TASH Fraser will represent Australia for a second time in next year’s world ultramarathon 50-kilometre championship.
Fraser automatically qualified for the world cup by completing back-to-back national open women’s 50km ultra titles.
The Ballarat 26-year-old took out her second championship in Sydney’s Centennial Park on Sunday.
Although she admitted not being confident pre-race, Fraser had two major objectives going into the event – to defend her title and produce a personal best time. She did both.
Her time of three hours, 39 minutes and six seconds bettered her previous PB by about minute.
This was also comfortably inside the world cup qualifying time of 3:50.
She did not initially know she had won though.
“I thought I was third,” she said. “It was a nice surprise.”
She did not realise until crossing the finish line that she had passed the leader inside the last eight-kilometres after sitting a little of pace on a fast, flat 3.54km loop.
Fraser said it was not always possible to keep rivals within sight and she had consequently lost track of which runners were in front of her.
She ended up having 57 seconds to spare over Julie Norney (3:40:03), with Jodie Oborne (3:58:28) third.
Fraser won last year’s national championship in Canberra and went on to a top-10 finish in the world cup in Vallecrosia-Bordighera, Italy.
She said her main focus would now be on be preparing for the worlds, for which the venue is yet to be announced.
“The pressure’s off now,” she said. “I can have some fun for the rest of the year.”
Fraser said she was comfortable running three ultramarathons a year.
She said she would probably compete in one more major event this year.
Exactly how many she tackles in the lead up to the world cup next will depend on the timing of that event.
She indicated a few shorter races would be on her agenda.