By Samantha Newsam
WHILE for many of us it sounds arduous the Newcastle Permanent Tamworth Ten must have felt a bit like a stroll in the park for the men’s and women’s winner of the 39th instalment yesterday.
Both Ben Malby and Narina du Plessis are accustomed to racing over longer distances with Malby competing on the ultra-marathon circuit and du Plessis racing marathons.
For both it was their first Tamworth Ten victory but not first attempt.
“I did it when I was a lot younger,” Malby said.
He reckoned it was probably about seven years ago during his school days at Tamworth High.
Now based up on the Gold Coast, it was a good chance for Malby to catch up with some old mates and get a bit of racing in at the same time.
He also brought his little brother Isaac down with him to do the Tamworth Shoppingworld Fun Five.
Malby said he felt pretty comfortable throughout the race.
“I just ran to how I felt.
“Everything went to plan,” he said.
There was an attempted breakaway about 2km in, but Malby quickly covered that and by the second lap had built a handy lead.
He finished more than a minute in front of runner-up David McPherson (Scone) with Kootingal’s Anthony Heeney another few minutes back in third.
Malby has been doing a lot of miles and was using the race as a bit of a hit-out for next month’s Glass House Hundred.
That is his main focus at the moment.
“I raced up there about two months ago in an 80km race and was third overall,” he said.
He did it in about eight hours, and said if he could do the 100 under 10 hours he’d be happy.
And he said he’ll “definitely be back” to do the 10 again.
For du Plessis the win made all those cold frosty mornings training up on the “Walcha high veldt” worthwhile.
She even roped a few friends along to train and race the Ten too.
It was her third time racing the event and she’s got better each go.
Marathons though are more her speciality than the fun run fives and tens.
“I’ve done the Sydney marathon, I’ve done Brisbane. I did Adelaide,” she said.
Back in June she won the Macleay Marathon, and last month she was the third female to finish the Hunter Valley Marathon at Pokolbin.
“That (marathons) helped me today,” she said.
“I had a base of long distance so I could push a bit harder.”
She also has a natural altitude training base, which helped too.
“I find because I live in Walcha and train up there in the cold, when I go down to the coast I do better,” she said.
Back in South Africa she competed in ultra-marathons, and eventually she would like to get into trail running, she said, but for now she’s concentrating on marathons.
Next up is the NSW Marathon Championships in Sydney next month.
“I’d really love to run a good time,” she said.
“That will be the end of the marathons for the year.”
She said her goal is to finish in the top five for her age group.
Yesterday she said would love to break 42 minutes, which she did, stopping the clock at 41.06mins.
Keiraviile’s Carley Rowland was second and Kootingal’s Jodie Heeney third.
Scone’s Dillon Catzikiris defended his five title, while Gunnedah’s Megan Isbester was the first female to finish.