out of my first ever marathon, Deep Space Mountain Marathon in 2009. The race organizer John Harding mentioned that even the World Champion and Commonwealth Champion Martin Fryer walks 3 minutes out of every 15 minutes whilst winning running his Multi day events. WTF? Who is this guy? And why is my first marathon going to feature this guy in the tiny field of 30?
Martin Fryer you are an Ultra Marathon Running Machine. A true champion. Winning the Sri Chimnoy 6 day Ultra Marathon in New York 2011 by completing 784km. You are the Australian National 48 Hour Track Champion with 388kms. You are the Commonwealth 24 hour record Holder with 255kms as well as achieving the 1st place and No 1 world ranking in the exclusive invitation only Surgeres 48 Track Ultra Marathon in France completing 433kms.
You are a husband, a father, a biomedical scientist, a sky diver gain WTF! As well as a talented tennis player and coach.
Shona: How on earth do you fit this all in? You are clearly a machine!
Ngaire van der Jagt is one amazing woman. She has shed 65 kilos of fat from her body between 2002 and 2008. She took up running, is now a passionate Trail Runner. But not all has gone smoothly for Ngaire van der Jagt. She has dangerously low iron levels in early 2012 an ITB injury and is now only just finding her groove again. Ngaire van der Jagt has just run Mt Solitary for the first time on Sunday in a time of 7 hours 58 minutes. She’s back on the trails and here is her inspirational story.
Shona: How did you get into trail running?
Ngaire van der Jagt: I started running four years ago, and heard about trail running through completing a few adventure races and really enjoyed being out in the bush as opposed to on the road. I then heard of Six Foot Track for the first time in 2009 from a few friends who were training up for it. At that point, it sounded way too hard core for me as I was still just focussing on road half marathons, but I was still interested, so I decided to get out on the Manly to Spit trail and see what all the fuss was about.
Roger Hanney is one of the most inspiring guys that I know. Launching the newly formed Born to Run Foundation, with Team Born to Run he has raced 250km in both the Atacama Desert and the Gobi Desert so far in 2012. Roger Hanney ran his first 100 miler the GNW in 2011 and backed up to pace 180km at Coast 2 Kosci a few weeks later. What is so special is that he has achieved these amazing milestones with Type 1 Diabetes. He plans on running across two more deserts with Team Born to Run and completing Coast 2 Kosci himself before the year is finished. Last year, Medtronic Global flew Roger Hanney Stateside to run in the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota and this year he has been nominated in Australia for the Roche Adult Achiever Award.
Dean Cox is a man proving that you can be fit, stay healthy, achieve goals no matter what age you are. Dean Cox is a passionate trail runner finishing his first The North Face 100 in 2011 sub 26 hours when he was 65 . He cross trains like mad, and is competing in a Half Iron Man in October at the age of 67. Let’s find out his story.
Shona: Congratulations on your 2011 The North Face 100 completion at 65 years of age in sub 26 hours. What spurred you on to do an Ultra when most people your age would be happy to take long naps, play lawn bowls and bingo?
Dean: My Partner, Jaci came home one day and suggested that we consider doing this 100km run in the Blue Mountains. My reply was words to the effect that that idea was crazy (not exactly those words), but after consideration, I thought, ‘Why not? I can do it!’ That was the start of a new life and a whole new outlook on everything.
Shoalhaven King of the Mountain winner Sarah Richardson is back on the trails after more than 10 years absence. She represented Australia in Cycling at the World Championships in 1993. Sarah then went on to become the Australian Long Course Triathlon Champion. She has won Iron Man Japan 2005 and she has just won the 2012 Shoalhaven King of the Mountain. Sarah Richardson is a legend in so many ways and is kind enough to take some time to chat to me about her intriguing sporting journey.
Congratulations Sarah, on your win on the Shoalhaven King of the Mountain, you did so well! I’m amazed at the gap you beat the other females. Well Done!
The Shoalhaven King of the Mountain is such an epic event with 35 years of Tradition. It must be so much fun to run.
Sarah:Yes, it’s a great race, the runners and organizers and volunteers are all really friendly and it’s a beautiful part of the world.
Shona: It looks like you beat your time from 2011 by 8 minutes! Awesome! Was your time of 2:29:30 a PB?
will be representing Australia on the Saturday the 8th of September in the World Long Course Mountain Running Championships.
She has come 3rd, and 5th before in the World Long Course Mountain Running Championships. Our Australian Female team came 2nd behind Russia.
She is flying to Switzerland to give the World Champs another shot. Angela Bateup has represented Australia since she was 16. Now in her 40s she is proving that you can still preform at your peak not matter what your age is. She has just broke The North Face 100km team record with team mate Ewan Horsburgh with a blistering time of 10:28:46. Two weeks later she won the inaugural Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon, running past me on the way up to the tunnel at the 11km mark. She is now setting her sites on Europe. She is in fantastic form and she has taken some time out of her busy schedule to chat to me.
Shona: Angela, Well done again in TNF and GWTM. You are in amazing form, you just have so much strength when you are climbing. You flew past me on the way up to the Glow Worm Tunnel at GWTM. How is it that you are such an amazing climber when you live at Yass which is pretty flat?
Angela: I guess this is a combination of factors, coming from an 800m, 1500m background I have always been a physically strong run. My training runs around Yass are not mountainous, however, most runs have continuous rolling hills. Closer to major events I do a few long runs in the Brindabella ranges in Canberra. These runs provide longer and more challenging climbs.
Shona. Brendan I remember when I first meet you properly down at Deep Space Mountain Marathon (DSMM) 2009 as you flew past me on the descents as I climbed up Mt Tennant. I saw something special in you that day. Little did I know that you had already represented Australia in the Commonwealth Road Championships. A few months later you admitted to me at the Megalong Mega that you wanted to get onto the Australian Mountain Running Team. You lived up to your word and you have since represented and excelled for Australia in many different events. What keeps your drive alive?
Brendan. I remember that day at DSMM very clearly too, it was a great day for both of us! I think I got second behind Martin Fryer and you picked up an ultra victory on debut! You looked shocked that you had performed so well but also I remember you saying you felt surprised by your victory and you had a lot more room to improve. Since then your upper trajectory has been relentless…and there is much more to go for you too! I really admire your personal drive to improve too, Shona, but I respect and admire a hell of a lot more the way you encourage and help other runners along their journey. We are quite similar in that regard!
Shona. Stop it. You are too kind