Sri Chinmoy Centennial Park Half-Marathon, 14km, 7km & 4km cross-country runs, Sunday 18 October 2020
The deprivations of forced abstinence from competitive “actual” racing has had varying effects on runners. Some have gone into their shells and focussed on other pursuits; or hit their couches; or racked up dizzying miles on solo runs – while some have trained with single-minded purpose and discipline to be poised and ready – like a tautly coiled spring – to offer their transcendent best when the time would inevitably come … to race again. And when that time came – today – some were absolutely ready…
It’s a rare occurrence that a woman wins a Half-Marathon outright, amidst a strong male field. Rebecca Brown, listed first alphabetically among the online entrants, was issued with race bib Number 1 by the timing software … automated algorithm, or auspicious prescience? Among the earliest starters, some might have assumed Rebecca would be reeled in by some later-starting, fleet-of-foot strutters, yet each lap saw her only increasing her margin at front of field. Her dazzling rendition of 1:21:20 is an all-time female course record for this event in its 13-year history. Equally incredible and inspiring was the performance on the other side of the gender divide and farther edge of the age spectrum – David Iverach’s paradigm-bending new Male Over 70s record of 1:47:06!
Tiffany Knight followed Rebecca into 2nd placing in the Female Under 50 with a fine 1:32:17, followed by Sarah Maton’s 1:34:09; while Kim Pluess took out the Female 50-59 in 1:59:10.
Meanwhile, John McCormack won the men’s Half-Marathon with a breezy, consistent 1:23:23; with Nathan Tucker’s 1:26:39 earning him 2nd placing, ahead of David Lynch in 1:31:01. In the Male 50-59, it was Andrew Harris setting the bar with 1:32:23, only just outpacing Jeremy Smith’s 1:32:46, with Tom Reeve filling out the podium with 1:34:08.
With “pulse starts”, runners depart at random intervals, producing the uncertainty of not knowing exactly how one is faring against runners who might have started way ahead, or be bearing down on us from far behind. The only way to run in these circumstances is against oneself, giving it everything in the hope that will be enough to outpace one’s rivals. The final results show some incredibly close finishes, which invite speculation as to how these contests might have panned out if they had yielded real sprint finishes from a standard mass-start…
The 14km was a late addition to the palette of distances on offer, due to the City to Surf Virtual Race being held the same day, providing the perfect opportunity to effectively race two events simultaneously. The chance was embraced by a small, yet eager gathering.
Gerber Koster led the field in the 14km men’s contest with 50:47, ahead of Matt Dawson’s 51:22 and 51:55 from Chris Truscott – all 3 runners were spread across the field and would have had no idea of how their rivals were faring, or perhaps even who their rivals were! Silvio de Vecchio took out the Male 50-59 with 1:07:28, from Stephen Bourke’s 1:09:36; while Tetsundo Kato was triumphant in the Male 60-69 with a fine run of 1:04:55, from Ron Schwebel’s 1:06:10.
Laura Roderick was fastest-finishing female in the 14km, a lone star under the hour with 58:42, from Sarah Whitely’s 1:03:50, just eclipsing Sophia Anicic with 1:03:56. Catherine Bolshesolsky was too good in the Female 60-69, finishing in style with 1:09:55, from Leonie Montgomery’s offering of 1:10:46 and 1:11:45 from Roisin Boyle. Anne Elizabeth Boyd claimed the inaugural Female 70 and Over 14km record with her outstanding contribution of 1:40:35.
In the 7km circuit, Audrey Hall ran the 2nd-swiftest overall time to win the women’s race in 27:33, with the next fastest time outright also coming from a female, Eva Laverty’s fine 28:09, while Kriszta Kovacs took 3rd in 29:49. The classy Katherine Wallington won the Female 50-59 with 34:45, from Susan MacCallum’s 37:10; while in the Female 60-69 it was the ever-reliable Sylvia Nichols again prevailing with 41:24 from an exceptionally strong group including Kathryn King (43:48) and Merridy O’Donnell (45:08).
It was Lachlan Stanfield who stole the glory of the men’s 7km one-lap exhibition, with a blistering 24:17, wining by the proverbial country mile from Manuel Geier’s 27:33 and Ochirkhuu Nansaljav with 29:03. Michael Parker took out the Male 50-59 with 37:09, from Kieran Bowie’s 38:01; while the lightning-fast Craig Saphin stormed the Male 60-69 with 31:28, ahead of the swift Rob Ellis (34:28), and a tight race between Marc Jarman (36:26) and Brian Radburn (36:29).
In the shorter races, the Under 17 Boys and Girls categories are sometimes under-represented, but not today! Outright race winner, Max Russell set an outstanding new Boys Under 17 record of 13:37, while 2nd-placed outright, Natasha Ward, similarly smashed the Girls Under 17 all-time course best with her outstanding 14:32. Nicky Verco was next home, taking 2nd in the BU17s with 14:43, while Grace Henry followed Natasha in their category with a classy run of 15:15.
In the Boys Under 13, Piers Galvin took the honours through his 15:23, from Thomas Altundag’s 16:22, while in the Male 17 and Over, it was Brad Sharpe (15:56) who set the pace from Joseph Tesvic’s 17:22. Lily Cooney was best among the Girls Under 13 with 16:59, from Nancy Newton’s 17:03; while Zyra McAuliffe took out the Female 17 and Over category with 19:38, ahead of 20:55 from Rebecca Williams.
On behalf of all runners and organisers, our deep gratitude to Greg D’Arcy and Belinda Soszyn of MultiSport Australia for their superbly professional registration and electronic timing and results service, and to the inexhaustibly cheerful Penny and Stephen Redfern, Kieron Blackmore, Eddie Oba and Rita Kazzi, along with volunteers from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team of Mongolia, Canberra and Sydney.