While point-to-point races may boast a variety of vistas and terrains, if one is fortunate to have a superb outlook, an excellent surface and wonderful company all in the one place, why not enjoy these benefits for the whole race? The reliability and consistency of a loop course also affords an ideal opportunity to focus within, on on one’s running form, style and attitude, and to keep tabs on the entire field of both friends and rivals.
Although not a blazing hot sunny day in Canberra this Queen’s Birthday Holiday morning, a significant boon assisting all participants whispered in silence through an all-pervasive stillness. Those who ran this event in 2020 will recall the blustery gale that stood against every runner’s effort at forward progress. The lack of wind today perhaps aided in the achievement of no fewer than 5 age group and overall course records, a remarkable achievement given the relatively small field assembled.
Few timers has this event been dominated as comprehensively as Adrian McLean’s virtuoso performance today. The loop course, which effectively keeps the whole field closer together than they would appear in a linear race, disguised the margin of victory which ended up a whopping 7 minutes, In the process, Adrian’s 1:11:22 sliced a full 3 minutes from the old course record. Steve McCulloch was next among the mortals with 1:18:25, from 3rd placed Jimmy Byrne’s 1:18:54. Jon Schol made the trip from the South Coast wortthwhile to take out the Male 50-59 with a fine 1:35:29, ahead of Kim Houghton, who set a lifetime Half-Marathon PB of 1:37:36 at age 59 years and 11 months! Amazingly, Kim was the oldest runner in the men’s field.
In the women’s Half-Marathon, Bernie Connors had never attempted a race on a loop course, or an event of this distance, and surprised herself with a brilliant win in 1:39:15, from Amanda McCormack’s 1:41:11 and Linda Edstrom with 1:42:50. Evergreen Kerri Vaughan showed her experience and class to win the F50-59 in 1:54:14, from Fiona Websdane with 2:01:55. Meanwhile, Clare Wall had already finished and won the F60-69 with her outstanding new course record, another to better her own time from last year with 1:49:43; and the amazing Susan Archer claimed the F70+ trophy and a new age group best time, in the process holding off the 2 hour barrier, with her 1:59:07.
Tim Carton showed a clean pair of heels in the men’s 5 mile race, winning by over 2 minutes in 28:47, from Jason Chalker (31:30) and Keegan Moore (34:33). Darren Blackhurst was best among the M50-59 with 35:05, just ahead of Andrew Forster’s 35:25. Sandra Oliver took out the women’s race and an impressive 9th place overall with 36:10, while 2nd female was the outstanding Elizabeth Simpson, surpassing her own course record for the Female 60-69 with 37:28. Kathryn Sliwinsksi was next among the F Under 50 with 39:44, from Melanie Wellenberg’s 40:50. Jennifer Kellett continued the fine form of the F60-69s with her excellent 41:28. The M 70+ category was outstanding, with Paul Archer (44:26), Jim White (45:25) and Peter Badowski (45:29) all coming home ahead of the entire M60-69 field, where Ewen Thompson (49:12) just pipped Trevor Jacobs (49:13) for the title. Yvette Turner was fastest among the F50-59s, wining this category in 51:20 from Kim Falco’s 56:43; while Rae Palmer ran a fine race to also beat her own course record set last year in the F70+ with a wonderful 50:37.
The “sprint” 2-lap race saw a commanding run from Tom Sharp, winning comfortably from a small field in 12:18, ahead of 2nd placed Jules Tarry, who took out the Boys Under 13 category in 15:05, just ahead of his father Greg (15:07). Polly Templeton won the Female 17 and Over with 17:54.
Congratulations to all who participated, and gratitude to all who helped in any role.