Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series 2017, race 3: Royal National Park Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10km & 5km Trail Runs, Sunday 7 May 2017
The Sri Chinmoy Royal National Park Trail Runs on Sunday 7 May 2017 set a new record – for the most number of records set at one race (other than an inaugural event where every winner establishes a course record).
Whether due to the weather (best ever experienced for this race); the superb condition of the track (again, best ever); a continuing improvement of the general standard of trail running; the remarkable spirit of mutual support and goodwill pervading the field; the inspiration of Eliud Kipchoge’s 2-hour marathon run the previous night in Italy; healthy vibes flowing from the all-pervading bush flourishing at the culmination of a warm, wet summer; the constant encouragement of a randomly assorted yet enthusiastically persistent bird choir; a propitious alignment of indefinable factors – or confluence of all of the above, an astonishing 10 course records fell – 4 to the women and 6 to the men; 1 in the Marathon, 3 in the 10km, and an amazing 6 out of the 7 categories contested in the Half-Marathon (and no, the course was NOT short!!)
In the men’s Marathon, the sandal-shod Phil Balnave ran from the front and won the race outright from his new station of Male 50-59. Exuding trademark humility, quiet strength and clarity of purpose, Phil set about his work with a single mind and was rewarded with a new category record of 3:01:56. Justin Miller was next in, to take the Male Under 50 in 3:07:20 from Oliver Carey’s 3:10:04. Notably, there were 11 runners in the Male 50-59 category – only one less the 12 contesting the Male Under 50. Victor Correa ran a strong race to take out the Male 60-69 title in 3:43:38. Kirby Clarke won the women’s marathon with a fine run of 3:48:26, from Katy Anderson with 3:59:58. Special mention goes to first-time marathoner, Shailesh Rasane, who has been planning this feat for 10 years. Our salutations to all who completed the marathon today: whether your first or 250th, to run and finish a marathon is one of humanity’s finest, most complete and richly rewarding accomplishments.
Today’s Half-Marathon proved an extraordinary event. Russell Andrews’ superb winning time of 1:20:18 was the 2nd fastest ever for this race – and the only category which did not see a new record set. To list the other category winners, and all new course records (drum roll and standing ovation for the parade, please…):
Female Under 50: Sally Towse, 1:31:48
Female 50-59: Vicki Jeffreys, 1:48:34
Female 60-69: Merridy O’Donnell, 2:11:42
Male 50-59: Glenn Gielissen, 1:28:48
Male 60-69: Michael Sullivan, 1:44:14
Male 70 and Over: Ernest Jordan, 2:08:21
Much like Kipchoge’s 2-hour marathon which was run on the back of finely coordinated work of a team of elite pacers, credit for such a rich harvest of records must go not only to those at the pointy end but to the whole field of runners whose collective enthusiasm and momentum carried their leaders forward on a surging wave of inspiration. So congratulations to the entire Half-Marathon field for this historic achievement! The inspiration didn’t expire when the winners had collected their trophies either, for the final two across the line today – even after all the marathoners had completed their journeys – were two intrepid Half-Marathoners – Sonia Rosenthal and Hayley Hart, who reached their cherished goal in 3 hours, 58 minutes and 46 seconds. What a race – Champions all!
It was James Hauptmann who set the first record to fall today in the 10km race and thus opened the record-breaking floodgates for all to follow. James’ fluent 36:39 was a class above his competitors in a good quality field. David Iverarch raised the bar by taking more than 20 minutes off the record for the Male 70 and Over with his brilliant 49:31. Likewise, Mary Sheehan challenged one of the toughest records of all to break – for it was previously owned by local legend Helen Stanger in the Female 60-69 – yet Mary triumphed with a resounding 51:23.
Greg Rankin took out the Male 50-59 in 45:18; and Rob Ellis the Male 60-69 with 50:11. Stephanie Bilic won the women’s race by over 2 minutes with a commanding run of 44:13; while Nadia Tesser claimed 1st prize in the Female 50-59 with her 56:55.
Despite the 5km trail run being the only distance which did not see any records fall, it was perhaps the friendliest field of all. Evie Cook won the women’s race outright and also took out the Girls Under 13 in 24:27; while Desie Joannides came first in the Female 17 and Over with 28:21.
Marc Mardini won the men’s race outright and the Boys Under 17 in 20:33; Lewis Cook led home the Boys Under 13 in 24:20; and Chris Dallen the Male 17 and Over with 24:49.