Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series 2017, race 6: Centennial Park 14km, 7km & 4km Runs, Sunday 22 October 2017
Race report and photo album coming soon...
Race report and photo album coming soon...
The mood pre-race at Iron Cove today was unusually subdued. A smaller, more pensive gathering was perhaps preoccupied with staving off a surprisingly brisk morning that would later morph into a simply superb day. With the sun’s advent, the atmosphere grew progressively more convivial, like an intimate family gathering.
For the first time in quite a while, no course records were set, not even by the formidable David Iverarch in the Male 70 and Over category (7km). This is partly due to the long history of races at this venue having produced some outstanding records, while many were using this as a non-competitive tune-up for races next weekend.
One the best finishes of the day was in the men’s Half-Marathon, which saw Filippo Sbalchiero (1:19:48) outlast Jacob Grooby (1:19:52) in a hard-fought tussle. Yohey Kawase followed closely for 3rd in 1:20:16. Geoffrey Barnes took out the Male 50-59 with 1:27:29; Bob Fickel added another cherry on top of one of Australia’s longest running careers by winning the Men 60-69 in 2:06:05; while Peter Allen ran a brave 2:21:37 to win the Male 70 and Over category.
The women’s Half-Marathon, by contrast, saw a clear and outstanding win in 1:38:37, to a surprised Rebecca Hoschke, who apparently had no idea she was ever in the lead. Rebecca’s win was the more remarkable for having pushed her little boy in a pram for the entire 21.1 km! Vice Hazdovac took out 2nd place in 1:49:27, from Susie Heath (3rd) in 1:50:34. Karen Ryan’s 1:52:16 won her the Female 50-59 title.
The one-lap 7km race is one of Sydney’s standard runs, won today by Brendan Boyd in 26:00 from the consistent Greg Churchill (26:15) and Mark Huber (26:40). Mike Mannix took out the Male 50-59 with 31:28; Brian Radburn the Male 60-69 in 31:51; and David Iverarch the Male 70 and Over with 33:38.
The women’s race saw Leonie Montgomery (32:10) strong enough to hold off a concerted challenge from a close-finishing pair of 2nd-place Sarah Latham (32:23) and 3rd-place Zoe Melling (32:36). Tracey O’Donnell is revelling in her Female 50-59 category; her 34:32 would have placed her 6th outright. Jan Swinhoe shone in the Female 60-69 with a fine 37:35.
Richard Sarkies was the star of the 4km out-and-back race, his 14:12 a over a minute clear of his son Wilson Sarkies, whose 15:29 won him the Boys Under 17; while Mitchell Dean took out the Boys Under 13 in 16:52.
Sally Hannah ran an astounding race to win by 5 minutes in 16:24; with Chloe Truong taking out the Girls Under 13 with 22:24; and Elena Berryman the Girls Under 17 in 23:51.
Magic is happening always, all around us: usually we are too busy to notice. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time, and to have made the right choices ... like this morning.
Just as the marathoners were embarking on their journey alongside Botany Bay, the sun, sea, sky and clouds conspired to stage one of life’s thrillingly auspicious moments … sure there’s a dawn, a sunrise every day, yet this one was the peal of a cosmic gong, the rising of a curtain portending an engrossing drama, an announcement of impending glory and confirmation of the soul’s approval for all who had committed to hurling their wills into that bravest of challenges: the Marathon.
Every marathon finisher is always a winner. Today’s race saw the completion of marathon # 258 for Ray James, and marathon # 251 for Bob Fickel – that’s over 500 marathons between these two humble yet extraordinary champions. Even if no-one else had turned up, it was worth the price of admission just to witness these greats of our sport in action. Gentlemen, please accept our virtual standing ovation!
The women’s Marathon saw a very happy Jane Trumper triumph from the Female 50-59 category in 4:13:23; while Virginia Botha’s 4:20:40 was enough to eclipse Muriel Demarcus’ 4:22:06 in the Female Under 50.
Michael Lough ran a fine controlled race to take out the Men’s Marathon in 2:54:05 from Gareth Franklin’s 2:57:45. Kevin Heaton won the Male 50-59 in 3:25:50, and Victor Correa led home the Male 60-69 with 3:38:41. A special congratulation to Donalito Bales Jnr who was ecstatic to finish his first Marathon in 5:21:57!
Today was an historic day for the Male Over 70 category in the Half-Marathon and 10km races, with for the first time ever, a higher number of participants than the younger 60-69 division. Arthur Huxtable led the way in the Half-Marathon Male 70+, setting a new course record of 1:57:49; while Geoff Smith led home the Male 60-69 in 1:49:28. Martin Cosby placed 5th outright in winning the Male 50-59 in a fine 1:26:51. The podium places in the Open Men’s race were taken by Matthew Rofe (1:21:46), Yohei Kawase (1:22:58) and Stephen Redfern (1:25:05), with Stephen backing up from his wonderful victory last weekend in the Sri Chinmoy 24 Hour race at Campbelltown.
