Track and Trails – The Tale of Three Races

Feathertop, a Victorian Alpine must-do

This weekend sees three very different races being held, one over in Hong Kong, where the might of the Salomon team will be in full force once again, one on the track down in Canberra and the inaugural Stromlo Injinji 12 hour track race run by Ultra168 board member Martin Fryer. Finally, there’s the exquisitely scenic Maroondah Dam down in Victoria run by the ever popular Brett Saxon.

Chris Wight tackling some wood - Image from fstop5

First up we pay a visit to our Victorian friends and Maroondah Dam, one of the most established runs in Australia, and  also a selection race for those wishing to qualify for the Australian team to contest the world trail championships. Word on the street says that this one is Victoria’s equivalent of Six Foot Track, and those entered will be contesting either the 30km or 50km events. It is also the first race in the series of the Victorian Trail Championships, which cover:

  • Maroondah Dam 19th Feb 2012
  • Macedon Ranges 3rd June 2012
  • You Yangs Regional Park 22nd July 2012
  • Tan Ultra 12th August 2012
The championships cover distances ranging from 6km through to 100km with slight distances variations in each category:
  • The short course Championship will be held over approx. 6-16km
  • The mid-course Championship will be held over approx. 30km
  • The longer course Championship will be held over 50km
  • The Ultra course Championship will be held over 50km-100km

Good luck to all of those competing down there this weekend and we look forward to the results next week.

Fun and games at the Stromlo Running Festival

From the trails, we head to the track where Marcus and Dan from Ultra168 will be competing in the Injinji Stromlo 12hr pairs race, which takes place on Saturday evening from 6:30pm through to 6:30am the following day. Current C2K champ, Ewan Horsburgh is also spinning his talent in the 12 hour solo event ahead of a shot at the full monty 24 hour distance later in the year. This race is pretty much what it says on the tin – a 12 hour race around a 1km track with the goal of running around that track as many times before the clock runs out. If you’re doing this type of race for the first time, or considering it in the future, we checked in with RD Martin Fryer, one of Australia’s leading ultra-marathon runners to see what he has to say for those running this weekend:

“Running a good race in this format requires careful pacing for a good performance. For 12h Solo newbies I would suggest that you don’t start out any faster than approx 1 K/h faster than your final goal average pace – e.g for a 120 K total the average is 10K/h (6 min/K), so I would recommend not exceeding 11K/h (about 5:30 min/K) in the early parts of the race.

“It is also helpful to take regular walk breaks from the very beginning: all except the elite competitors would benefit from a run to walk ratio of around 4 or 5 to 1 in terms of time (e.g run 16 min run, 4 min walk or  25 min run, 5 min walk), making use of the walk times to get in adequate food and drink. This may seem far too easy at the beginning but gets significantly harder as the race progresses. More experienced and elite runners may have very occasional walk breaks – more like a ratio of 10:1 to 30:1- but at least some walking is good for changing muscle groups and for more comfortable nutrition/hydration.”

There you have it, straight from the horses mouth!

Stunning running in Hong Kong

Finally, we have Ryan Sandes and Grant Guise from Team Salomon smashing it out on the Hong Kong trails in the Vibram Hong Kong 100kms. The 100km course starts in Pak Tam Chung on the Sai Kung Peninsula and covers some of the most beautiful scenery in Hong Kong, including remote and unspoilt beaches, ancient forests, nature trails, reservoirs and steep hills.  The course is based around Hong Kong’s famous Maclehose Trail, but with some diversions to ensure that runners spend more time in its most scenic sections, as well as finishing with the descent from Hong Kong’s highest peak (Tai Mo Shan).  The course involves a cumulative elevation gain of over 4500 meters and the cut-off time is 32 hours.

Ultra168’s man on the ground in Hong Kong, Andre Blumberg will be helping us with full details from the race, but it looks like it will be a corker and it will be interesting to see how Ryan goes ahead of coming back to Australia in May for The North Face 100km event. Giddy up!

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Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

5 thoughts on “Track and Trails – The Tale of Three Races

  1. Certainly looks like a busy ultra weekend ahead. The Vibram HK100, just in its second year, sold out weeks ago with close to 800 participants, a 4x increase from last year. Among them will be around 20 Aussies and 7 Kiwis, many residing in Asia, but quite a few flying in from ANZ specifically for the race. Among them are Richard Mountstephens and Keith Mearns, both team members of the Quality Meats Sydney Trailwalker record team, as well as Matt Meckenstock and Brendan “Badwater” Mason.

    Most of the notable local Hong Kong ultra runners will participate; including last year’s first and second William Davies and Jeremy Ritcey, respectively. Jeremy just last Sunday won the famous Lantau King of the Hills mountain marathon in a cracking time, ahead of William. Dan Parr and Eric LeHaie, both with excellent Racing The Planet event credentials, will toe the line as well. Siu Keung “Stone” Tsang advised that unfortunately he can’t join due to injury.

    In addition we will also see Yun Yan Qiao 运艳桥 from China who came 2nd at 2009 TNF100 Singapore, 2nd at 2011 TNF100 China and 14th at the 2011 CCC in France. Furthermore the top 3 finishers at the 2011 Nepal Annapurna 100k will join, namely Nepalese mountain runners Aite Tamang, Sudip Kulung and Bed Sunuwar. I’m sure the Hong Kong “mountains” won’t present much of a problem for them, also see some further info here

    On the female side, in addition to Jen Segger, we have Hong Kong-based Nora Senn and Claire Price, last year’s winners in the 100k solo and 100k duo. Claire finished 4th at the 2011 TNF100 Australia and 2nd at the 2011 CCC. Olya Korzh, who did very well in a number of local mountain marathons this season, as well as Xing Ruling 邢如伶 from China (1st in 2009 TNF100 Singapore and China, 1st 2010 Taklamakan 100k) round out the top participants, in my view.

    However both the female and male fields are so deep, I do expect some surprise names to pop up once it’s all done and dusted. The weather has been unseasonal humid this week but the forecast is for both humidity and temperatures to drop by Saturday, so the race conditions should be quite optimal.

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