It was a big weekend of racing just gone with perhaps the pinnacle being Six Foot Track here in New South Wales and some seriously hot racing across both mens and ladies fields.
Although I wasn’t personally on the track, following the results online, along with the calibre of runners on the list, times appeared slightly slower than maybe expected, which indicates that it would have been humid down there, particularly as runners reached Cox’s River and began the 10kms of climbing to the top of Pluviometer.
In the men’s race, it was the two big guns, current title holder Vlad Shatrov facing up with Aussie track star, Ben St Lawrence. Both hit the river in just over 59 minutes, clearly some handholding going on there :), and just slightly outside of course record pace. Behind these two were the ever-reliable Brendan Davies and Mr Consistent at Six Foot, Kiwi old man, Mark Green. However the interesting one for me was Dave Criniti hitting the river in 65 minutes, some 6 minutes off the leaders, but clearly taking it easy for the climbs to come – for me, he was the one to watch.
And that’s where the prophesy came to light. Vlad would continue from strength to strength on a course he knows well and a distance and level of climbing that I think he really excels at. Vlad would go on to win the race in a time of 3:18, some three minutes off his pace last year, but under a very different set of circumstances. Having only just come off the back of the Tarawera 100km a few weeks ago, he still ran a blinder. Ben St Lawrence unfortunately withdrew later in the race, while Dave Criniti powered through the field to take second place in 3:23 with Mark in third in 3:26.
In the ladies race, there was a slightly similar story, with Steph Auston taking the win from Victoria Beck in second and Katie Conlon in third. Steph, like Dave Criniti was pretty conservative down to the river, hitting the timing mat in 1:14, while Victoria and Katie were down in 1:10. From there, Steph powered up the hills to rein Victoria in by Pluvi, with Katie only another minute further ahead of her. But come the Black Ranges, Steph, with the experience of having raced Six Foot last year put the pedal to the metal to come home in a fantastic time of 3:57 for the win and a big PB.
Victoria managed to overhaul Katie Conlon in the latter stages of the race to finish in 4:03:42, while Katie came home in third just 27 seconds later in 4:04:09 – must have been some very close racing between those two in the final few kilometres.
Warburton Trail Fest
Down Victoria way, it was the debut of the Warburton Trail Fest. Amy Lamprecht took out the ladies 50km Lumberjack race in a very impressive 4:35, with Bronwyn Young second in 5:33 and Rachel Balding third in 6:33. For the guys, Matthew Crehan won in a time of 4:07, Jared Kohlar was second in 4:12 with Apo Kale third in 4:22.
Motatapu Off Road
Over in New Zealand, the Motatapu Off Road marathon and ultra took place in the stunning South Island, with some seriously hot running talent on course. Perhaps the pick was in both the ladies marathon and ultra with Ruth Croft overcoming the battle with Lucy Bartholomew to win in a new course record time of 6:38. In the men’s ultra, Joe Mann took the win in a time of 6:18. Rounding out the podium in the ladies was Lucy in 7:36 with Anna Frost in third in 8:12. For the men’s podium, Daniel Cazalla Lorite was second in 6:42 and Zak Brown third in 6:58.
In the marathon, Cecila Flori continued her impressive racing with the win in 3:30, Dani Nicholson was second in 3:41 and Sophie Gibbins third in 3:47. In the men’s race, Vajin Armstrong was the winner 2:59, with Hamish Elliott second in 3:09 and David Gare third in 3:23.
Some very sad news from the Motatapu event yesterday was the passing of a competitor in the multi sport event, during the mountain bike stage. We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends, at what must be an extremely difficult time.
Blue Mountains Beer Mile
Finally, the upper echelons of the Blue Mountains held their first beer mile. Sponsored by the guys at La Sportiva, it appears they brought some ring-ins to the event as in the mens mile, the podium was dominated by climbers and not a runner in sight. The mens podium consisted of Tom O’Halloran, Micheal Staszak and Ben Cossey while in the ladies event, Sian Kennedy took out the honours, with Kerin Gale and Mel Shields making up the other podium placings.