Victorian 6 Hour and 50km Track Championship
Recollections from Geoff Duffell and Barry Higgins
- History of how event started
Geoff recalled a discussion between himself and Bruce Salisbury when driving home from an Ultra race in Melbourne. Geoff suggested this type of event would be easy to organise and suggested to Bruce that Traralgon Harriers should organise one. The Traralgon Harriers asked the Australian Ultra Runners Association (AURA) for advice to run a 6hr event and AURA provided support and an international standards manual for Traralgon Harriers to follow.
- The Traralgon Harriers ran these events from 1996 until 2012.
In 1996 the 50 km track race was included in the 6 hour race and both events were held concurrently from then on. From 1997 onwards the event was given AURA Victorian Championship status.
Since 2012 it has not been run by the Traralgon Harriers due to a number of factors:
- It had run its time with the Traralgon Harriers as initially there were many keen runners who wished to complete in such an event, but as the years passed many of these runners and new runners were not so keen to run around a track for a distance race.
- The Traralgon Harriers Committee decided that it was not the direction the club wanted to go
- No one wanted to take on the positon of Race Director and organisational problems were created by having to follow the strict AURA international standards manual. The Committee agreed to let it lapse for a year as it was not being supported by club members.
- Walhalla Wound Up run started in 2002 and gradually took its place.
- Course descriptions
Both events were combined and ran at the Moe Athletics Track.
- Traralgon Harrier record holders
– In 1996 Barry Higgins in 55-59 age group established a 6 Hour record of 57.647 km
– In 1997 Sandra Timmer-Arends established records for the 50km and 30 mile Open Women’s in times of 3:38:18 and 3.31.06 respectively.
– In 1997 Ian Cornthwaite established a record for the 30mile in a time of 3.01.02. Last update November 2001.
Comments from Geoff Duffell (Race Director)
Looking at the Australian records, and despite other track races about, there were a significant number of Australian records at our event in the first 3 or 4 years.
There’s no doubt in my mind that people wanted to run there because of the chance of records or fast times.
Around 2000 we started getting some hot days too, and there was a definite runner shift of interest from track to trail running as organisers started putting on shorter (50-60km instead of 80-100km) and easier events.
As far as individual runners the stand outs for me are Peta Mullens, Linda Meadows, Ian Cornthwaite and Roger Maximiew.
I can’t forget Bruce Salisbury. He was always there early to help set up, then out on the track competing. Less selfless, he could have done better performances. His 6 hour win was deserved.
Lee Graham and Pedro Grixti put in some effective training and ran performances above their own expectations