The sense that it might turn out to be a special day today was confirmed during the set-up at Hall Showgrounds when, during a slight lifting of the fog, a “cloud bow” loomed over the field. Never seen one? Look it up – also known as a fogbow or ghost rainbow… (see pics in the event photo album).
One moment, we were swathed in fog, then as soon as the ghost rainbow raised its magic wand, the remainder of the event bathed in bright sunshine. The races were all super-fast up front, with several course records tumbling faster than the descent from One Tree Hill.
Saleena Ramboer has been the star of the shorter races all season – from the Girls Under 13 category, Saleena won 4 of the 5 races OUTRIGHT (in the Ainslie Amble, she placed second outright), and smashed her age category record also in 4 of the 5 events. Saleena again showed a clean pair of heels to the field today, winning (and setting another record) in 9:42.
Next home in the 2.2km race was Boys Under 13 winner, Noah Grey in 11:14, from Male 17 and Over winner Rohan Tankey with 11:24. Then there was a close finish for 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the Boys Under 13 between Thomas Jowitt (11:48) and James MacFarlane (11:50), with Liam Whitehead right behind in 11:51. Samantha Ramboer was next fastest behind her sister in the Girls Under 13 with 12:11, ahead of Madeline Gloede in 12:47; while Sian Jowitt took 1st place in the Female 17 and Over with 17:13.
15-year-old Kodi Clarkson was shadowed for the entire 10km run up One Tree Hill and return, by 14-year-old Patrick Clark from Warri, the two young guns both beating the old course record, their blistering 39:32 (for Kodi) and 39:46 (for Patrick) the first times the 40-minute barrier has ever been beaten on this daunting course. They commanded a full 4 minute lead on 3rd placed Kieran Wilson’s 43:57. Sarah King ran strongly to claim 1st prize in the women’s 10km with 49:31, from Laura Ramboer (yes, she is Saleena and Samantha’s mum) in 50:20 and Lacey Wilson in 51:46.
In a fast M50-59 field, Bruce Jenkins took the honours in 49:08, from Andrew Dempster’s 50:15 and Steve Richardson with 50:57. Sam Reinhardt won the F50-59 with a fine run of 56:23, though not far ahead of Kim Kennedy in 56:55 ahead of Cindy Raikabula with 1:11:07. Elizabeth Simpson continued her dominant season in narrowly missing her own course record from 3 years ago in the F60-69 with 59:30, from Razz Wilkins with 1:11:15 and Mira Dumancic’s 1:20:29. Across in the M60-69, Kim Houghton showed he is well and truly back on track to cross the line first with 56:02, ahead of John Woollard’s 56:45, and Colin Thomson in 1:03:11. Trevor Jacobs meanwhile, in the Male 70 and Over, set another course record to add to his still-standing record in the M60-69 in the same event, this time breaking the one-hour mark, running 58:31 to take the category from David Baussmann with 1:11:06, and John Harding’s all-walked 2:12:34.
The 31km course is tougher than it looks. Every year, this one yields multiple “never again!”s at the finish line – yet somehow, they keep returning for another crack. Because it is, after all, a lovely trail and we do love a challenge, don’t we?
The field was led strongly from the front, with both women’s and men’s course records surrendering to the pace. Marnie Ponton was in her own class in the women’s race, searing a new record time of 2:35:01 and placing 11th overall. Next home for the women were Allie Corripio in 2:48:15 and 3rd placed Jordan Anderson with 2:54:48. In the men’s race, Daniel Carson looked almost effortless in slicing 5 minutes off the existing record with his master-class 2:08:33. Max Taylor (2:12:23) also dipped under the old record; while 3rd placed Alex Dreyer’s 2:14:24 would have been the 2nd fastest time ever, just last year.
Andrew Leigh MP, Federal Member for Fenner, ran a quick patrol along the northern border of his electorate, to win the M50-59 in an impressive 2:49:57, ahead of Wayne Strudwick’s 2:59:50 and Hayden Price’s 3:24:51. In the F50-59, Nicole Siddon took the main prize with 3:28:41, from 2nd placed Anita Scherrer in 3:31:45, with Debbie Maher filling the 3rd spot in 3:45:41.
Pam Muston, of Kowen Forest trail running fame, meanwhile broke another of her own records (set 3 years earlier) in the F60-69 with an amazing 3:21:28, from Julia Mitchell with 4:00:39, ahead of Jane Hutt in 4:02:14. Over on the males side, Mark Duncanson was the first M60-69 ever to run under 3 hours, setting a focussed and fantastic new best time of 2:56:52, winning from Craig Wisdom (3:12:49) and Rodney Smith (3:20:24).
THE SERIES POINTSCORE CHAMPIONSHIP
Having been scheduled in 2020, and then 2021, and then 2022, this was the first year of the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Pointscore Championship, with today’s Series Finale, proving decisive in several categories. Trophies were presented to the top 3 placed runners in each age group – Under 50, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and Over.
