Round 6 XCR ’12 Coliban Relay Reports

Will Ockenden put in a top run to bring home our Division 6 Team

The Hunters had a great day at the Coliban Relays. We had a great turn out with awesome results from our Women – first in all 4 divisions.  Congratulations to Lesley and the team.

Our women are well placed to once again be premiers in all 4 divisions, but it is far from a given. Our Div 1 and Div 4 teams only narrowly top their ladders – 5 points and 8 points respectively, and we need to maintain the pressure. With Anna Thompson, Erica Fountain, Tarli Bird, & Bridget Corcoran set to return for Bundoora (July 21),  the Hunter Women are well placed to continue achieving excellent results.

Our men are second in three divisions (2, 4, & 7) with Div 2 within striking distance of top spot.

See below for all reports from the Coliban Long Road Relays. Thanks to all reporters for promptly writing their reports, and to all managers for organising our teams.

Hunter Individual & Team Results (compiled by TV)
AV Individual Results
AV Photos – Race – PresentationsW Div1,  W Div2W Div3W Div4
Hunter Photos
Team Ladders
AthsVic TV – Interviews with Lesley and Sarah L


Division 1 by Sarah Lund 

The winning Division 1 Women’s team consisted of Julia Edwards, Georgina Beech, Karinna Fyfe, Sarah Lund and Meredith Cook.

Julia gave us a strong start in second place, only 50 seconds behind Athletics Essendon, but minutes ahead of our main rivals Knox.

Georgina ran the second leg of 6km and maintained our huge lead! She ran brilliantly, especially as she is still on her way back from injury. Before nearly forgetting to wait for Georgina at the third stage, we dropped off Karinna for the longest leg of 8.4km. She ran a very impressive time of 29.50mins! This stretched our lead even further and made it much easier for the remaining stages of the race.

Sarah ran fourth leg and managed to catch up to our runners in Division 2, 3 and 4. Coming into the change over, there was a line of Hunters close behind each other which made it more exciting to see if we could really take out the win in all four divisions!

Coming into the final stage, Meredith powered through the final 5.7km in a time of 20.53mins which was clearly the fastest women’s time of the day for this leg. In the end we finished with a 7 minute win over South Melbourne in second place.

All the girls worked very hard and gave it their best run on the day. We are all really proud with our result and looking forward to next year’s race!


Division 2 by Belinda Dennett

It was a brilliant winter’s day to be out running, and with that positive attitude, the Women’s Division 2 team was keen to back up from our win in last year’s Coliban.

It was great to have our French recruit Celine Tasset back from injury.  Under strict instruction from physio Rob O’Donnell to run up-hill only, Celine took on the first leg from Harcout with the winding climb up Sutton Grange Rd.  Celine had a strong run but she was up against former World Championship marathoner, Susan Michelsson  who took Collingwood out to almost a two minute lead, with Western Districts just narrowly ahead of Celine at the first change over.

Nicola Anthony took the Tasuki for the second leg and not only caught the two teams in front but also recorded the fastest time in Division 2 for the leg, and one of the fastest times of the day for all women.  Nicola gave us a very handy two minute lead over nearest rival, Collingwood.

Nicola handed over to Belinda Dennett for the third leg where the down hills were tougher than the uphills.  Next year I will consider running with a boogie board and hopping into the water race running alongside the track given how fast the water was flowing.  I was grateful to Nicola’s fantastic run as our lead was cut back to just under a minute.

Stacey Bulger took the Tasuki for the fourth leg and ran strongly. She had good company catching up with our Division 3 and 4 teams on the road. Frankston had their strongest runner on the fourth leg and she just managed to pass Stacey over the final stretch taking a 13 second lead into the final leg.

Amelia Aslanides had all the pressure on her for the final leg but she responded in true Hunters style.  She caught the Frankston runner within the first half a kilometer and cheered on by the procession of cars carrying team mates and a very excited women’s team manager, she ran the fastest final leg in Division 2 to guide Glenhuntly home with almost 50 seconds on Frankston.

It was a thrilling win for Division 2, and even better that we had the whole team at the presentation to receive our certificate.  A huge thanks to Lesley for all her hard work in ensuring we had full teams and dealing with the last minute cancellations.

