This past weekend a group of hardy and inspiring runners participated in the Sri Chinmoy 12/24 Hour Championships at the excellent Blacktown International Sports Park. The daytime conditions were perfect for a fast race, with a cool breeze and a little sun. Temperatures again dropped overnight, although it was nowhere near as cold as last year.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team tried out a new timing system which provided live results for the runner as they passed the timing tent. It was generally agreed that this was a great success for all involved.
Both events were enthusiastically contested however the most notable observation would have to be the womenâs 24 hour results. Out of the top ten finishes in the 24 hour race, the women placed 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th. Another notable observation was the high number of runners who completed over 100miles, with Sharon Scholz, Steve Jordan, Anyce âKipâ Melham, Robert Osbourne and John Glen all earning their centurian title. Congratulations to Steve Jordanâs 100+ miles effort after 15 attempts, and Sharon Scholz for transcending her previous distance by such a big margin.
The 24 hour field included a good mix of experienced and new ultra marathon runners and walkers. For much of the race Larissa Tichon, Sarah Richardson, Sharon Scholz, who was walking, Annabel Hepworth and Karen Chang were within a few kilometres of each other. Each runner experienced the high and low moments which are common to the sport. In the end there was only a lap or two in it with Larissa taking out first place in the womenâs category clocking up an impressive 192.935 kilometers, closely followed by Sarah with 192.293 kms. Sharon came in third, walking, with an amazing 187.653kms. She was only 2km behind her husband Justin.
In the menâs race the first 13 hours were dominated by an impressive run by Gary Mullins and Trevor Allen. Gary looked very strong throughout, but as we know, ultra running is a mysterious sport at times and half way through the race Garyâs intense pace caught up with him. Trevor delighted onlookers, or perhaps confused them, with his running strategy. Endlessly smiling he vacillated between a relaxed saunter and an impressive gallop. The unorthodox approach seemed to pay off with Trevor winning the race outright with an impressive 201.048 kilometres. While that was going on Justin Scholz stormed his way through the race with consistency and determination. None could tell if he was motivated more by catching Trevor or by not being caught by his wife â I will let you decide! Either way, this earned him second place in the menâs race with 189.678km. Bringing in third place was Stuart Cole. Stuart Cole epitomised the spirit of ultra-marathon running, with his steady determination and effort, rare breaks and gentle character he covered a distance of 181.439kms.
The 24 hour field was completed by a team of dedicated and much loved runners who shared their own journey with their supportive family and friends. Charbel Sandroussi , Susie Ro, Neil Armstrong and Saul Richardson ran really well and added a bit of humour, family love and internationalism to the race.
Similar to the 24 hour race, the 12 hour race had a mix of familiar ultra-veteranâs and fresh new faces. Ian Jessurunâs joy at competing in his first ultra-marathon was very catching. JC Santa Teresa stood out for his cheerfulness, Sri Kurra for his steady determination. It was also nice to see Darren Kime and Cathie Wiltshire back from last year. They ran very solidly throughout the race, as did Callum Ritchie.
At the front end of the field in the menâs race Jonathon Blake and Rick Cooke blazed around the track for the whole 12 hours. Both runners shared the first place spot throughout the race. Rick planned on breaking the races previous record for 12 hours, which he did by around 4km. Rick showed true sportsmanship in expressing his sincere joy for Jonathon who ultimately won the race. Jonathonâs inner poise, strength and experience earned him the title.
The womenâs race was won by April Palmerlee, breaking the 100km mark by 6 Â½ kilometres in the process. Running with power and concentration, April appeared surprising fresh at the end of the race.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team thanks the runners, their family, friends and helpers for making the weekend a success and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.
Results and a photo album are published.