Sri Chinmoy 24-hour, 12-hour and 6-hour races, Campbelltown Sports Stadium Athletics Track, 8 & 9 July, 2017
The Sri Chinmoy 24 hour race has been a fixture on the Australian Ultra Running calendar since the early 80s. Without fail, every single edition of this event has been memorable for the heroism and glowing inspiration of the many types of runner – noble athlete-warriors, philosophers, poets, battlers, explorers, adventurers, dreamers, angels and sheer sloggers – who have graced the track with their stupendous self-giving deeds.
2017 was a another wonderful addition to the tradition.
24 hour race
In the women’s 24 hour race, Cheryl Symons offered a master class in the value of endurance and persistence. Initially, Annabel Hepworth had led the women with her sprightly clip; once Annabel “pulled the plug” after 100km, Jade Crime inherited the lead. Yet through the small hours of the night it was Cheryl who was to bring her stamina to the fore and finally prevail with an impressive 165+ km. It was over 22 hours before Cheryl took the race lead. Jade took the 2nd placing with 100 miles – 161.2km; while Tracy Turner filled out the podium spots with 145.7km. Tracey Hind came in 4th by completing a shade over 133km; while evergreen Joy Walden won the Female 50-59 division with 111.4km.
Among many fine performances, Stephen Redfern’s was judged by many to be the standout run of the race. Winning one of Australia’s premier 24 hour races only 4 years after taking up running, is a phenomenal achievement. After completing a mighty impressive 196km to take 2nd place at this event last year, Stephen’s maturity, grace and composure were notable signs of his rapidly ascending curve of improvement, which saw him rewarded with a huge Personal Best of 220.4km and the Male Champion’s Trophy. All, both on and off the track, were inspired by Stephen’s attitude, drive and energy throughout the 24 hours.
Next home for the men was our German visitor from Bangkok, Karsten Schiemann, whose dogged determination saw a fine result with 206.6km. Regular participant in the Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour race, Chris Toyne ran another superb race to take 3rd place with 181.5km, from Robert Philpott’s consistent and calm 176.7km.
First among the Male 50-59 and 5th among all the men was the remarkable Anyce Kip Melham, completing over 100 miles (161.6km) in tallying no less than his 30th Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race – having raced this event over 4 decades in Adelaide, Brisbane and Blacktown prior to its present incarnation in Campbelltown. An athlete who runs totally from his heart, Anyce carries a deep radiance of love and oneness, his very presence bringing together the community of every race in which he participates. Dean Metcalf was not far behind Anyce with 156.7km to take 5th Male Under 50, ahead of Sean Smith’s and Arthur Sargeant’s 153.9km (6th and 7th respectively). Canberra’s Colin Wiley (133.6km) would take 2nd in the Male 50-59; Philip Balnave 3rd with 123.6km; Tony Wilms 4th with 120.4km; and Peter Tutty finishing 5th with 75.2km.
Kieron Blackmore, reigning in his tendency for speed through much of the race, brought home the Male 60-69 with exactly 120km from Robert Osbourne (113.8km), Louis Commins (110km) and Victor Correa (84.4km). The Male Under 50 were completed by the popular Eddy Oba with 116.9km; Steve Domonkos with 115.6km; Kurt Topper’s 107.8km; Hamish Knox who covered 89.2km; and Andrew Meagher completing 88km.
12 hour race
A full moon unobstructed by a single cloud shone bright throughout the night, gazing over proceedings like a benign and approving deity, flooding the arena with a silver serenity.
It is rare that a race is won outright by someone in the 60-69 category. Perhaps rarer still that an open race is won by one walking the whole way. Almost unheard of is it that both feats would be accomplished in the same event, yet that is exactly what veteran walker John Kilmartin achieved in the Sri Chinmoy 12 Hour Race, with his outstanding 1st placing of 84.3km.
The next placing was also remarkable: Lib Smith, competing in the Female 50-59 not only beat all the other women home, but also all the (running) men of the field with her 78.2km! Nova Gallagher came in after Lib, winning the Female Under 50 with 76.2km.
Sarankhuu Jargal, visiting from Mongolia, was first of the Male Under 50, clocking 61.2km to run the furthest he has ever run in a race. Martin Pluss took out the Male 50-59 with 42.4km.
6 hour race
A decent field of 21 runners tackled the “short” race of 6 hours, with a wide spectrum of purposes, aims and goals. While it was the briefest of the 3 events staged over the weekend, this one certainly upset the record books!
Gene Dykes from Pennsylvania, USA dominated the first stanza of the race as he flew about the track in pursuit of several age records. In the process Gene successfully collected no less than 7 consecutive USATF Masters Track records: for 15km, 10 miles, 20km, 25km, 2 hours, 30km and 20 miles for the M65-69 age group. Congratulations Gene on your outstanding run!
John Nuttall smashed the existing 6 hour Australian National M65 record by about 10km with his superb outing of 65.491km. Larissa Tichon also triumphed in her quest to break the W25 Australian 6 hour record by completing 66.149km.
Ryan Gooding defended his title, narrowly missing his distance from last year with 68.5km this time around, looking as good as ever. Next home were the record-breaking Larissa Tichon and John Nuttall. Following them was Geoff Barnes, winning the Male 50-59 with 63.2km from Masa Chiba’s 60.9km. Rod Rainey took out the Male 70 and Over with his 49.8km; and Belinda Lockwood the Female 50-59 with 47.04km.
Our deep and flowing gratitude to Billy Pearce who offered medical support with heart throughout the 24 hours; and to Martin Fryer and his assistant Tom of Flyer Ultra timing services for their consummate timing and results service.
Mighty congratulations to every entrant, every finisher and every supporter of this wonderful event!