Sri Chinmoy Centennial Park Race Report
29 March, 2009: The first race of the Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series for 2009 was an event of surprises.
The first surprise came on the Thursday prior to the race, when Centennial Park officials informed organisers by email that the event was to be cancelled, due to a double-booking! Fortunately, an agreement was reached to contain the course to within only the southern portion of the Park, foregoing the full 7 km cross-country course and employing only the smaller, 4 km loop instead.
The advertised distances of 14 km and 7 km were amended to 12 km and 8 km- 3 and 2 laps of the 4 km loop respectively- effectively compacting the event into half the space of the original course.
The next surprise was far more pleasant: given the recent track record of Sri Chinmoy races at Centennial Park, blazing sunshine was a most welcome change!
The final and biggest surprise was the turn-out on the morning, with 150 late entries swelling an already large field of pre-entered athletes to fully stretch the registration processes.
Concerned about fitting so many athletes onto the shortened and convoluted course, organisers spread the field by starting each race in waves of male and female athletes, staggered a few minutes apart.
It is not often that an Under 13 runner wins a race outright. Morgan McDonald showed the 4 km field a clean pair of heels (or more precisely, pair of bright yellow running shoes), finding his way through a crowd of 8 km runners coming the other way, to cross the line in 14:27. Next home was Male 17-and-Over winner, Andrew Dyer, in 14:49.
The women's race was won by Under 17 entrant, Amy Bettiol in 16:27, from Larissa Tichon, first 17-and-Over athlete in 16:36. Georgie Blank came not far behind, earning the Under 13 Girls gold medal with her 17:53.
The eye-catching run of the day came in the 8 km race- Bryan Keane bolting from the start to win by an astonishing margin of almost 5 minutes, his 24:58 automatically counting as a course record on this virgin course. 6th fastest male runner in 32:31, was another astounding runner, Rob Connolley, competing in the Men 60-69 division! Rob left most of the younger runners in his wake, though Ken Cross' 33:36 to win the Men 50-59 was also an outstanding effort.
Elizabeth Lee was unchallenged in winning the women's 8 km race, finishing in 29:51, over 2 minutes clear of the field. Sylvia Nichols took out the Women 50-59 division with an excellent 40:15, while Kerry Bray led home the Women 60-69 with her 45:13.
The feature race of the day, shortened from 14 km to 12 km, was led home by Pete Conway in an impressive 42:58. holding off strong challenges from Scott Milson (45:03) and Brad Smith (43:21). Wayne Gregory was far too sleek in the Men 50-59 division, winning in 46:15, while Greg Heibron took out the Men 60-69 in 1:02:28, with Bert Sloan doing the Over 70s proud with his splendid 1:11:03.
Laura James (48:21) held off Lisa Marangon (48:59) to take out the Women's 12 km race from Jo Turl (51:09). Kate Rowe was impressive in leading home the Women 50-59 in 59:31.
Special congratulations to all women participants in the event- who made up a full 60% of the field, manifesting an eagerness to enjoy the occasion, and wonderful spirit of mutual encouragement which was much appreciated by all- officials, spectators and participants alike.
Full results by category are published, along with a photo album from the day.
The next event in the Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series for 2009 will be at Iron Cove on Sunday 10 May- Mother's Day- with choices of 16 km, 8 km and 4 km along this beautiful bayside course.