The 6ft Track Contenders – Part 2: Tony Fattorini

As we continue on our quest to unearth some of the favourites for this year’s race, our attention today turns to one of the stalwarts of 6ft track and indeed the road scene, Tony Fattorini, or Fats to those who know him. A former winner of this race back in 2007, Tony has regularly featured in the top ten of this race for the last six years so has the pedigree and know-how about what it takes to do well at this race. More recently, Tony smashed his way to second place in the Kepler Challenge over in NZ, indicating that he’s in good nick.

As with Chris, we’ve asked similar questions to Tony, so take it away…

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

It’s been my usual routine with a few extra hill sessions. My training is pretty orthodox these days.
What kind of kms are you doing per week? And at what kind of intensity?
Most weeks are 110-120km, occasionally more when time allows. Tuesdays, Thursdays and most Saturdays involve some sort of session, tempo or time-trial. Other days are just easy commutes from the office back home.

Tony with Kepler winner Vajin Armstrong (picture from Sportshub)
Tony with Kepler winner Vajin Armstrong (picture from Sportshub)
As a lead runner, what do you think is most important training aspect for 6ft?
Probably long hilly runs with a fast finish. Like any event, the best training is to simulate race day to some extent.
6ft is a very tactical race, where do you see your own specific strengths e.g. on the flat, hills, technical trail
 I don’t think its a particularly tactical race actually. It’s just a race which is very unforgiving to the over-confident. So you have to make a good honest judgement of your own strengths and weaknesses, and react sensibly to how you feel during the race. My strength is probably the long grinding climbs in the middle of the race, but I am less well-prepared for that than usual this year.
Much is made of saving enough in the tank for the Black Ranges, where do you believe the race is won or lost?
Plenty of races have been lost before Pluviometer or even before Cox’s River. But the winner will be someone who has trained well for all the different aspects of the race and runs it according to their own strengths. I’ve always thought when you reach the Black Ranges it is better to be behind and feeling fresh than in front and feeling tired.
What nutrition do you use for the race?
I’ll drink whatever sports drink is provided at the aid stations and carry three gels (Gu). A gulp of coke at Caves Road is usually hard to resist too. I do nearly all my long runs on water after an overnight fast, so provided I’ve carb-loaded properly I usually don’t need to eat too much in the race.
Likewise, do you consider trail shoes, or is 6ft ‘flat’ enough for road shoes?
I’ve worn both in previous years and not noticed much difference. I’ll wear Mizuno Wave Harriers this year. I like to have a bit of extra grip for the fast downhills and the Mizunos are light and comfy.
Care to put out any predictions for your time? If not, what kind of time do you think will win 6ft this year?
The weather can have a big influence, but assuming good conditions I’ll be aiming for 3:30 or under. Looking at the long list of talented contenders that might not be fast enough for a top-10 finish! I’m guessing there are 3 or 4 guys looking to go under 3:20 and I expect the race will be won in 3:1x.
All the best to Tony in the final week of preparation, and thanks to him for sparing some time with us.
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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.

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