Division 3 by Robyn Fletcher

Managed to find all of the Div 3 teams at the Glenhuntly table after a nice cruise up the Calder Freeway (and customary stop at the Kyneton bakery for coffee and muffins!).

Kerrily was the first runner to head off and set a cracking pace to put Div 3 in the lead – Kirrily recorded the fastest time in this section in Div. 3 (also think that it was Kirrily’s new shorts that made her run faster!).

Kirrily then handed the sash over to our second runner, Cassie, who flew along the 6.0km leg in a time of 26.39, again the fastest time in this section for Div. 3. After bundling everyone back in the car we headed to the next checkpoint where Laura took over.

This section was the longest leg, 8.4kms, but Laura made it look easy, again clocking the fastest time in this section for Div. 3.

Laura then handed the sash over to me for the fourth section, which was 7.6 kms (although my Garmin only clocked 7.47kms!). The first few kms were quite hilly but managed to get through in a time of 32.35, Div 3 were still in the lead. It was during my leg that Stacey and Sarah went charging past me, on their way to victory!

I then handed the sash over to Alice who maintained the Div. 3 lead and covered the 5.7kms in a time of 24.20 – another fastest time in this section for Div. 3! Alice was the first Div. 3 female across the finish line – well done to everyone in the team!

Thanks to Les and Marg for oganising the teams – and Les, the stress was worth it in the end!


Division 4  by Helen Rainey

What a great day to run the Coliban relays, we all experienced a beautiful blue sky.  This is the first year that Glenhuntly women had a division 4 team.

Helen Rainey took on the first leg from Harcourt and lined up with only 2 other teams in Division 4, we knew we could get a place.  Helen had a strong run but she was up against Caroline Cleary who took South Melbourne out to almost a 1.30 minute lead at the first change over.

Fiona Noble raced the second leg and not only caught the South Melbourne team but held our lead despite feeling her legs would not carry her up the steep hill.  Fiona gave us almost a minute lead over South Melbourne and not far behind from division 3.

Abbey Love ran the third leg where the down hills are tough and she was hoping her ankle would hold despite just recently coming back from injury. She ran well despite being up against a strong South Melbourne runner who just passed her.

Natalie Esparon ran the fourth leg and ran strongly. She had some pressure trying to catch the South Melbourne runner, and also knowing that Robyn Fletcher from Division 3 was gaining on her.  Well done Natalie!!

Ebony Warren ran the last leg and had all the pressure on her to catch the South Melbourne runner who had a 2 minute lead on us.  She arrived at the finish line with a minutes lead over the 2nd team, to add the moment there was somegreat cheering from all the Glenhuntly teams!!

It was thrilling that Division 4 won, but even better that all the teams placed1st.  Well done girls and thanks to Lesley for organizing the teams



Division 1 by Len Johnson

Sun Shines but Hunters Fade in Afternoon Light

After a decidedly ‘wintry’ week, the sun shone brightly for this year’s Coliban Ekiden Relay.So, too, did the Hunters top two men’s teams though, like the wintersun, they faded a little late in the afternoon. After climbing as high as third place mid-race through top runs from Craig Semple and Toby Rayner, the division one team ultimately finished fifth.

Division two led into the final leg, but was overtaken by Knox, the dominant men’s club on the day with wins in both of the top divisions.Still, there were signs of promising things to come when we can put our top six runners into the mix alongside such developing runners as Sascha Bondarenko-Edwards and Jamie Cook. We know our best line-up is competitive, but at the minute do not have the depth to absorb the absences and unavailabilities.

Craig Semple led off for division one on the 5.5km first leg. With its gradually steeper climbing in the second half, it is a deceptively tough leg. Craig’s 18:19 was second-fastest and, naturally, put us second in the division.Greg Nichols, ‘fresh’ from his Christchurch marathon, ran 21:17 for the 6km second leg as the race started to take shape. By the end of the leg, Knox had moved into a lead it would not relinquish with ultimate minor placegetters Ballarat Region and Frankston moving into second and third. We were fourth at the change.

Sascha Bondarenko-Edwards ran 28:49 for the tough third leg, with its steep climb and equally-steep descent over rocky ground breaking the 8.4km into two contrasting halves. At the end of the leg we had dropped to seventh, but Toby Rayner’s 32:32 on the longest leg – the division one and two-only leg 4a of 10.5km – took us back up into third.