With equal points awarded in both the middle and long distance races for the top 10 placings (from 10 points for 1st, down to 1 point for 10th) at each event, the pointscore competition proved a tactical challenge, with runners gauging their personal strengths against the relative depth of field participating in each distance. Some opted to run only middle or only longer distance races for the whole season, while others chopped and changed according to which distance might give them an advantage on a given day.
MALE 70 AND OVER – Long Live the King! Trevor Jacobs was superlative, not only winning every race of the Series for a maximum 50 possible points – he also set a new course record in every race! Now that there is a Series point score, perhaps all times across a Series could also be tallied up for a Series course record? 2nd place in this category went to John Harding, with 42 points. Formerly one of Canberra’s best marathon runners, John is now the quintessential tortoise, walking every single event and taking thousands of photos of runners en route. Peter Badowski only participated in 2 races, winning them both, but not meeting the minimum requirement of 3 races to qualify for a Series award.
FEMALE 70 AND OVER – with no Females 70 and Over participating in the minimum of 3 races to qualify for a Series award, we hope that Bobby Aberbethy, Julie Bell and Maria White, who all participated in the “Ainslie Amble”, will be inspired to join more events next year.
MALE 60-69 – after the penultimate “Tuggeranong Trot”, Jon Schol and Mark Duncanson were locked on 37 points apiece, and with both lining up for the 31km today, the Championship became a match race. Jon took off like a bullet but Mark had a plan and ran a superbly controlled race to claim a fantastic course record and convincingly claim the overall prize with 47 points, with Jon settling for 2nd in the Series from 44 points. The consistent John Wollard took 3rd with 37 points. All 3 winners completed all 5 of the races in the Series. Honourable mention to Kim Houghton, who missed 2 races mid-Series following an horrific encounter with an e-scooter, but came back to win his final 2 outings in the middle distance, finishing with 28 points from 3 starts.
FEMALE 60-69 – Long Live the Queen! Elizabeth Simpson scored a perfect 50 points from 5 races, winning every middle distance of the Series. Perhaps the only reason Elizabeth didn’t match Trevor Jacob’s amazing feat of breaking every course record was that she already holds most of them from previous outings! 2nd place in the Championship goes to another sensational Queen of the sport, Pam Muston, who won all 4 long distance races that she contested, to take 40 points from 4 starts. While Judith Bibo and Razz Wilkins both finished with 34 points, the fine print revealed Judith to be the winner of 3rd place as she had participated in all 5 races. Canberra is certainly blessed with some amazing role models among our female runners of all ages.
MALE 50-59 – this category was dominated by middle distance runners, Andrew Dempster finely matched with Bruce Jenkins, trading places throughout the Series. Bruce won the 1st race and the last, but it was Andrew’s fine form through the middle of the Series, winning 3 races on the trot (including The Trot), to take the Championship with 48 points (from a possible 50) to Bruce’s 46. 3rd placing fell to the consistent Paul Wood, who just pipped Hayden Price by one point – 39 to 38.
FEMALE 50-59 – Kym Kennedy was superb, motoring with one win and 5 second placings gaining her 46 points across the Series from a possible 50. 2nd placed Leanne Haughton, with 30 points, again proved the value of participating in every race (Kym and Leanne were the only 2 runners in this category to present at all 5 starts), while 3rd spot was taken by Alanna Grant with 28 points from 4 races.
MALE UNDER 50 – the youngster men’s category featured a constant tussle between long and middle distance, with 1st and 3rd going to seasoned long distance runners, while 2nd and 4th places were taken by middle distance teenagers. Only 3 points separated the top 4 placings – 41, 40, 39, 38… Scott Cummins proved the ultimate “Mr Consistency” by taking this most competitive category despite winning only one race of the Series – his 41 points coming from one 1st place, one 2nd, two 3rds and one 5th place (today). The most eye-catching running of the Series came from 2nd-placed Kodi Clarkson, who not only won all 4 races he entered (all middle distance) – he also set a new course record in every single event, portending a very bright future indeed. Rowan Lewis proved another super-consistent performer, his 39 points for 3rd in the Series, accruing from two 2nd placings and three 4ths. A special mention also to Xavier Quispes, who was leading the Series after 4 races, but took ill the day before this final race and almost didn’t make it to the start line. After one win and three 2nd placings, the punishing One Tree Hill saw Xavier slip back to a brave 10th placing today, to finish just one point away from a deserved Series trophy.
FEMALE UNDER 50 – unlike the men’s table which saw the long and middle distances equally represented, the Women Under 50’s final placings were dominated by middle distance runners in part because their participation rate was higher than the best female long distance performers. The top placings could not have been closer. With Sarah King winning the final round today, Laura Ramboer had to come second to secure her overall Series win, and that’s exactly where she finished, to take the Series win by one point, 43 to Sarah’s 42 points, both women running superbly in all conditions, all Series. Lacey Wilson, travelling for each of the 5 races from East Jindabyne, took the final podium placing with 39 points, coming from two 2rd placings, two 3rds and one 6th.
Our appreciation and thanks to all volunteers, medical staff, to Martin Flyer and his timing assistants, to officials from ACT Government, to My Rainbow-Dreams café for catering and most especially, to all runners who took part across another fantastic Series in 2023.