Our journey’s dawn prefigures our journey’s close. We set out with high hopes and promise, circle around in one wide yearning, daring arc, and end up at our starting point. Like a yoyo, no matter how far afield we venture, our beginning draws us inexorably back to its clasp. We emerge from darkness, flare awhile, and return into the gloom. We finish where we began – or, do we begin where we finish? Is the beginning already an ending, and the goal yet another beginning?
From whence the sun rose on Sunday morning, striding to greet the runners’ start, so in fading sunlight, from the same quadrant on Sunday evening, the moon bestrode aglow to bathe tiring runners’ aching efforts in moonshine.
And so, one might ask: “What was that all about?”
Well, in between this particular sunrise and moonrise, quite a few lives were changed for good: changed through the pursuit of soaring dreams, faithful feet following glowing hearts, fuelled by courage, sustained by oceanic willpower. Victory was attained not by words, but deeds; not by speaking but by striding, inexorably to the goal. So, though we may have ended the day where we began it, we were not the same – we were the better for this day, thanks to the heroes who lifted us all through their superlative efforts. So shall we attain a better world.
Old-timers have never seen Canberra so awash with slosh. Two years of record-breaking rain has raised the water table, leaving nowhere for fresh falls to escape, crafting new rivulets, trickling marshes and settling quagmires. Usually, runners are greeted in Canberra by ubiquitous birdsong: today, they were cheered from all sides by exuberantly chorusing frogs.
Every solo runner deserves a paean in their honour, yet here we have selected just a few:
– Pam Muston is officially the Queen of this event. She is now the only person to have completed every edition since its inception in 2013. Pam has won the female race outright, and holds the course records for F50-59 and F60-69. A fountain of encouragement, care and inspiration for all runners, her unwavering energy and enthusiasm – her sheer love of running – make Pam a beacon to all. Her 4th placing (and 1st F60-69) 13:26:04 is testimony to her outstanding fitness, peerless endurance and perfect attitude.
– David Campbell, though a seasoned runner, made his first trip to this race to try it out this year, and certainly left an impression, carving 4 hours off the M60-69 course record with his outstanding 12:56:17. En route he set new records for each of the 4 legs of the race, setting a whole new standard for aspiring older runners (yet even then, only half an hour ahead of Pam!)
– Andrew Tully has dominated the M50-59 category in the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Series races for the past few years, winning everything and breaking course records all over the place. Yet his longest ever race was a marathon – so to even consider stepping up to 100km was either impressive daring or sheer foolhardy. Setting new M50-59 records for each of the first 3 legs, reality caught up with Andrew in the final leg yet he hung in bravely, to set a new best time for this category of 11:47:47.
– Many runners lead busy lives, yet probably none more so than Dr Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fenner and Assistant Finance Minister in a relatively new government. It is one thing to squeeze in the odd 5km run during a break, but to train for a gruelling 100km trail run is something else. Having “pulled the plug” at 55km in his first attempt here 2 years ago, Andrew had unfinished business – which he accomplished with aplomb, finishing just adrift of Andrew Tully in the M50-59 with 11:55:25 – also under the previous course record time, and including a new best time for the final leg.
– Canadian Joelle Vandenborre surprised herself at her first foray at this event, to win the women’s race in an impressive and tenacious 11:49:03. Joelle ran down the early leader, Lindsay Hamilton (11:57:12), and held off Australian 24 hour rep, Alicia Heron, who took 3rd placing with 12:02:34.
– It would be fair to say that Dean Robinson did not start out as a pre-race favourite, having never run further than his first marathon (in April this year), and not knowing anything about Canberra’s terrain. Not being aware of the challenges of the course or the distance, Dean ran from the front without fear or concern, to take line honours in a mightily impressive 100km debut of 9:55:45. We might not have heard of Dean before this – but we surely will see and hear much more from him in future!
The 1st All-Male Team was “808 Redemption” (Jacob Grooby, Jack Brand, Alan Craigie and Alex Dreyer), who led all the way to set the best time on course today of 7:49:54. The next 4 teams home were all Mixed Teams – led by “Charlie’s Angels” (Charlie Doherty, Mohak Garg, Sophia Stevens and Lachlan Jones) in 8:19:31, closely followed home by “Windlabbers” (Andrew Lake, Ryan Leonard, Mike Carroll and Melissa Clarke) in 8:22:28, with an even narrower gap to 3rd placed “Healthy & Carefully Ageing” (Travis Haslam, Jasen Higuchi, Glenn Paterson & Fan Xiang) in 8:23:32.
Next fastest All-Male team was “Troopers” (Hamish McConville, Ryan Hawkins, Kieren McConville & Ian McConville) in 8:47:07, from 3rd placed “Sparrow Roosters” (Jacob Mugavin, Pat Lucas, Jason Agostino & Dan Miller) with 8:52:47.
The swiftest All-Female Team was “running LATE” (Tara Melhiush, Alex Grant, Elizabeth Humphries and Louise Sharp) who spectacularly failed to live up to their name, crossing the line in 9:04:24. 2nd placed was “Girl Gang” (Cassie Cohen, Jordan Anderson, Eleanor Boxall & Monique Andrea) in 9:55:30; with “Elevate Power Plants” (Jodie Clews, Linda Edstrom, Su-Ann Tan Burke & Sarah Gill) rounding out the podium finishing teams in 11:17:52. A special shout out to the eager folks from “Elevate”, who entered the most teams in this year’s race of any group!
Individual female team leg records fell in the 2nd leg to Petra Mossop (2:08:21) and in the final leg to the flying Louise Sharp (1:58:51).
Our sincere gratitude flows to the many, many helpers whose selfless efforts in concert form the cradle of care and concern that allows this race to happen. Canberra provides the outer landscape; our helpers and volunteers the inner heartscape. Congratulations to one and all!