This weekend just gone saw one of the biggest trail marathons (or ultras, or whatever you want to call it), the Six Foot Track marathon (45kms) in the Blue Mountains. With a highly competitive field across both mens and ladies, this one always brings some of our finest runners out to play.
I mentioned this to a few people I spoke to after the race, but the beauty of 6ft track is it not being hit by the mandatory gear brigade. Being in a rather fortunate position of having huge numbers of RFS personnel on hand to cater for your every whim along the course will do that for you. But what keeps me personally coming back year-on-year is the ability to just sling on a pair of running shoes, shorts, socks, no shirt and a few gels in the pocket – and off you go. It’s bush running at its rawest. Long may it continue.
Despite conditions appearing ideal on race day, I’m sure many will agree with me that it was hard yakka all day long. It was one of those races where you fought for every single kilometre, even the downhill ones. Some say the humidity was up high, who knows.
Most noticeably, the top male times were generally a lot slower than previous years. Although ladies winner, Steph Auston threw that theory out of the window to win with a ten minute PB in a time of 3hrs 48mins.
Despite a heavy racing schedule of late, Steph timed her conditioning to perfection to win by a country mile in the ladies race. Gemma Jenkins, one of Steph’s closest competitors for the win unfortunately pulled injured midway through. What’s exciting for Steph is I think she can go even quicker on this course, potentially pushing her way into the high 3:30s in future years.
Margaret Campbell ran an excellent race for second in 4hrs 9mins, with Elizabeth Humphries third in 4hrs 15mins.
The men’s race was a lot slower than previous years, which was strange given we had two guys competing, (Vlad Shatrov and Courtney Atkinson) who’d run two of the fastest times on the course. Whether it was the weather so to speak, or a case of people going out hard, who knows.
In the end, Courtney Atkinson managed to grab the win to add to his second place from a few years ago. He finished in a time of 3hrs 31mins. Rhett Gibson ran a blinder to split up the Courtney / Vlad show, coming in second in 3hrs 35mins. And, Vlad grabbed the final podium spot coming in just behind Rhett in 3hrs 36mins.
Warburton Trail Festival
Down Victoria way, the Warburton Trail Festival took place, which included the 50km ultra. Matt Crehan took out the men’s race, coming in with a smoking time of 3hrs 58mins. In the ladies, Nicole Vaughan passed the line first in a time of 5hrs 40mins. She was followed by Maddy Button and Sarah Lloyd who both finished in 5hrs 50mins for joint second.
Rounding out the male podium was second place, Apo Kale in 4hrs 1 min and Felix Weber in third in a time of 4hrs 7mins.