This Saturday, 850 runners will begin the 2011 Six Foot Track Marathon, an iconic race which is on the to-do list of most Australian marathon runners. So popular is this race, that the limit of 850 entrants was reached within minutes of the commencement of online entries in December. Runners paid $135 for the privilege of punishing themselves for 3 to 7 hours in the Australian bush. The NSW Rural Fire Service Blue Mountains Brigades and Six Foot Track Heritage Trust are the beneficiaries of the race.
The track descends to Cox's River, which is usually about thigh-deep, then climbs to the Mini-Mini Saddle. After a brief downhill section to the Alum River crossing at about the halfway point, the punishing 3.5km Pluviometer hill reduces most runners to a walk. It's more uphill and undulations to the 40km mark, then the race to the finish on tired, aching legs.
The race is made all the more challenging with the requirement to meet cut-off times at 3 points along the course, and finish within 7 hours. Sweepers are runners who run at the rear of the field, helping injured runners and encouraging slower runners to meet the cut-off times.
The NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers manage 17 aid stations along the way, providing water, electrolyte drinks, fruit, energy gels, vaseline, suncream and first aid. Spectators are able to cheer the runners at several points also. However, the most popular spectator point is the finish line at Caves House, Jenolan Caves, where the joys and sorrows of Six Foot Track Marathon finishers, fast and slow, can be experienced. If you have ever done a fun run then why not set a goal of attempting this amazing event. Get inspired at http://www.sixfoot.com/index.php