It might only be the second year this race is on, but it appears that anything race director, April Palmerlee touches turns to gold. The Camelbak Southern Highlands Challenge Festival of Running as well as being part of the Ultra168 Supporters Club has amassed over 1,100 runners thus far and is expected to hit 1,200 come race day.
What’s great about this little mini festival of running is that it caters for all abilities. From the 1km kiddies fun run, which has over 175 budding trail running toeing the line right up to the 50km ultra. Also in the mix are distances of 6km, 19km and 25kms. Importantly, there are a big proportion of women running too, and with sponsorship from Running Mums Australia, it’s proving to be an awesome way to get more women into trail and ultra running too – something we’re big proponents of.
Of course for the race preview, our focus is on the 50km ultra and who might be on the cards to take out the line honours in this race. It’s also worth mentioning that a certain Marty Dent is due to appear in the 6km race, another great indication of the calibre of runner that April has attracted to the event.
Overall in the ultra, last year’s champ, Dave Byrne is back to give it another shot and it would be hard to bet against him winning again. Last year he clocked a very impressive time of 3:19 for the 50kms, so I think the only real question will be whether or not he’ll be going out to better that this time around? With another year under his belt at racing the longer stuff, my money would be on him doing so.
But let’s look at who’s who in the ladies. One stand out name is veteran Pam Muston, who’s normally seen strutting her stuff over the much longer stuff. I’m sure she probably has plans for a certain race later on in the year that finishes at the highest point in Australia.
Kirsty Lovegrove has her name as a potential winner of this event, having already won the Sri Chinmoy 6hr race, as well as the Narrabeen Allnighter back in January this year. She also finished second at the Centennial Park Ultra 100kms recently too.
Samantha Isbell is a potential podium placer having just missed out on a podium at the recent Centennial Park ultra. She’s also pretty experienced over the 100km distance with solid performance previously at GOW 100 and TNF100. Katherine Madden could potentially feature too having run just outside the top 15 at Six Foot Track this year, along with ACT runner Sarah Fien.
Returning back to the men’s field. And while I think barring a major fall Dave will win at a canter, here are a couple ofothers to keep an eye on.
Christian Warren is a sub 4 Six Foot track runner, so watch out for possible podium from him.
Watch out also for Rob Sharpe who ran a 4:02 Six Foot track earlier this year as well, likewise Jason martin who ran a 4:07 at Six Foot.
Depending on my own movements, I might even make an appearance – need to secure the green card first of all 🙂
Best of luck to all runners this weekend – I’m sure it will be another quality event from April.