A record field braved Canberra's coldest morning of the year to venture forth to Telopea Park for the annual Sri Chinmoy Half-Marathon, 5 mile and 2 mile race trio. 80 runners completed the Half-Marathon, with a similar number finishing the 5 mile and 2 mile races combined.
Despite the frosty dawn, it didn't take long for the sun to appear in earnest which combined nicely with the effects of the first few laps around the park to warm both limbs and spirits.
Half-Marathoners hit their straps at 9 am, and soon had the course humming with their lively chorus of breaths and footfalls. Quiet determination pervaded the air as lap after lap surrendered to the combined will of measured strides.
The later-rising 5 & 2-mile runners joined the fray at 10 am, merging with the already well-established circle of runners striving for their personal goals.
Joshua Torley emerged first into the finisher's chute, a bright 11:20 2-mile time earning the Under 13-year old first place outright in the shorter race. Next in 12:02 was Florian Rosenberg, first Male 17 and Over, followed by Simon Rohan-Jones, winner of the Boys Under 17 in 12:22.
Hot on their heels was Girls Under 13 winner, the sprightly Olivia Fogarty, first outright in the women's field with her excellent 12:46, ahead of first-placed Girls Under 17, Alana Hurnen in 14:50 and winner of the Female 17 and Over, Kylie Wake in 15:37.
The outstanding run of the day came in the Sri Chinmoy 5 mile race, where Natasha Cole â recently moved to Canberra from Sydney and recovering from many months out of the sport with injury â placed second outright with her superb 29:45. Natalie Archer (31:24) and Jane Zeller (33:12) rounded out the podium placings in the women's race, while Peta Miller took the Women 50-59 category in 48:48.
Ben Wisbey (29:08) was the only male ahead of Natasha, though Steve Rohan-Jones, (29:51) Ian Dias (30:17) and Keith Cassilles-Southgate (30:26) were not far adrift. Gordon Waddington arrived late for the start of the Half-Marathon so switched down to the 5-miler, where he took first place in the Men 50-59 with his 38:31. Meanwhile Paul Archer in 35:03 had led home a quality field in the Men 60-69 category.
Jodie Barker ran a beautifully controlled race to take the Women's Half-Marathon in 1:27:05, from Lizzie Wraith (1:32:23), Nina van Rij (1:36:33) and Kylie Mildren (1:36:36). Denise Driscoll was first in the Women 50-59 with 1:49:55, while Susan Archer showed her true stellar quality in the Women 60-69 category by running 1:37:15.
Regular competitor in this event for many years, Greg Regester clocked his first win in the race with 1:22:17, leading home Luke Schofield (1:23:49), Lance Purdon (1:24:31) and Rodney Foster (1:24:51). Geoff Hawke ran a strong race to place second outright, comfortably winning the Men 50-59 in 1:23:23, while Graham Burke also performed well in the Men 60-69 with 1:35:44. Veterans Lachlan Lewis (2:29:23, Men 70+) and Rad Leovic (2:44:01, Men 80+) may have been among the last to finish, but both received some of the loudest and most heartfelt cheers for the sheer inspiration they offer to all aspiring athletes.
Full results by age category, including one-mile split times for all 3 races, are now published, along with a photo album from the morning.