Sri Chinmoy Mara-Fun Relays, Centennial Park, Sydney, Sunday 21 October 2018
For those who follow omens and auguries, the signs did not portend well: a stupendous thunderstorm descended upon Sydney the prior evening, while heavy rain was predicted throughout the morning of the race with 95% certainty. In the end, despite some testing wind squalls, not a single drop fell from the skies, which even turned blue in time for the later finishers. Runners enjoyed the cool conditions, though the unavoidable puddles were an inconvenience.
To run a marathon is one of life’s great accomplishments; to complete this famous distance in relay with a team of family or friends is also a special and rare experience. 50 solo runners and 40 relay teams were undaunted by the contrary weather forecast, to front the starting line at 7am alongside McKay Sportsground to run a succession of 4km loops exploring some of Centennial Park’s picturesque ponds and fields.
Being an inaugural event, the winners of all categories today automatically become course record holders – congratulations to you all! Individual lap times are also included in official records, with the exception of the first short (2.2km) lap.
Jody Wall would have been grateful for the company of the relay teams today, as otherwise he would have been running alone for most of the marathon, winning the men’s race comfortably in the excellent time on this challenging, puddle-a-plenty course, of 2:50:22. Oliver Carey was next home in 3:20:41, just edging out Male 50-59 winner Kevin Heaton by a second, in 3:20:42. Victor Correa led home the Male 60-69 with a fine and consistent 3:25:01.
In the women’s solo marathon, the exceptional and prolific Annabel Hepworth justified her decision to submit a late entry, winning in 4:06:47; while the ever-green Jane Trumper took out the Female 50-59 in 4:26:08. All participants ran with cheerful spirit as a positive, uplifting mood pervaded the race from start to end.
The “Nags from CT’s Stable” (Mark Higgs, Chris Truscott, Jack Maxwell and Christopher Strom) shot out of the gates from the start and never looked back, leading all the way to take out the All-Male and Overall Teams title in an impressive 2:24:48, from “Marafun Amigos” (Rowan Gibson, Tim Mathas, Mark Gater and Luke Johnson) in 2:43:18, who only just snuck home ahead of the fast-finishing All-Female ensemble of “HURTs Girls” (Greta Truscott, Ruth Wilde and Sonya Van Beek) who recorded a wonderful 2:45:22. Winning the Mixed Team category were the colourful Japanese-themed “Sydney Shinkansen” (Andrew Birdsall, Masanori Chiba, Misato Komatsu and Kaori Hirakawa) with 2:58:27.
Winners of the All-Male Team All Over 60 was “Jack Gillooly Harriers 250s” (Marc Jarman, Rob Ellis, David Iverarch and Richard Halliwell) in 3:25:14; “BlueBel and Duchy Returns” (Belinda Lockwood, Clare Holland and Anne Boyd) took out the All-Female Team All Over 50 in 4:19:25; and “SP Runners” (Barbara Hemingway, Jim Turner and Natalie Smith) were victorious in the Mixed Team All Over 50 with 3:34:50, as well as taking out the fastest lap times for both Male and Female runners Over 50.
A huge thank you to all helpers and volunteers, with a special vote for Kieron Blackmore and Eddy Oba, whose enthusiasm and oneness with all the runners of all standards was an inspiration to us all.