Today it’s the turn of the ladies as we look ahead to Six Foot Track this weekend. While I don’t think we’ll be seeing any new records this year, we do have an exciting blend of some stalwarts of the trail community up against some young guns seeking to make their mark.
Last year saw Hanny Allston break Emma Murray’s longstanding ladies record with a superb time of 3:35, a record I think that will stand for a long time. That’s of course if any of the super-quick ‘roadies’ want to have a bash at that. But with no Hanny this year, we’ll be crowning a new champion – A time of around sub 4hrs will do it I think. That’s not to say we won’t see a quicker time than that, it’s just that’s what I think it will take to win.
We’re going to start with one of those young guns, Marnie Ponton, new-ish to the Blue Mountains area having made the move from Canberra. Marnie has taken all before all in the Running Wild events this year, taking out the ladies crown and most of the male opposition in the process too. Six Foot will be Marnie’s first attempt over some of the longer stuff having won the Glenbrook 34km, Kedumba half marathon and Narrow neck night race.
My spies in the Blue Mountains have placed good money on Marnie to come out on top for this one, so highly do they rate her. However let’s not place too much expectation on her given this is Marnie’s first crack at Six Foot and over some of the longer stuff too. But she’s certainly going to be up there as a real contender.
UPDATE: The absolute howler that I missed is Kelly-Ann Varney, current Australian marathon and 50k champion. Plenty of pedigree there for sure. She’ll have the speed on the flats, it’s the hills and the technical running that may undo her. We shall see.
Melissa Robertson has had a cracking start to the year with an awesome second place at Tarawera recently. I’m sure she’ll want to follow in the footsteps of Fiona Hayvice, who just pipped her to the win at Tarawera, but then promptly went out and won the Hillary 34kms event, beating a very inform Lucy Bartholomew in the process. Melissa’s had a good rest now and the endurance and fitness will be at its peak for this one, barring any niggles. Expect a real tussle between Marnie and Melissa here.
Canberra star ultra runner, Julie Quinn is back for her buckle year and she looks good for another podium here I’d say having narrowly missed out last year coming in fourth. She’s consistently around the 4:15 mark for this race over the last few years and you probably wouldn’t bet against her doing it again for this race. She had a really solid result at the Buffalo Stampede last year, coming in third in a highly respectable 10:05. She has bucketloads of endurance, the question will be whether the speed can match Melissa and Marnie.
Then we have a more bucketloads of ladies who all look at though they’ll be around the 4:15-4:30 mark, which should make for a very interesting race for the top five. It is literally a take your pick from:
- Fleur Flannery
- Orla O’Leary
- Erika Jordan
- Jo Brischetto
- Daniela Burton
- Suzi Heaton
- Diane Edwards
- Jodie Oborne
- Greta Truscott
- Sophie Brown
- Louise Clifton
- Laura Cameron
If any of the ladies up front slip up, it’s no word of a lie to suggest that anyone of the above could nip a nice podium on the day.
All the very best to everyone running out there on Saturday. I’ll be toeing the line too, cramming in a casual run before Northburn the weekend after. Looking forward to seeing as many people as possible have a great day – savour the finish, it’s one of the best around.