As one of the biggest trail running events in the country, Saturday saw a series of massive highs and lows for runners on the infamous old supply route that connects the inner mountains with the upper reaches, commonly known as the Six Foot Track. Times overall were much slower than last year, with the hot and humid conditions playing a big part in that and some big blow-ups too.
Overall, debut runner Tom Do Canto ran a superb race to win at his first attempt in 3:20, with Brendan Davies running a nice PB too for second in 3:26, followed by Kiwi, Vajin Armstrong just two minutes later in a time of 3:28.
The ladies race was slower than last year too, no thanks in part due to the very hot and humid conditions out there, another debut runner, Ella Jamieson took the line honours in 4:14. Erika Jordan was second in a time of 4:20, with Sophie Brown just behind her in 4:23.
In the men’s, Tom was described in the pre-race build up as a bit of a dark horse. He has all the right tools to excel at this kind of stuff. Serious pace and now a good engine to back it up over the longer stuff. As the Coastal Classic record holder, he was always going to be there or thereabouts, but with not as much racing pedigree over trail as some of his other competitors, it was always going to be a bit of a ‘try and see what happens’ for Tom. Well he’s shown us what’s happened and we hope to see him in many more big trail and ultras races over the coming years.
Big race favourite, Stu Gibson was well down on last year’s pace with a 3:41 for seventh place. As mentioned in the race preview, the Green boys, (Dan and Mark – no relation) finished side by side and it caps a pretty awesome last 12 months for the former after having won this race back in 2005.
Another name to watch and someone on the comeback trail is former Aussie track 10km star, Shaun Creighton who finished 11th with a 3:48, a big improvement on last year’s result in far more trying conditions. While he’s in the upper reaches of his 40s, Shaun seems to be getting better and better at this race, so who knows what next year might throw up for him if he continues in this form.
As predicted in the preview, it was really a case of throw a blanket over a couple of around ten female runners and any one of them could come out on the podium – in fact the only name I missed was the eventual winner, Ella Jamieson!
There was little in the way of detailed race form for quite a few of the women front runner’s bar a few, so these results provide some great context for future years. With the odd race here or there, it was pretty difficult to separate out some of the women and this proved true with the eventual winner, Ella Jamieson who had a couple of UTA50 finishes just outside the top five to go on.
While there was a fair bit of chat about the ladies result being around the 4 hours mark (myself included), the reality was very different on race day, as was going to be the case with such trying conditions.
Over and above the podium, Greta Truscott ran a superb race for a 4:23 to finish just outside of the podium, having been in third place for much of the race we hear.
Jo Brischetto looks like she’s gathering some really good form of late for fifth in a time of 4:24, with a few pre-race favourites, Melissa Robertson and Julie Quinn coming in sixth and seventh respectively in 4:31 and 4:33.
Daniela Burton, Orla O’Leary and Lou Clifton rounded out the ladies top ten.
A big hand must also go to Sydney Striders for putting on such a fantastic event, in particular John Bowe, David Bray and April Palmerlee, along with their army of volunteers at Striders. While this is not intended to be a big self-congratulatory slap on the back, these guys deserve some due recognition.
I’ve had some deep insight into how a race like Six Foot even gets off the ground, and in this age of commercial race set-ups, here you have an organisation that puts this race on for nothing. That’s right, these guys get paid zip to put on what is one of the best trail running experiences in the country.
While they generally have to deal with the things that go wrong, it’s worth pointing out that this was one of the best organised Six Foot Track races in its history, I’m sure runners who ran on Saturday will agree. There are a huge amount of behind the scenes logistics, discussions and negotiations that take place to make sure there is even a finish line, let alone a bus to ferry people around.
It was great to see so many people out there on Saturday and believe me, I got to see a lot of people after a shocker of a race myself, which had me reeling in agony down Nellies Glen after a bad ankle roll. Stubbornness and beer are good reasons to finish however.
You win some, you lose some, that was certainly the tale for many a runner on Saturday.
Be blessed for the good times, and embrace the slightly shittier times!
FEATURE IMAGE: Wave One start – Credit Super Sport Images (C)