Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series 2017, race 2: Centennial Park Half-Marathon, 7km & 4km cross-country run, Sunday 26 March 2017
Sydney may be experiencing a miserable run of almost constant rain, and Centennial Park can be a muddy, sloshy venue in the wet; but Sunday 26 March showed that Sydney can also turn on the most glorious of sunny days, and there is no finer place to enjoy the beauty of city and nature on a fine morning, than Centennial Park.
When the morning dawned fine, an almost disbelieving group gathered to grasp the occasion in the best way possible: by running through the park in a trio of Half-Marathon, 7km and 4km jaunts.
Michelle McAdam ran a superb race in the Half-Marathon to break Laura James’ long-standing course record by 6 seconds, with a new best time of 1:23:28. While the race announcer was getting excited about Matthew Cox breaking the men’s course record, it turns out he got it all wrong: Matthew’s winning time of 1:10:24 – although good enough to win the race by 12 minutes – was still nearly 2 minutes shy of his own time from 2015. It was Michelle’s stellar race which should have been getting more plaudits on the day. Deirdre Hopkins ran with great purpose to place 2nd in 1:35:50; and Stephanie Bilic came in 3rd with 1:38:55.
Marie Chretien took out the Female 50-59 category with 2:10:48; while Mary Sheehan ran an exhibition race in the Female 60-69 with an inspiring showing of 1:48:08.
Matthew Cox ran the race without any company until he started lapping runners, as he led from the very start; a study in concentration, style and lovely form. Behind Matthew, Gary Mullins and Neil Culkin staged an excellent contest for the minor placings, with Gary able to run on strongly to a 1:22:18 finish from Neil’s 1:22:28. Next in was also the winner of the Male 50-59; Phillip Balnave celebrating his new category with a fine run of 1:23:53. Kieron Blackmore again took out the Male 60-69 in 1:40:06; and Arthur Huxtable the Male 70 and Over with 2:16:59.
In the one-lap 7km race, Louise Arnott produced a blinder of a race to set a new record for the Female 50-59 category, in placing 2nd overall in the women’s race with her outstanding 29:41. Kate Hobbs was the only woman ahead of Louise, taking the Under 50s in 29:13. Sylvia Nicholls was the winner of the Female 60-69 in 37:34.
In the men’s 7km Daniel Veragoo’s 27:51 was too strong for the challenge from Erin Cook’s 28:04. David Heazlett took out the Male 50-59 with 31:48; Rob Ellis the Male 60-69 in 36:06; and we saw another impressive outing of 36:55 from David Iverarch to take out the Male 70 and Over.
It was all kids in the 4km race: a flurry of eager faces sprinting off at the start, and showing clean pairs of heels to most of the adults throughout. Coco Remond took out the Girls Under 13 with 16:03; Sally Hannah the Female 17 and Over with 17:07; and Elena Berryman the Girls Under 17 with 24:09.
Rhys Shariff was fastest of all, taking the outright win and the Boys Under 17 category in 14:59 from James and William Smith in 15:17 and 15:22 respectively. Billy Zavetsanos won the Boys Under 13 with 16:36; with Davor Zailac close behind to take out the Male 17 and Over in 16:41.