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Victorian 6 hour & 50 km
Sunday, 28 November 1999by Geoff Duffell
If the sweltering conditions were not enough during the track championships at Moe, on 28 November, Shirley Young’s great 50 km performance, to beat her own age world record, was even hotter.
The day began in mild conditions with a forecast promise of rising temperatures. Safet Badic powered into an immediate lead leaving the rest of the field to sort themselves out in his wake. With 38 laps covered in the first hour, Badic was looked to be in control. A little later, however, a shoe failure cost him time in trying to make repairs, and finally put him out of the race after only 33 km.
Kelvin Marshall, after an early duel with South Australian visitor, Jevvan McPhee, took over the lead from Badic. Bert Pelgrim, Rob Embleton and Bruce Salisbury filled the next places. Not far behind them, Lavinia Petrie, June Petrie and Shirley Young headed the rest of the field.
With everyone feeling early effects of the heat, many runners had already decided that 50 km would be enough and that they would not continue running after that. A few more made early retirements rather than wreck themselves completely. Of the others, some were already taking walking breaks before the halfway time was reached.
At 3 hours Kelvin was now a comfortable 6 laps ahead of Bert Pelgrim, Rob Embleton a further 3 laps behind, and Jevvan McPhee and Bruce Salisbury another 5 laps down. Kelvin ran on to complete 52 km and temporarily retired from the race to see if anyone would challenge him for a better final total. Embleton got ahead of Pelgrim, and both stopped after completing 50 km. McPhee and Salisbury now inherited second and third places in the 6 hour race, and their personal battle continued on, both running and walking, into the last hour.
June Petrie, who had been running clockwork-even laps all day, and Shirley Young a few laps behind, filled the next places. They would finish at 50 km, but after Kelvin’s exit they were consistently the fastest runners on the track. June’s even-paced 4:16 result would have been one of the best on the day, if not overshadowed by Shirley’s 4:36:48. For Shirley, it was a 1˝ minute improvement on her own best for the 60-69 age group - and just in the nick of time - just two months short of her 70th birthday. Shortly after, track-side temperatures were measured at well over 30°, so there was room for an even better time in cooler conditions. We wish you every success next year, Shirley, in the new age group.
At the 5 hour mark, Kelvin still held the lead, but by less than a lap from McPhee and Salisbury. Four other runners, Ernie Hartley, Rod Healey, Peter Gray and Geoff Duffell were nudging toward 50 km and were also possibilities to overtake Kelvin. He resumed running at 5 hours 10 minutes, now 2 laps down on Salisbury who was walking at the time, and one lap behind McPhee who was running slowly and occasionally walking. Kelvin set out running 100 second laps, or better. Within 20 minutes, and with just 30 minutes left to run, Kelvin, Bruce Salisbury and Jevvan McPhee were together on the same lap, in that order. Kelvin looked secure.
However, Kelvin’s pace relaxed a bit and Bruce found an extraordinary lease of life, overtaking Kelvin again to finish ahead at the end of 6 hours. Jevvan was third, being unable to match the finishing pace of the other two.
No women continued running for the 6 hours and results depended upon the most extra laps covered after 50 km was completed. Shirley Young (50.8 km) secured the title ahead of June Petrie with Lavinia Petrie third.
6 Hour Race
Victorian 50km Track Championships