Ascent beckons: Capacity field expected for Mount Panorama Punish

CLIMB TIME: Amy Glenn, Nicole Williamson, Meg Reeves, Wes Gibson and Mitch Williamson were on last year's podiums. Photos: CHRIS SEABROOK

CLIMB TIME: Amy Glenn, Nicole Williamson, Meg Reeves, Wes Gibson and Mitch Williamson were on last year’s podiums. Photos: CHRIS SEABROOK

The draw of running the famed 6.213 kilometre circuit has been too much for people across the country to resist, with organisers expecting plenty of interstate visitors.

Even co-organiser Stephen Jackson has been blown away by the support.

“It’s been remarkable and it’s very much been word of mouth which has driven it,” he said.

“We’ve got buses coming up from Melbourne, down from Brisbane and flights coming in from everywhere. We’re quite chuffed that there’s been such interest in Bathurst and the Mount.

“We knew this concept had legs. When we got 500 last year we thought that was pretty good but we were quietly confident it was going to grow.

“It sits towards the end of the running season and it finds a nice gap on the Mount’s racing calendar, and that’s been the tricky thing, to try and find a date.

As of Wednesday afternoon the Punish had received just over 900 entries.

Late entries will still be available on Saturday afternoon at the Run Nation Film Festival and on Sunday morning (if not sold out) for the increased price of $50.

With greater numbers also comes a greater quality of competitor.

There’s a strong chance the Punish will see now athletes on top of the podiums due to the larger field.

Jackson said there’s several athletes to look out for as they ascend the Mount.

“Dani Andres, who was the Australia Day ambassador for Bathurst this year, is a well renowned triathlete who was at the World Championships only a few months ago in Europe,” he said.

“Dave Criniti is a Commonwealth Games qualifier for the marathon and won the Auckland Marathon a week ago. He’s coming up to have a bash as well.

“Half the field are made of the greater local area and the rest are visitors. A lot of those visitors – probably a third of them – are targeting parkrun.”

The Bathurst contingent will be trying their hardest to conquer the Mount against the imposing crew of visiting challengers.

“Wes Gibson, our UP Coaching man in Bathurst, has been running a program over the last eight weeks on the Mountain and how to run it well,” Jackson said.

“Jenn Arnold, my co-event organiser and I have run the Dubbo and Melbourne marathons, so the training has been very different.”

The Mount Panorama Punish starts Sunday 8am.

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