Hounslow Classic- Kiwi Preview.

hounslow logoThis weekend the inaugural  running of the Hounslow Classic will take place in the Grose Valley of the Blue Mountains of Australia. The Hounslow is part of the 2015 ANZ Skyrunning Series and like the Buffalo Stampede back in April a strong crew of New Zealand runners will travel over to take on the best “skyrunners” in Australia.

Hounslow has 2 distances- 68km with 4100mD+ on the Saturday and 23km with 1700mD+ on the Sunday, with girls and guys from New Zealand likely to podium, if not take the win in both distances.

Ruby Muir, when fit and healthy, has the potential to win whenever she takes to a start line- no matter the distance or terrain. Most are well familiar with her trail/mountain running exploits, but over the last year Ruby has been running more and more road, in both training and events- winning this year’s Wellington Marathon in 2hr49. Ruby is running the 23km SkyRun at Hounslow as she works towards defending her Kepler Challenge title.

Kristian Day has also been focusing big on roads and speed as of late. From the outside looking in Kristian seems to be easily running the best he ever has, as he works towards the Auckland Marathon on the 1st of November. How this road forms transfers into a 23km trail race with 1700m vertical is another question, but I am sure he will be in the mix on Sunday.

Jo Johansen ground out a tough day at the Tarwera Ultra earlier in the year, but seems to be back on track and showing the form that saw her win the 2014 TuM and Hillary Ultras. Jo had solid outings at the Buffalo Stampede and Mt Difficulty Skyrunning races and recently won the  Kinloch Offroad Marathon. The Hounslow 68km course should play to Jo’s strengths!

Marty on his ways to placing 3rd at the Buffalo Stampede Ultra in April. Photo: Greg Robinson.

Marty on his ways to placing 3rd at the Buffalo Stampede Ultra in April. Photo: Greg Robinson.

I think Marty Lukes was somewhat of an unknown to our brothers and sisters that occupy the West Island before the Buffalo Stampede Ultra earlier in the year. After placing 3rd (2nd in the Oceania Sky Running Champs) he goes into the Hounslow as the highest place getter from Buffalo. For the win, it will be a race between Marty, Ben Duffas and John Winsbury.

Other kiwis toeing the line-

Jean Beaumont is as tough as they come. A former Northburn 100mile winner and record holder. Add podium finish in her age group at the 2014 UTMB and a sub 25hr, 10th place at this years Leadville 100, Jean will be in mix.

Matt Bixely returns to Australia for his 3rd Skyrunning event on the West Island. I am sure he travels over for the smack-talking as much as he does for the runs themselves. Matt enjoys nothing more than damaging peoples egos and I expect there will be a bit of that come Saturday if he runs as well as he did at Mt Difficulty back in June.

Grant Guise- too much beer and not enough chocolate after walking and napping my way around UTMB for 35hrs, but I am looking forward to a fun day  in the Grose Valley all them same.

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