There’s always a positive side, and it’s so much more enriching than its counterpart. Having to go without racing for some time – and with many in Australia and elsewhere still not able to participate – has made us all appreciate how lucky we are to enjoy such a blessing. When conditions at a race are tough – cold, hot, hills, wind, rain, mud, dust – organisers (who are usually enduring the same challenges) hear a good amount of grumbling. Yet today – despite an unremitting wind never departing the course for a moment – we heard nothing from anyone but flowing appreciation and glowing gratitude. So thank YOU to all who participated in such good spirits, determined to make the most of the occasion, for it is you who made this such an occasion to savour…
From the moment the World Peace Bell sounded the start of the Half-Marathon, it was clear Ken Gibson and Penny Slater would each be running solo today, each remaining focussed, smooth and elegant in the face of all the wind could throw at them from the lake. Ken ultimately broke the tape with 1:15:02 on the clock, nearly 6 minutes clear of former race winner Craig Benson in 1:20:54, ahead of a close tussle for 3rd between Aston Duncan’s 1:22:24 and Andrew Proctor with 1:22:38. Meanwhile, in 3rd outright, Jason Keane just missed out on the Male 50-59 course record with his superb 1:21:58, ahead of his closest rival on the day, Kerry Baxter with 1:33:18 and James Hipwell’s 1:33:48. David Clarke took out the Male 60-69 with 1:34:53, from Peter Hoefer (1:40:46) who just held off Kieron Blackmore’s 1:41:13. Bill Arthur took out the Male 70 and Over with an indefatigable 2:42:02.
Penny Slater went on to win the women’s race by an even larger margin than Ken in the men’s event, taking the day with an impressive 1:26:03, from Linda Edstrom at 1:42:53, Amanda McCormack’s 1:44:59 and Caitlin Davis with 1:45:52. Evergreen and ever-cheerful Kerrie Vaughan was fastest in the Female 50-59 with 1:53:02, ahead of Fiona Websdane in 1:56:02 and Tracie Scarlett-Arundell’s 1:58:30 – though they all trailed the Female 60-69 winner, the sensational Clare Wall posting a new course record for her age group of 1:52:26, leading the way from Robyn McClelland in 2:19:39.
The women’s 5 Mile race saw an exceptional front-running win from Aimee Davenport, clocking 32:59 in the wind, from Natalie Wood’s 38:24 and Asia Smarsz with 39:08. Maree Davies took out the Female 50-59 with 43:42, from Razz Morgan with 46:08 and Monique Sheehan’s 46:52. The wind knocked over many things during the race, but it was records that were tumbling In the more mature age groups, where Elizabeth Simpson continued her fine vein of form to set a new best time in the Female 60-69 with 38:13; and Rae Palmer likewise eclipsed the previous fastest among the Female 70 and Over with her new record 51:59. Congratulations!
Aaron Passioura ran an impressive 28:02 to win the men’s 5 Mile race by a clear margin from Joseph Hughes’ 28:58 and 15-year-old Xavier Quispes with 30:22. In the Male 50-59, Steve Rohan-Jones beat his own course record set last year, to win in a fine 30:29, ahead of a close race for the podium placings between James Owen in 33:50 and Steven Ditullio (34:00). Peter Prince took out the Male 60-69 with 41:52; and David Iverarch defended his title in the Male 70 and Over with a sterling 42:46.
Kodi Clarkson showed a clean pair of heels to the field in the 2 Mile race, winning from the Boys Under 13 category in 12:08, from Kami Schulz’s 13:00 (1st place Boys Under 17), Caleb Quispes with 14:46 and Liam Cook in 15:11. Ben Newman took out the Male 17 and Over with 16:48, and Margot Tredoux the Female 17 and Over with 20:58 from Sue Brennan’s 31:10.
Congratulations to all who ran and offered so much inspiration to us all!