Marnie Ponton knows how to make an entrance.
The Glenbrook runner made her Six Foot Track Marathon debut on Saturday and was the first woman across the finish line.
The 32-year-old completed the 45km race in 3 hours 50 minutes 22 seconds, 16 minutes behind the female course record set by Hanny Allston in 2015.
“I’m very happy,” Ponton told the Gazette. “It was tough.”
Finishing 17th overall, in a race won by Vlad Shatrov of Newcastle in 3:15:44, Ponton exchanged the lead with third placegetter Steph Auston from 16km to 30km.
“The longest run I’d done in training was 36.5km,” Ponton said.
“I kept it controlled. The last 7.5km I just kept it even and tried to keep the pressure on.
“Every aid station I’d grab a cup of water and have a few sips so the cumulative effect was a cup of water.”
Grabbing water on the go at each of the 17 aid stations, she introducing a sip of Coke from the 33km mark, supplemented by energy gels throughout the event.
Ponton is trained by Brendan Davies, who placed sixth in 3:33:59. Other locals to finish up the front included Loughlinn Kennedy of Blackheath at 10th in 3:40:17 and Andrew Lee of Warrimoo at 18th in 3:51:32.
Ponton’s next race is the Gold Coast Airport Marathon on July 2. She’s keen to race road in addition to trail, to keep her speed up.