The Sri Chinmoy 24 Hour Race was held at the Athletics Centre, at QE2 Stadium, Nathan, Brisbane, commencing at 9am on Saturday June 18th and finishing at 9am on Sunday June 19th. The event also included a twelve hour and a six hour race.
The wonderful facilities of the new venue coupled with the perfectly mild Brisbane winter weather provided the perfect setting for the event. It was marvelous to see 32 competitors toeing the start line across the three races. Athletes and helpers alike journeyed from across the nation to take part.
The event was magnificent. Its grandeur and scope are exceedingly difficult to capture in a few paragraphs for an ultra event is perhaps something best experienced rather than described. It is difficult to grasp the enormity of the distances covered and the magnitude of the heroic determination; these are often conveyed more convincingly through the starkly poignant trackside realities; the blisters, cramps, nausea, exhaustion, the elation, joy and jubilation, and above all the intrepid determination that carries each runner through the long hours of the night towards a remarkable goal.
The first placed male in the 24 hour event was Trevor Allen who, with characteristic cheerfulness and easy-going disposition, broke the magical 200km barrier with a final distance of 200.405km. Not far behind was Mike Canty with 193.568km. We stand in awe of their superb efforts.
Sharon Scholz was the first placed female athlete with a distance of 163.156 km. An impressive distance, but more so when you consider that, due to a niggling injury from the World Championships only five weeks earlier, she stopped running at around the 16 hour mark. Sharon is a wonder to behold on the track; metronomic cadence, indomitable will power, ultra-efficient gait and unfailing humility and sincerity. During the course of the event she added two records to her already impressive collection, breaking the previous marks for Australian female open for 100 miles (15:57.37) and 12 hours (131.31km). We salute her heroic efforts.
The first placed male in the twelve hour race was John Pearson who covered a whopping 128.379 km. First placed female was Carol Sullivan who covered 92.232km, not bad considering she completed the Comrades Ultra Marathon only a few weeks earlier. In the six hour race Gregory Truloff covered 67.798km to claim first male and first overall, whilst Kerrie Bremner was not far behind with an impressive 63.645km, enough to claim first placed female and second place overall.
Individual heroics aside, the event was characterised by a wonderful feeling of oneness and self-transcendence. The efforts of each and every individual were applauded and appreciated in a unifying proclamation of the tremendous spirit of the ultra running community. All through the long hours of the day and night the feeling both on the track and in the lap counting tent was tremendously inspiring. The suffering of the athletes was at times clear to see, yet amidst their trials and tribulations they were still able to muster a smile for the lap counters and gentle words of encouragement for their fellow competitors.
We salute and congratulate each athlete who participated in the event. You are true hero-warriors of the running world. May we all draw upon your examples of dedication and perseverance to become not only better runners, but also better human beings. We also offer our most heartfelt thanks to all the helpers and supporters, many of whom were kind enough to lend a hand in the lap counting tent. I think it is fair to say that the event was a great success for all involved. See you next year!