Presiding deities of North Canberra trails, Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura are the honorary grandmother and grandfather of Canberra trail running venues, their classic tracks having been well trod and lovingly trundled since long before most of today’s runners were born. Today’s routes sought to blend some of this nature park’s venerable thoroughfares with a few of the more recently fashioned single tracks wending within the woodlands.
A ding-dong contest played out in the 16.4km men’s race between the front-running Adrian McLean (1:07:11), pursued by the fast-chasing Vajin Armstrong (1:07:31) and Oliver Murray (1:07:58). With the course varying between kilometres of flat and fast striding interspersed with technical climbs and extensive winding single track, there was something for everyone, with the prize on offer for the runner with the most complete all-round skills. Andrew Tully was again exceptional in the Male 50-59 with 1:14:12 and 6th outright, a country mile ahead of Mark Duncanson’s 1:26:20 and Darren Blackhurst with 1:28:00. Trevor Jacobs reigned supreme in the M60-69 with an inaugural course record of 1:36:12; as with Terry Dixon in the Male 70 and Over with his solid 2:16:44.
Katie Eisenhauer ran in her own realm in the women’s 16.4km race, winning in style (and taking 13th outright) with a fantastic 1:22:20, ahead of 2nd-placed Bernie Connors (1:27:09) and Isobelle Smith with 1:30:25. Louise Gates ran a sensational race to take out the inaugural Female 50-59 course record with 1:31:51, ahead of Sarah Fien (1:37:28) and Kym Kennedy (1:41:31). Alli Clark was fastest in the F60-69 with 2:09:09, with Sue Bowden not far behind in 2:12:20.
All category winners in today’s races are now course record holders for at least a year until the next event is held at this venue – Andrew Gatenby was clearly not content to merely claim the course record, he came determined to set a mark to stand for years to come, his 33:45 win the in 8.3km race over 2 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, Xavier Quispes (35:58), while Matty Robbie cruised into 3rd with 36:39. Mick Hanbury took home the main trophy in the Male 50-59 with 41:23, from Matt Lemm’s 41:53 and Steve Richardson with 42:42. David Alder’s 43:57 was fastest among the M60-69; while Jim White strode away with the Male 70 and Over course record with his 59:01.
Ainsley Pahljina took out the women’s 8.3km “Majura Meander”with an impressive 40:01, from Monique Andrea (40:37) and Matilda Stevenson’s 42:52. Nicole Havranek continued her impressive form in these trail events to win the Female 50-59 in 1:02:23, from Leanne Haughton’s 1:04:43 and Yvette Turner with 1:06:01. Alison Coles meanwhile defeated all in the younger age category, in taking out the F60-69 with an impressive 58:07; with Julie Bell winning the Female 70 and Over in 1:06:21.
The 2km race headed out the same way as the 16.4km route, turning around after 1km to return along the levee bank behind the houses of Ainslie – a fast, fairly flat and level hit-out for the mostly kids-aged field. Ally Chambers took the outright win from the Girls Under 17 category in 8:05, ahead of April Lisle’s 8:32 win in the Girls Under 13, just edging out Noah Codrington’s 8:33, which earned 1st place in the Boys Under 13. Talia Chambers followed, winning the Female 17 and Over with 9:12.
Our gratitude to all involved in the planning and staging as well as participation in this inaugural event.