ORGANISERS are expecting a bumper field to take on Nail Can Hill tomorrow with ideal weather conditions forecast for the annual event.
Co-ordinator Stephen Wood said there had been about 1700 runners already registered, with late entries being taken today at QEII Square from 10am to 2pm, and at Lavington Sports Ground tomorrow from 8am.
“They are great numbers and testament to the support we get from the community,” he said.
Defending Champion Michael Hosking is lining up to defend his title as king of the hill and is in good form after a win at the Beechworth Easter Fun Run.
But he will be up against a quality field, with Ben Buckingham and Caellum Crowe also running and putting in strong performances at Beechworth.
Buckingham is one of three runners in this year’s field to have run a sub-40 minute Nail Can, the others being Hosking in 2013 and Anthony Evans way back in 1995 when he won the race for the second time.
Evans first won the Nail Can as a 17-year-old back in 1987 in a time of 40.45.
Twenty-seven years later as a 44-year-old he ran only 30 seconds slower to finish third overall in a time of 41.15 last year.
Another runner to look out for is Canberra’s Brad Hetharia.
Hetharia came fifth last year on his first look at the course — and that was after running a 10-kilometre race in Sydney the day before then driving to Albury on the morning of the race.
With the benefit of course knowledge, it would be no surprise to see him improve this year.
Others expected to fight it out for the top 10 are Luke Preston, who was runner up last year and is backing up after a strong run in the recent Mt Buffalo Stampede.
Former winner Ben Derrick (2000) is in good form after placing fourth at Beechworth, while perennial top 10 finisher Aaron Knight, from Mt Beauty, and evergreen veteran Terry Burgess should also be prominent.
In the women’s race, former winners Nadine Barnes and Cara Peake will be challenged by the return of two-time Nail Can Hill champion Ellie O’Kane, who, on recent form, will prove very hard to beat.
Trail running specialist Michelle Forrer, from Mt Beauty, is fresh off a win at Bright’s 14-kilometre Trail Run, and, while she may not match the other favourites for speed on the flat, she will relish the hills and technical sections of Nail Can Hill.
There are also plenty of teams taking part.
Among them, the RSM Bird Cameron Warriors have a team of 40, up from a “handful” of eager staff last year.
“We have been getting together regularly in the lead-up to the event to train and see it as a great opportunity to have a fun, healthy day out,” senior manager Vicki Kirby said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.