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Rescue plan for Colac Six-Day Race28th January 2000
Organizers have vowed to rescue Colac's famous Six Day Race. The rescue bid for the race comes in the wake of plans to put it into hibernation because of lack of sponsorship. In November, Czech Republic runner Jaroslav Kocourek won the event for the second straight year, covering 925.6 km. Only 13 of the 17 entrants finished the race.
Colac legends Cliff Young and Drew Kettle both dropped out in the last legs of the race after failing to reach the required 65km a day. Young stopped 13 hours hours short of the finish with 492.4km, and after breaking a world record at the 48-hour mark for running 240km in the 75 to 79 age group. Kettle bowed out with 58km in the fifth day but kept running to notch up 15km on the final day, totalling 344km.
The rescue bid has been greeted with skepticism from the event's volunteer publicity officer amid claims three athletes will not return because the event is not professionally run. Former ultra-marathon runner Tony Rafferty said Colac was still in danger of losing the race with three other towns vying to host the unique Australian event.
Committee spokesman Pat Heffernan yesterday said the committee would resign and be replaced amid plans to resurrect the race. "There's a few people who are determined not to let it go," Ms Heffernan said. "This race is really something for Colac."
Rafferty hit out at how the event was run, saying its volunteers and runners were tired of the lack of professionalism for an event which attracts the world's elite endurance runners. He said the Colac community also failed- to support the event: there was little sponsorship and very few came to watch, compared to 15 years ago when thousands -of people turned out to watch.
He added that he had received phone calls from three towns wanting to host the event. "It's terrible to be negative about it but I am tired of it and so are lots of the runners," he said. "We still had a good race and it's a wonderful event but three runners in that race said they will never come back. I would like to see it stay but it would need a vast change in attitude."
Rafferty said the race should be coincided with a festival and events to attract more people. And he said corporate sponsorship was needed to provide prizemoney to help attract more of the world's best ultra= marathon runners.