A NEW and improved track stretching from the base of Mount Towac to the summit will provide runners in the 2013 Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge with supremely fast conditions for the eighth running of the race.
A sanctioned NSW Mountain Running Championship event, the 11 kilometre dash up Mount Canobolas will be quicker than ever this year following work by the National Parks Service around the Mount Towac peak.
Goldseekers Orienteering Club publicity officer Russell Tym believes both the improved track conditions and the hot field set to storm up Mount Canobolas this year points towards the track record tumbling in 2013.
“I think it will be a very fast time because of the terrific job the National Parks has done improving the track,” Tym said.
“We’ve got the runners who finished second, third and fourth last year back to run again as well.”
Last year’s winner, Ruairidh MacDonald, is injured and won’t be competing this year.
He is, however, making the trip back to Orange with his mother set to contend in the ladies’ draw.
MacDonald’s absence in the field will leave the rest chasing 2011 winner and last year’s runner-up, Dural’s Robin Whiteley.
Whiteley set the course record in winning the 2011 event, dashing up the 520 metres of total climb in a time of 50 minutes and 36 seconds.
Whiteley is a strong chance to smash his previous best time.
Tym predicted Audrey Amiya-Hall to be the woman to watch in this year’s field.
This year a host of Sydney runners will be making the trip west for the event, which is steadily growing.
Last year, 388 people took up the challenge.
After the pre-entering stage of the race closed during the week, 330 runners were already on the event’s books.
“And we normally get another 100 on the morning of the race,” Tym said.
Race day registration is from 7.30am tomorrow morning with the race beginning at 9am.
The course begins near Towac Pinnacle Picnic Grounds, ventures up through the steep Mount Towac then on to Young Man Canobolas before the final climb to Mt Canobolas.