The Two Bays ultra certainly didn’t disappoint this weekend with coach and runner taking out both the men’s and ladies titles. Coach Majell Backhausen winning the men’s title in a time of 4hrs 15mins, while Lucy Bartholomew took out possibly the performance of the day finishing in a blistering course record run of 4hrs 33mins. She beat the previous course record by a stunning nine minutes. Clearly, someone has been working on their pace the last few months or so.
In all seriousness though, I said in the preview that it would be a mighty fine battle between Lucy and Tash Fraser, but on the day, Lucy’s strength won the day with a performance that is going to set her up for the year ahead as she places a big focus on Western States.
One thing to note as well is that Lucy’s time was the third fastest on the day, something I wanted to acknowledge but have resisted calling it out as third overall as technically the men and the women are not racing each other, they are two separate races. They’re run at the same time due to logistical and resource reasons and that is all.
If you’re still asking why I’m not calling it out as third overall, you only have to look at major athletics and running championships where the lumping together of men’s and women’s results doesn’t happen. Nor does it happen at major marathons too. And while major marathons are run at the same time, the results are reported as individual races. For some reason in ultras, we seem to be lumping men’s and women’s results together in an ‘overall’ category as well as by gender. The latter is how I believe we should solely look at them.
I think that if we’re to see women’s ultra running grow in stature and respect in the coming years, we should no longer compare men and women against one another as if often the case right now in races. It’s where phrases such as ‘being chicked’ stem from, a form of casual sexism.
It’s not that I don’t want to recognise the awesome performances of Lucy and other women, I just believe they deserve to be recognised in their own right and have their own platform for celebration rather than a comparison to men.
Anyway, not to detract from the great results, I’m seriously excited by Lucy’s performance this weekend just past. I’ve made some pretty bold statements with regards to her potential at Western States this forthcoming year and indeed, a lot has to fall into place for that to happen. But if training all goes to plan and she arrives in tip-top shape, I think she can do some pretty special things and we should get behind Lucy in a big way.
In the men’s race, pre-race favourite Francesco Ciancio lead at halfway, but unfortunately pulled just after with injury. That left the likes of Ashley Bennett and Majell Backhausen to battle it out, the latter waiting in the wings quietly before he pounced in the back half to take the win in a very impressive 4hrs 15 minutes. Majell doesn’t race too often, but when he does, he means business. Here’s hoping to seeing some more wins from the big fella this year too.
Congratulations to the other podium placers in Tash Fraser (4:49) and Amelia Griffith (5:10) in the ladies race, while Ashely Bennett (4:30) and Kay Bretz (4:36) in the mens.
3 thoughts on “Two Bays Ultra Wrap”
Dan, Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments in this article.
Interesting take on gender. Out of interest when I was at University I remember attending a lecture where it was argued that on paper women should be faster than men over longer distances (marathon+) due to a superior ability to control body heat. The lecturer argued that the only reason why the world record for a marathon didn’t belong to a women was due to lack of participation compared to men. You have to agree that as times goes on, and certainly over longer distances, the gap seems to be closing as the barriers to participation disappear.
Thanks for your comments Josh. I agree, in about 30-50 years time or so, gender won’t be a consideration if you look at the way in which society and attitudes are changing. The biggest growth in our sport will come from women in the next 10-20 years when you consider that in the average miler, female participation sits at around 10-25% – how the major races can’t see this (UTMB looking at you with your stupid pregnancy policies) is beyond me…