It’s that time of year again where road runners and ultra-runners collide… it’s 6FT Track time. The reason we say road runners and ultra runners collide is because we think 6FT brings a happy medium of sorts to our sport.
I know of many of us who have run marathons see 6FT as a bit of a stepping stone towards their trail running and ultra careers, whereas the ultra-runners amongst us see this as a chance to see if we can actually run fast instead of walking up all those hills and getting ‘lucky’ at winning the GNW 100 miler 3 times on the trot. Whatever your reason, 6FT is a great race that captures the imagination of 1,000s of people given the demand it sees every year.
However the big debate that’s raging right now on the lips of those entered is ‘Will the race even be on?’ There’s been much debate within running circles and armchair runners alike as to the height of the river at Cox’s and whether it will be passable. Importantly, it’s also the currents and flow of the river that will decide the fate on race day.
A few weeks ago, Ultra168 headed down to Cox’s and was greeted by a raging river and a couple of tributaries to navigate for added measure. Ewen Horsburgh bravely jumped in and swam across, but ended up 30 metres downstream as a result. With nearly 900 runners due to pass through, if the river is at that height for race day and the currents as strong as they were on that day then it’s a no brainer for RD Colin Jefta, safety comes first and for every 800 runners that cross safely, there will be one that doesn’t and it’s that one that we’re sure a decision will be based upon. At the end of the day, the risks are not worth it.
That said, this year’s line-up looks tastier than a tasty cheese sandwich that’s just won the most tasty sandwich award at the tasty sandwich awards 2012. This year sees the return of Ben Artup to the 6ft ranks. The course record holder has been suffering the plight of yours truly, having the pleasure of being a father to twins, but is back with vengeance this year to kick some 6FT butt. Then we have former winners Alex Matthews and Andy Lee too, along with 100km Aussie rep and trail lover Brendan Davies to add into the mix.
Tony Fattorini is also up there, as is Andrew Tuckey who has had a stellar last 12 months and is a serious contender for the title we think. Don’t forget Campbell Maffett, Jonathan Worswick and Rob Walter too. It’s extremely hard to pick a winner from that lot, plus a fair few others that could be in with a podium shout.
In the ladies, the much-anticipated showing from Anna Frost will have to wait for another year as she battles injury to her right foot. I for one thought that in the shape she was in, Anna could be tipping for an outright podium. Many I have spoken to have scoffed at this idea, but let us not forget, she ran only just behind Ian Sharman in the infamous North Face 50 miler a few months back in a distance that she doesn’t regard as her best. For those not in the know, Ian Sharman ran the fastest 100 miler in the US last year at Rocky Raccoon, clocking an amazing 12hrs 44mins – that’s sub 5 min kms for 100 miles people… Regardless, this debate is now mute with Anna no longer running.
The real debate is which of the ladies will garner the glory on race day? Vanessa Haverd will be gunning to push herself up a place from last year, with Beth Cardelli chasing her tail. In the mix will also be Kirsten Molloy, Sara Burgess, Lucy Blaber, Louise Sharp, Colleen Middleton and Angela Bateup too.
We think this year’s race is wide open for both male and female, but with the course being so wet, records are unlikely. Who do you think will win?