From Lee Troop:
It is with great regret and sadness that I personally inform you that there will be no Colac Six Day Event in 2008 and beyond.
As you know I took over the event 12 months ago after it had collapsed in 2006. My vision was to return one of Australia’s best Ultra Marathon events back to the forefront again but as a major ultra marathon event combined with a festival of sport.
There had been numerous hurdles along the way from the change of venue which was forced upon us, to debate about bitumen versus grass and then the velodrome. (As a side note the veledrome was not as embanked as people made out and believe it or not to some of you die hard Ultra runners, the old Sydney to Melbourne was run on a complete embanked highway so how was this any different? It has to be so the water can run off the road for anyone that is going to try and argue the point).
Anyway, once athletes understood the reasoning behind the new venue, I then had to face disappointed athletes in regards to entry standards and daily cut-offs.
With 5 weeks to entries close it seems that the athletes of the ultra marathon world have not embraced the change and therefore the event cannot go ahead.
It is amazing that 12 months ago athletes emailed and phoned me begging me to take the event on and they would do what was needed to make it successful again. I was told the only issue I would have would be convincing the people of Colac who had not embraced the event. Ironically the people of Colac have embraced it to the point that we have TV, radio and print media partners, sponsors, sporting groups signing up as volunteers and there was a real buzz of excitement.
Sadly the ones who eventually ended the event were the athletes.
In order for this event to have been successful and to prove to the community, sponsors etc.. that it needed to stay for the next 20 years, I needed 15-20 athletes. The five I had combined with the 2-3 possibilities is not going to do me or the event any credibility at all. And let’s face it, numbers are not going to dramatically increase in the next 5 weeks as those that were keen on doing the event would already be training and would have planned for it.
There will also be athletes that are sitting on the fence that may have been wanting to do the event but will come up with the excuse “I was just waiting to see if it was going ahead before I submitted my entry”. Well for 12 months I said it was going ahead and I can only go by confirmed entries and payment so had they paid, then we would have had nothing to fear.
I will also hear the other excuse “I was planning on doing it in 2009”. Well if it can’t be done in 2008, what is the point of 2009 and I am sure they probably used that excuse in 2006.
To those very few passionate people involved in the sport of ultra running, please accept my apologies and understanding that I did everything I could do make this a great event. I am really shattered that all my hard work has not come to fruition and then there is the financial loss but that is not as painful as seeing the work I put in wasted.
I want to thank people such as Ian Cornelius (AURA), Phil Essam, the Colac Shire, State/Federal government and the 5-8 athletes that were prepared to do what it took to save and reinvigorate the event and make it potentially one of the best Ultra races in the world.
To the critics, without a change in attitude to change your sport is doomed. Cricket made changes with 20/20, Football now is played indoor at the Telstra Stadium, the Olympics now has BMX racing and the list goes on. The Colac Six Day Race needed to be an event of the modern times and not what it was back from the 1980’s. There comes a time when you have to put back into your sport if you want it to have a future but some of you are only in it for yourselves and that is disappointing for the sport as a whole.
Not much more to say really except to those who really matter, “I am sorry and I hope you can accept my sincere apologies”.
Thankyou for attempting to resurrect the race. As we say in the Services you went above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks.
Some people will probably quote the various supposed problems. There are no problems in life only solutions.
The Colac 6-day race is now confined to the history books.
In some ways I feel that the sport and a lot of the competitors in the sport were pulling my leg. I had so many people approach me and say ” Phil, there is not going to be any more Colac, what are you going to do about it, we need to keep the race going etc etc etc”. So I did. Countless emails, online petitions with 80 plus signatures, lobbying people in Colac. Eventually the race was resurrected when Lee Troop came along and said “What can I do”.
But it appears as though all was in vain and the general consensus of the ultra community is “No, I dont want the race any more, Let it die”. In some ways, I would have rather of been told that upfront in 2006 rather than countless tries and effort in the last few years. Thanks Ultrarunning.
Me – I’ll keep helping my few friends in the ultra world and their specific acitvities. I’ll keep running the PUM website, but may hand it over to a team. The best thing – a lot more time for myself and what I want to achieve in long distance events (solos and races).
Thanks Lee for the fantastic effort, thanks to the people who competed in the race over the years and gave us fantastic memories and thanks to the people of Colac who did want the race to be revivied in 2008.
Thanks to the five Guys who were going to take part and had committed themselves. You are TOPS.