When an Olympic marathoner says he’s going to run 6FT Track people start to talk. How fast could he go? Is the long-standing record under threat? Will anyone challenge him? The decision for Marty Dent to compete in the 2014 race came as somewhat of a shock. Having recently dominated the Kepler Challenge and with it being a Commonwealth Games year (and he’s already selected to compete), few thought that the ilk of Dent would be vying for the title. But, on a hot weekend the Twittersphere was a buzz when Mart signalled his intention to run, and not just try for the win, but give the record a shake too. The Long Run took the time to pick Dent’s brains to see what he thinks about 6FT and what his plans are for race day.
1) What made you decide to run 6FT?
I recovered well from the Kepler Challenge (better than I have from road marathons), so I started to look for an event to give me motivation to get back into shape. I wasn’t interested in running track and there are not many road races on in the first few months of the year, so the Six Foot Track Marathon suited really well. The running crowd in Canberra raves about the event and, with a lot of quality runners having competed over the years, I am excited to test myself over the historic track.
2) What specific training will you do for it?
Essentially my build up will be similar to what I would do for a road marathon but I will look for a few more hills. The hills will include both hard ascents and fast descents. I will do some as part of long runs as well as some shorter, harder hill efforts. I will keep shorter intervals going including some on the track.
3) What’s your goal time?
From what I hear the time depends on the course conditions and the day in general. I am also not quite sure what shape I will be in. However, if it’s a good day and I consider I am in decent shape, I will plan to run at about course record pace. I might crash and burn as a result of going too hard, but I am willing to put myself out there. This strategy worked in Kepler, but backfired over 100km last February.
4) How will you approach the race?
I will probably have a few different plans and some splits worked for various end time goals. The quicker I run the less time I am out there! Nutrition-wise I will stick to what worked in the Kepler Challenge: gels, water and a bit of sports drink.
5) What do you see as being the biggest challenge to you on the course?
I have been told the stairs at the start are a challenge, but assuming I get through them OK it may be not running too fast down to the river crossing.
6) Will you still look towards Sydney Half and then Comm Games?
Hopefully I pull up well from Six Foot Track and can get into structured training within a couple of weeks. If that’s the case, I will have over four months to get ready for Commonwealth Games and along the way run some road races which will probably include Sydney Half.
7) Any advice for first timers to trail running who are planning to run 6ft?
The most important thing for any distance event is to get the training done. Consistency of running and variety in paces and terrain is vital. I’m a newbie to Six Foot Track myself, but from what I have heard practicing running down stairs and hitting some big hills will help.