Just as with the men, some of the main action in the women's race happened in the higher age brackets. Mary Sheehan led the way by smashing the course record for the Female 60-69 with her extraordinary run of 1:48:00. Catherine Anderson led home the Female 50-59 in 2:03:39; while Magda Karimali took out the Female Under 50 in the Half-Marathon with 1:32:52, from Natalie Bye (1:34:31) and Stephanie Bilic (1:38:31).
The 10km race saw David Iverarch add to his burgeoning Male 70+ record harvest with another brilliant run of 50:40; coming in on the heels of Male 60-69 winner Rob Ellis’ 50:34. Masanori Chiba was an outstanding winner of the Male 50-59 in 41:13, which placed him 5th outright. The Male Under 50 was won by Jake Foster with 37:22 in a sprint finish from Ian Gabriel (37:24) and Julian Murray not far behind with 38:10.
Merrily O’Donnell continued her fine form in the Female 60-69. winning with 55:53; not far behind Nadia Tesser who led home the Female 50-59 in 52:17. Fastest female on the course today was Zoe Melling with 46:26; from Martina Nimac (47:04) and Barbara David (47:43).
David Thorne took out the Men’s 5km race today in fine form in 17:25 from his brother Aaron Thorne’s 19:06; followed in by Kate Hill winning the women’s race in 19:29. Patrick Hadjiantonio was fastest of the Boys Under 13 with 20:14 and Allen Chantharasonthi the Boys Under 17 in 20:32. Unfortunately it is common when running, that we tend to follow whoever is in front of us, rather than focus on course signage. This happened today in the 5km race. After the leaders ran the correct course as marked, quite a few of the field then apparently followed a runner who was not even in the race, onto an alternative path which meant they completely missed the northern turnaround, thus adding considerable distance and time to quite a few of the 5km results. While organisers make every effort to ensure the course is clearly marked, while racing we can never assume that the runner in front of us knows where they are going. When running in a group we tend to “switch off”, yet this is when we are most in danger of missing a sign and going off course: please, remain always alert for course signage!
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.
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.
The Sri Chinmoy Sydney Series had not visited Mirambeena Regional Park in 3 years. Today we realised what an omission this has been; how much we have missed the beauty, tranquility and uplifting spirit of this magical place.
Heavy overnight rain placed some puddles about the course, awoke the air, and freshened the grass’ green, reflecting the sense of newness and rededication heralded by a new Series’ start.
The field was certainly smaller than Sri Chinmoy Series races in coastal Sydney, yielding a more intimate and friendly outing, though the racing was real and the competition keen. This is a fulfilling course in every sense; the constant company of birdsong through grand and gracious groves forms counterpoint with some ‘honest’ hills to test both fettle and mettle.
Louise Noble has held the course record for the 16km event at Mirambeena for 6 years. Yet not content to see another runner come along to eclipse her time, Louise returned today clearly on a mission: and proceeded to carve an astonishing 3 minutes off her previous mark. Her new time of 1:04:38 placed her 5th outright in a competitive field. Lillian Molesworth followed Louise into 2nd place in 1:08:15; from Stephanie Bilic in 1:12:10. Tracey O’Donnell celebrated her promoted age group by setting a new Female 50-59 course best time of 1:25:03; while Mary Sheehan’s remarkable 1:19:53 came close to one of the strongest records of them all – Helen Stanger’s formidable Female 60-69 landmark.
Timothy Molesworth took out the Male Under 50 in 1:00:05, narrowly missing the one hour barrier; closely followed by Karl Safi in 1:00:22, while Martin Vu also ran strongly for his 3rd place 1:02:14. Neal Ames took out the Male 50-59 in 1:12:51; and Ian Jarrett the Male 60-69 with his 1:24:00.
Brian Brady was a strong front-running winner of the 8km race, taking the Male Under 50 in 31:05. The next 2 places behind Brian were taken by age group winners: Geoff Barnes (Male 50-59) in an impressive 32:47; and Kieron Blackmore, who sliced 6 seconds from the great Witold Krajewski’s Male 60-69 record with his new best time of 33:12. Next in were Ken Wong (34:49) and Moses Ribal (35:52). Robert Montgomery took out the Male 70 and Over in 52:25.
Winner of the women’s race saw a similarly dominant Jessica del Gigante winning by over 3 minutes in 39:44, from Sharon McGregor (43:00) and Cathie Sherrington (44:07). Susan MacCallum took out the Female 50-59 in 45:09; while Gina Jessop matched her counterpart in the men’s field by setting an impressive new course record for the Female 60-69 of 44:47, placing her 4th overall among the entire women’s field.
Peter Sewell, who usually runs the middle distances events in the Male 50-59 category, today “stepped down” in distance – and up in speed – to take out the 2 mile race in a pacy 11:47 from Davor Zailac’s 13:13. Julieann Tully won the women’s race, setting a new record for the Girls Under 17 with 16:09. Nicholas Stock took out the Boys Under 13 in 14:50, and Lani Kennedy the Girls Under 13 with 18:11; while Samantha Truong won the Female 17 and Over in 18:16.