I’m not normally in the habit of writing a ‘pre preview’, but with the Six Foot track waves announced over the weekend, there’s some very exciting names on the list making the female and male races potentially mouth-watering if injuries remain at bay and those registered line up.
So ahead of time, I thought I’d give a bit of a preview as to whom is lined up currently in the men’s and ladies fields to give those watching a bit of a head start ahead of the March race. Of course, theres plenty of training to go until then, but with a quality line-up already in the picture, it’s hard not getting excited about the potential of this year’s race.
In the ladies, there’s potentially a huge battle up front between three very quick ladies, Gemma Jenkins, Steph Auston and Kellie Emmerson. Both Steph and Gemma ran last year with Gemma (3:55) finishing seven minutes ahead of Steph (4:02). On paper, Steph is quicker, with slightly better 10km and marathon PBs, but this isn’t a road race. But the rematch with no Marnie Ponton down to race at this stage looks very enticing.
This will be Kellie’s first bash at Six Foot track, and while she’s known perhaps for the bigger, longer ultras, she’s certainly not stranger to the shorter quicker stuff too with some very good results at the Two Bays 56km ultra in recent years. Kellie’s a bit of an unknown for this race, but there’s bags of pace and talent there waiting to be unleashed.
EDIT: Missed out Victoria Beck, who has a marathon PB of 2:42, and baed on that the quickest lady in the field. Also missed first time around was Melanie Macdonald who recently finished second in the Cadbury marathon in Hobart in a time of 2:57.
Blue Mountains local, Lou Clifton is back for another tilt this year after her excellent fourth place last year. She had a cracking 2017 with first at the GNW 100km, third at UTA and first at the Mount Solitary ultra too.
Other ladies to keep an eye on include:
- Julie Quinn
- Cecily Butler
- Melissa Robertson
- Robyn Bruins
- Greta Truscott
- Jo Brischetto
In the men’s race, Olympic 10,000m runner turned marathon man, Ben St Lawrence lines up for his first Six Foot track. There’s been talk for a few years among the moonshine brigade as to when Ben might tie up his laces for a crack at this race and it seems that 2018 is that time. With a 10km PB of 27mins 24secs, he’s by far and away the quickest guy in the field if you’re looking at raw speed, but that was quite a few years ago now. His marathon PB sits at 2:24, which is slower than some of the others in the field. But there’s no denying an athlete of the calibre of Ben is a big drawcard for many others to compete against one of our best long distance track athletes.
Next on the list is the returning champ from last year, Vlad Shatrov, who came with a minute of breaking Stu Gibson’s current record of 3:14. Speaking to Vlad post race last year, he’s still got a little more to give on this course and I think the record will go this year, and by quite a few minutes too. Vlad’s training the last 4-5 weeks has been unreal, with 200km+ weeks and some massive runs. He’s certainly getting the hay in the barn so to speak and I truly think he could run 3:10-3:11 on this course. All things being equal and training goes to plan, he’s my current favourite to win this one.
Typically, the Six Foot Track wave allocations place runners in order of their ability / times. And if you didn’t scroll down far enough into wave one, you’d certainly miss the name of Blake Hose. I think Blake is one of our most ultra trail talented runners around right now, and he proved this with a huge seventh place in the TNF 50 miler over in the US in November last year. Typically regarded as one of the premier shorter course ultras in the US, that field is stacked beyond belief and Blake put in a massive performance to secure that top ten placing. Blake in tip top shape has the ability to keep with Vlad and run in that 3:10-3:14 bracket for sure, Six Foot is a tailor-made race for the strengths of Blake. I can’t wait to see what he does.
Another returning champ is Dave Byrne, with a PB of 3:20 in this race. That was a few years ago now, so you suspect he’ll be running quicker this time around, training pending of course. Dave’s had some solid results at UTA and the Tarawera 100 in recent years, along with a second place at Kepler some years back too. Will be good to see him back to the shorter form ultra and competing against the guys like Ben, Vlad and Blake.
Another name to watch out for is perennial top 4 place getter, Mark Green. For once, it looks like he’s training, that or he’s not making his Strava session private anymore. Mark’s a quality athlete and former international triathlete rep too with a cracking record at this race – has the lure of being one of the most competitive races in the history of Six Foot lured him out to train big this time around? Time will tell, but he’s certainly a top five contender.
Finally, Scotty Hawker makes his first attempt at Six Foot Track following a focus on the bigger, longer stuff that included a superb 11th at UTMB last year, third place at Ultra Trail Cape Town and then a cheeky under the radar win at the Six Inch Trail marathon over in WA too in December. Like Blake, it will be very exciting to see Scotty racing here for the first time and a chance to see how he goes over the short trail in a stacked race.
All we need now is for Tom Do Canto to sign up too 🙂
Other men’s names to keep an eye on include:
- Alex Matthews
- Andy Lee
- Brendan Davies
- Mick Donges
- Loughlinn Kennedy
- Morgan Lindqvist
- Daniel Green
- Marty Keyes
- Rhett Gibson
- Hamish Macdonald