And so the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Series for 2021 draws to a close, with remarkably all 5 races – from April to July – taking place as scheduled. The “Gungahlin Gallop”, as the finale, is the longest and most demanding of all the routes of the Series, and therefore perhaps also the most rewarding.
The 6th running of this event, staged from the historical Hall Showgrounds, did not disappoint.
Despite a fair soaking in recent weeks, the course was not as muddy or slippery as might have been expected, with most runners returning from their outing with legs bespattered, rather than besmeared top to toe in mud. Midwinter sunshine was celebrated for whole minutes at a time, by runners along the ridge and supporters huddled around the finish area at the Showground.
The marquee 31km race saw stirling outright wins from an impressive Ellen Bradley (2:48:37) and Jonathan Fearn (2:19:12). Yet the headline performances of the day came in the 50-59 age group for both the Female and Male races. Fleur Flanery celebrated a return to racing with a searing new F50-59 record of 2:53:26 (and 2nd overall); while Andrew Tully continued the phenomenal form which has seen him as the outstanding performer of the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Series for 2021, with a fine new M50-59 course record of 2:28:51. Aaron Smith shadowed Jonathan Fearn in the men’s race, to place 2nd with a rewarding 2:19:58, with Tom Banks claiming 3rd in 2:21:14; while strong runs from Bernie Connors (3:02:04) and Susan Marshall (3:04:06) populated the podium in the women’s long race. Kym Kennedy took 2nd in the F50-59 with her 3:23:01, from 3rd placed Sarah Fien in 3:30:41; while Wayne Strudwick was runner-up in the M50-59 with 2:42:46, from Stephen Graham’s 3:07:36. Michael Sullivan was fastest in the M60-69 with a solid 3:10:24, from Trevor Jacobs’ 3:30:31 and Paul Newall who pushed hard around the oval lap to break the 4 hour barrier and earn 3:59:52.
The men’s 10km race saw records fall in the Open and 50-59 categories. The flying Daniel Carson eclipsed all previous times over the uphill-downhill challenge with his stellar 40:22. Adrian Sheppard ran 5th outright in breasting the tape with a new M50-59 best time of 44:54. Brynn Berg claimed 2nd in the Male Under 50 with 41:13, with Ryan Hawkins in 3rd (44:06); while Thor Diesendorf took out 2nd in the M50-59 with 48:05, from Paul Wood clocking 53:09. David Jarvis was fastest in the M60-69 to win in 1:03:15, from Nicolas Bendeli (1:13:35) and John Harding (2:03:41); while Jim White continued his excellent form to take out the M70+ with a 1:09:47. The women’s 10km race was won by Matilda Stevenson in 49:26, from a fast-finishing Monique Andrea (50:02), ahead of Keira Banks in 52:00. The F50-59 was again won by Nicole Havranek, another consistent star of this series, in 1:03:46, from Sarah Boyd (1:08:00) and Alison Alexander (1:16:30); while Alli Clark claimed the premier prize among the F60-69 in 1:10:26 from 2nd placed Carol Harding (1:10:53) and Jennifer Sullivan (1:16:48). Julie Bell took out the F70+ cohort, completing the course in 1:33:56.
Aren Paff won the 2.2km shorter race from the Boys Under 13 category in 11:11, just ahead of Liam White (11:13) from the Male 17 and Over (a new age group record), and Jame Gao (11:49), then Helmi El Roubi (12:10). The top 3 Under 13 Girls finished ahead of all of the 17 and Over Female contestants, with Emily Huynh taking the main prize in 13:24, from Jocelyn El Roubi (13:58) and Hanalei Reid-Bridges (16:58). The F17+ was won in 17:10 by Melissa Radford.
Gratitude to all involved in the staging of this successful, challenging and most enjoyable Series :-)