Our inov-8 athlete Shona Stephenson reflects on The North Face 100 (TNF 100) ultra race in which she finished third woman and team-mate Brendan Davies recorded the biggest win of his career.
It is his patch of earth – and as such he set out to defend it.
Located in his own backyard in the Blue Mountains of Australia, The North Face 100km trail race was one Brendan was determined to win.
In the end, he did way more than that. He not only won the race, he also broke Kilian Jornet’s course record by almost three minutes to record an incredible time of 9:16:12.
Having narrowly missed out on third place last year, just making it onto podium would have been a fantastic achievement, but Brendan did better than that – he won it!
A quality field of international runners fronted up to race, with 2012-victor Ryan Sandes (South Africa), Vajin Armstrong (New Zealand), Grant Guise (New Zealand) and Australian Andrew Tuckey, who was second last year, all joining Brendan on the start line.
Over the next 100km Brendan proved to the world that Australians can run fast over trails and achieve amazing results against the best in the world.
Brendan ran a massive personal best of over 45 minutes to win the race.
To make the victory even sweeter he broke a course record set in 2011 by Kilian Jornet, who is considered one of the best trail running athletes this generation has ever seen.
It is all thoroughly deserved for Brendan, who has dared to push boundaries and take his training methods to new heights.
He has been dedicated in his racing and recovery, and as a result achieved an incredible victory.
Brendan led the race from the start and controlled it from the front. He drew strength from his new-found confidence, gained by finishing fifth in the recent 100-mile Ultra Trail Mt Fuji in Japan.
Brendan has become a real hero in Australian trail running, and his achievement in winning the TNF 100 will forever go down in history.
He won the race wearing his inov-8 Trailroc 245 shoes.
I almost didn’t start the race because of a suspected injury, but really wanted to compete on what are also my local trails.
I decided that with the right amount of trusty strapping tape, my compression socks and by nursing the injury that I could still be competitive.
I led out from the start and used my technical skills to keep the other female runners at bay.
I gave it my all against a quality field of Australian runners but sadly lost first place to last year’s winner, Beth Cardelli, at the 40 km mark.
I then dropped to third place at 90km after I chose to further nurse my injury to the finish line.
Beth broke the record by 16 minutes to clock 11: 01:08. Second-placed Jo Brischetto did 11:44:35 and I clocked 11:45:38, which was a personal best of 15 minutes for me over that course.
I gave it my all and was really happy with my performance.