We love following trails. There is something deep within us that is drawn to trails of any type – roads, clues, threads, paths, plot lines, beliefs, breadcrumbs – following the allure of promise that each trail entails, the sense of progress, movement, journey, adventure, discovery towards a better, brighter destination. We dream of trails; some dreams ARE trails. We belong on trails.
The 3rd and final instalment of the 2017 Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Series – the “Gungahlin Gallop” – was held on Sunday 30 July from the Hall Showgrounds, following the purpose-built Centenary Trail out-and-back to the summit of One Tree Hill (the turnaround point for the 10km course) and beyond along the ACT/NSW northern border as far as Oak Hill, overlooking Gungahlin’s newer suburbs of Casey, Jacka and Forde, before the 30km course returned along the same route.
Only in its second staging, it’s not surprising that several course records fell, especially considering the conditions were dry and fast compared with last year’s wet and muddy morass.
The 30km race saw records tumble in all of the Female divisions, starting with a superb race from 20-year-old student Sasha Lee, whose outstanding 2:43:52 placed her 13th overall. Laura Lewis was next home in 2:50:56, from 3rd placed Kate Chipperfield’s 3:01:59. Kim Greaves set a few fastest time for the Female 50-59 of 3:36:49; while the impressive Jennifer Kellett established an enviable time to beat for the Female 60-69 of 4:11:08.
Daniel Oehm drew away from his competitors in the Men’s race to take out the Male Under 50 in 2:18:03; from Sam Burridge’s 2:21:17 and 3rd placed Jack Brand with 2:25:12. Wagga’s Geoff Breese continued his fine form to take the Male 50-59 with 2:49:14; with Peter Badowski winning the Male 60-69 in 3:41:46.
Jack Bigmore was a comfortable winner of the Men’s 10km race in an impressive 43:41, from David Simpfendorfer’s 44:47 and 3rd placed Steve Adams with 47:01. The higher age groups in the men’s race saw records tumbling in all directions. One of the closest races of the day came in the Male 50-59 10km race, where Kim Houghton continued his purple patch of record-breaking form to take the race in a new best time of 50:01 from a fast-finishing Jon Schol (50:15) and flying Frenchman, Christian Dussault (50:24). David Alder set a new record for the Male 60-69 with his fine run of 52:48; while Terry Dixon set a new best time for the Male 70 and Over of 1:05:10 on this challenging course.
With most of the race out of sight to spectators, the great advantage of concluding with a lap of the oval at Hall Showgrounds is that we all get to witness the closing, definitive stages of the contest. This enabled everyone to witness another thrilling finish in the Women’s 10km. Hard on the heels of the lead men, there followed a stream of 4 women entering the arena all vying for the podium. Kate Elphick led into the final lap and despite a concerted push from those behind, she was not for relinquishing her lead. Kate took the race in 53:17 from Carol Lander’s 2nd placed 53:27; Goulburn’s Jacqui Oberg with 53:36; and 4th placed Belinda Allison in 53:52. Karen Daniels continued her stellar form shown throughout this series to take the Female 50-59 in 1:02:51; while Lorraine Allen established a new record for the Female 60-69 of 1:18:11.
The Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Series has been well received for the second year in a row, with runners, organisers and authorities all pleased with the events. The Series is slated to return to the same venues again in 2018, with the addition of a third, shorter distance race at each of the 3 events (in the 2km to 3km range), to cater for the participation of more children and novice runners.