AFTER smashing the Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge record in 2013, his first year running the race, Sydney-based athlete Matthew Cox will return to defend his title in this year’s event on Sunday.
Cox finished last year’s 11kilometre race in 47 minutes and 40 seconds, a full three minutes faster than the previous record of 50:36, set in 2011 by Dural’s Robin Whiteley.
Goldseekers Orienteering Club publicity officer Russell Tym said with Cox now having prior knowledge of the Mount Towac track, the 12 month old record is once again in doubt.
“I think he’ll beat it again this year,” Tym said.
“He was running the course for the first time last year, he knows it a bit better now, and I would think that will be a huge factor in him running even faster this year.”
The 2014 Great Volcanic Challenge is set to be the biggest, and fastest, in recent memory with 420 athletes pre-registered already.
Last year’s race drew 388 starters, and Tym said with entry on the day available as well, the field maximum of 500 people should be met.
Along with Cox 2012 champion Ruairidh MacDonald, of Pymble, and 2011 winner Whiteley will also race again, and Tym said the field will be one of the fastest in memory.
“We’re set for a very fast race,” he said.
“I wish people could act as a fly on the wall to watch it pan out. It will be fascinating viewing.”
The 11km Mount Towac course features three peaks, breathtaking views and an overall climb of 520 metres. While the course is not for the faint-hearted, Tym said if people are confident of finishing in under three hours, they should enter.
“We’re getting more entries every year,” he said.
“People tell their friends and it becomes more and more popular, it’s a great fun thing to do.”
Pre-registration remains open on the Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge website until 6pm Wednesday evening, while entries are accepted on the day.