Bathurst’s Kellie Gibson first woman home in 2022 Mount Panorama Punish

Kellie Gibson celebrates as she crosses the line in Sunday’s Mount Panorama Punish. Picture by Alexander Grant.

KELLIE Gibson’s brilliant year of running has become even more special following her success in Sunday’s Mount Panorama Punish.

The Bathurst runner completed the lap of the mount in 27 minutes and 46 seconds to be the first woman home and take the step up to the top of the podium after coming close on three previous attempts.

It was a breakthrough performance for Gibson having finished runner-up in 2018, where she ran her previous best time of 27:57, and having been third in 2019 and 2020.

Heather Hozack (28:32) and under 11s competitor Elena Edenhofner (29:38) filled out the rest of the women’s podium.

“I’m absolutely stoked. I never backed myself to ever win a race like this so that makes it even more special,” Gibson said.

“I felt pretty good out there. I just try to stay in my own lane and block everything else out. That’s obviously hard in a big race with lots of people and an exciting atmosphere.

“It can be nervous but I just focus within and hope for the best.”

It was Gibson’s improved effort across the tough opening half of the race which took her to a new personal best time.

Gibson reached the top of the mountain in 15:12 during Sunday’s run, which was 13 seconds better than her 2018 time.

Then her run downhill almost perfectly mirrored her previous best effort, and also saw her maintain her margin over the second-placed Hozack.

“I wasn’t too sure where I was positioned at the top of the hill. There were a few people ahead of me when I crossed the top and that’s when they told me I was the first lady,” Gibson said.

“I just wanted to hold on for the downhill and I managed to do it. I didn’t know I was in front until I got to the top. I was just knuckling down to reach the top.

“The downhill is my strength so the plan was to be conservative on the way up and save it for the down.”

The result continues what’s been a great run of recent results for Gibson.

She was the first Bathurst woman home in the Edgell Jog and last weekend she was the winner of the 11km event at Orange’s Lonely Mountain Ultra.

“I had a pretty good run at the jog but I don’t think I was quite at my best so that run was good feedback to help me sharpen up a few things in the lead up to this one,” Gibson said.

“This has been my best year yet. I’ve had a few wins this year and I’m not used to being up at the top. It was great to win in Orange last week as well.

“I think I need to stop telling myself it’s just luck and back myself.”

Western Advocate 23/10/2022 by Alexander Grant

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