Sri Chinmoy Centennial Park Race Report
23 November 2008: Whoever was orchestrating the weather for Sunday morning in Centennial Park seemed unable to make up their mind- will it be calm or will the wind blow? Will it rain or shine? In the end, we got a bit of everything- a few light showers and a morning too cool for sunbathing, but ideal for a run in the Park.
With a field nearly twice the size of any other race in the Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series for 2008, there was a buzz of anticipation as runners prepared for their cross-country Half-Marathon- 3 laps of a scenic 7 km circuit on dirt tracks and grass, taking in most of the ponds, fields and glades of this delightful park, one of the true treasures of Sydney.
Those not opting for the Half-Marathon could select one 7 km circuit, or an alternative 4 km loop, so there was a race distance to suit most athletes. The Half-Marathoners were first to head out around the perimeter of the McKay Playing Fields and into the distance; followed by the 7 km athletes in two waves- men and women- and lastly the 4 km runners and walkers.
Dave Holtsbaum was first home in the 4 km in 13:46, followed closely by the first Under 17 Boy, Daniel Siepen in 13:49. Daniel Heaslip took first in the Under 13 Boys in 15:58. Simone Newton came in first for the women in 17:45, with the first-placed Under 17 Girl, Katherine Squire (19:53), also placing second outright. Georgia Holtsbaum won the Under 13 Girls' race in 22:15.
The outstanding run of the day in the 7 km came from Natasha Cole (pictured), clocking 27:05 over the challenging cross-country course, a time bettered by only 3 males, including outright winner Hao Lu's 25:52. Kieron Blackmore took first place in the Men 50-59 with 28:56, and Sylvia Nichols the Women 50-59 in 34:06, while John Bowman was the premier 60+ Male in 38:07, matched by Dot Siepman, first Female 60+ in 42:43. The 7 km saw a record field of 88 women and 80 men crossing the line.
Through all the excitement of the 4 km and 7 km races the Half-Marathoners kept coming in alongside the finish- and heading out again, three times in all. With the orientation of the course taking the route past the start/finish area again after 1.5 km of each loop, this gave onlookers and supporters a chance to see the Malf-Marathoners no fewer than 7 times, from the one vantage point. The seventh sighting came as the athletes headed into the finish chute.
First home in a new course record (this is the first time this course has been used for the Half-Marathon distance), was Darren Moyle, who ran solo for almost the whole race and finished over 2 minutes clear of the field in an impressive 1:17:44. Ryan Waddington, Pete Conway and Richard Green (pictured) arrived within 20 seconds of each other, vying for the minor placings behind Ryan. Wayne Gregory was first Male 50-59 in 1:27:31, Rob Connolley first Male 60-69 in 1:34:59, and Bert Sloan flew the flag for the 70+ group in 2:09:47.
The women's race saw a tighter tussle for line honours between the superb Amy Wilkinson (1:28:08) and Kate Hodson (1:28:28), with Greta Truscott not far adrift in 1:29:24. Ann Owen was first Female 50-59 in 1:58:55.
Full results are now published.
A photo album from the day is coming soon.