The 6ft Track Contenders – Part 1: Chris Truscott

In just over a week’s time, Australia’s biggest and some would say, most popular trail race takes place in the Blue Mountains, the Six Foot Track Marathon – or technically an ultra at 45kms. As per usual, the race sold out in quick time and much conversation now turns towards the weather. With last years’ event being canceled due to severe flooding, many eyes are on the weather Gods again as the heavens opened with a huge downpour last weekend.

All being well however, 900-odd starters will line up in multiple waves ready to do battle with a course that will claim the blown-up legs of many who take too many cookies out of the jar early on in a bid for glory. In short, this is the beauty of a race such as 6ft track, as it really is four races in one:

  • Runners are lured into a false sense of security with a gentle meander for 15kms down to Cox’s River – but go to hard here and you will pay in the next stage…
  • Known as King of the Mountain, runners will then have the pleasure of 900 or so metres of elevation over the next 10kms, before they hit the Black Rangers…
  • With a gradual incline of 200m over the course of 8kms, it sounds easy enough. But put those previous 26kms in the legs and this is where you see more blow-ups than a bunch of amateur artillery soldiers practicing with blindfolds on
  • Then finally its the dash home from the aptly named deviation campground. 10kms of twisting and turning with some ‘pinchy’ hills thrown in for good measure

But despite all of this, we have selected and interviewed a number of runners for whom we think this is a walk in the park. First up is Chris Truscott, who recently won the Centennial Park 100km ultra, and is also a very handy marathon runner with a time somewhere in the 2:30s. Chris has only attempted 6ft track once before, back in 2005 where he finished second with a time of 3:33 – you would assume that he wants to go one better this time round, so take it away Chris…

Although very handy on the road, Chris recently won the Lightening Strike 30km trail race in Canberra

Although very handy on the road, Chris recently won the Lightening Strike 30km trail race in Canberra

How has your training build-up gone this year? Have you stuck to a typical routine or done things a little differently?

Having not competed in 6ft track since 2005 (which has been my only entry to date), I can definitely say that I have done a lot more in the build up than in 2005. This may or may not translate come race day into a faster performance, but having started training earlier for Bogong to Hotham (Nov/Dec), this has hopefully helped with the strength side of things for 6ft.

What kind of kms are you doing per week? And at what kind of intensity?

I try to hit 130kms per week for at least 4-5weeks before coming down slightly for an easier 100km week which may co-incide with a race such as the recent Stromlo 31kms. This includes a long run of 30-38kms and 2-3 fast sessions which may include 3min efforts x 14, 400m reps, threshold efforts and hill efforts. I train with some pretty quick guys so the intensity is always high.

As a lead runner, what do you think is most important training aspect for 6ft?
Consistent long runs including those of 35-38km and some over similar terrain as 6ft.
6ft is a very tactical race, where do you see your own specific strengths e.g. on the flat, hills, technical trail

Chris running with his wife, Greta in Centennial Park

Chris running with his wife, Greta in Centennial Park

I’m not sure I have any particular strength when it comes to the different segments of the race. My strength is usually being able to box on when the legs start feeling sore. I do enjoy the flatter sections so not much to look forward to there, but perhaps it’s just years of running that helps me get there.

Much is made of saving enough in the tank for the Black Ranges, where do you believe the race is won or lost?
Agreed, the winner will get to the top of pluvi but be feeling pretty good. No one will feel excellent there, but some will be able to immediately convert their pace for the 18km or so trip home.
What nutrition do you use for the race?
I’m planning on using 3 gels for the race. Then just whatever water etc is available out on course.

Likewise, do you consider trail shoes, or is 6ft ‘flat’ enough for road shoes?

My wife Greta and I have been fortunate to have had a long association with New Balance and I have found that their road shoes are comfortable and stable enough for my trail running. I will be using the NB 890’s which are a lightweight trainer with great comfort and support.

Care to put out any predictions for your time? If not, what kind of time do you think will win 6ft this year?
I’m normally fairly close to predicting my times in most of my races but I don’t seem to be able to see one as yet. I ran 3:33 in 2005 and thought I would never beat that. I have entered this year now thinking I can so it will come down to how well I handle the climb. But given the field upfront for this year, I think a sub 3:20 ambition is required to win in.
Thanks to Chris for his time with us, we wish him all the best for the race. Personally, he’s my tip for the win :)
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Author: Dan

Obsessed runner

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