There was no catching Knox, who now led Ballarat Region by over three minutes, by this stage, but  only Mitchel Brown’s 31:49 for Essendon was faster on the leg.
Chris Winter ran a solid 25:01 on the Hogan’s Road leg (7.6km) and Jamie Cook closed out with a 19:27 for the 5.7km into the finish as we lost one place on each leg to wind up in a solid fifth place. Knox won by just over five minutes from Ballarat Region and Frankston with tradtitional rival Box Hill just squeezing past us on the final leg for fourth.
Division two was closer, ultimately going down to a strong Knox combination by just on two minutes. Youngster Ben Kelly (16) and oldster Nick Harrison (age undisclosed) were each fastest on their leg.
Andrew Blake led out on leg one with a 20:56 which saw us change over in fourth place. Ben Kelly’s 20:54 – six seconds faster than any other div.2 runners – put us up to third.
Another fastest-on-leg run by 2004 Olympian Nick Harrison over the tough third leg took us into second place just eight seconds behind Knox before another proven Hunter in Mark Thompson put us 29 seconds up with the second-fastest div.2 time on the 10.5km leg. Han Quach (26:54) extended that slightly on the Hogan’s Rd leg but Beau Lang (20:48) was not able to hold off Knox’s last runner and we finished second, two minutes down on Knox, but three ahead of Box Hill in third.
It was our best men’s placing on the day.
So on to Bundoora and the Vic 12km, the premier cross-country race of the winter.
See you there.


Division 3 by Grant Smethurst

Trevor and Andrew Ross had done all the hard work to get our team organised in the week leading up to Saturday making it very easy for us to show up and run on the day. Always very relaxed for the Div 3 & 4 Men as the last teams to get underway and even more so in the crisp but still and sunny conditions that greeted us. We adopted a four car strategy for our five runners and scattered to all parts of the course before the gun went.

Fred Sudeau’s warm up apparel suggested a preference for the south of France rather than the hills of Harcourt at this time of year but after his support crew got him underway he tackled the climb up Mt Alexander to have us well placed in a tight mid-field battle at the first change over. Shaun Lenehan ditched the beanie and raced off down the hill at the start and then held on up the hill at the end of the second stage to pick up a spot and have us placed 7th at the changeover.Grant Smethurst took up the running unsure what to expect at his first effort over the third leg of the course. But when left for dead from the top of the hill by a runner half his height, one-third his age and prepared to go twice as fast going down the hill, he learned that that was where this leg really got going. Reaching the relatively flat road at the bottom was a welcome sight as was the smooth changeover as the tasuki was swapped with the car keys and directions on where to find it!Having acclimatised by arriving in Bendigo the night before, Leo Enter ran a really good fourth leg to bring us back in touch with Essendon and Coburg at the final changeover.James Roberston wandered down from his home just near the start of the final leg to bring us home. The local knowledge worked a treat as he picked up two spots in running one of the quickest times for the division on that leg to cross the line in 7th place. But as is a regular feature of Coliban relay’s Sth Melb made a mess of their efforts and got themselves disqualified that saw us elevated to 6th.A really good effort all round, no one got lost or left behind and we posted our best team result for the season.

Division 4 by Andrew Ross

Courage is a word often used in distance running, but there has never been a more appropriate usage than to describe Division 4 lead-off runner Shane Davin’s effort. Carrying not only the sickness and lethargy of recently diagnosed glandular fever, Shane was also hit by a severe rash caused by an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, which would have caused many a runner to pull the pin.

Possibly not realising how unwell he actually was, Shane arrived at the start line ready to go. All he had to do was complete 5.5k of mostly uphill dirt roads, as quickly as possible. And somehow he did! An excellent (under the circumstances) time of 25.09 led to a passing of the sash to Matt Haeussler, who completed his 6km leg of mostly trails with a nasty hill hear the end, in 24.58.
When team managers who haven’t run this event before choose their legs, they should probably take more notice of the up hills, and less notice of the downs. In selecting the longest leg at 8.4km, I figured that the mostly downhill second half would make up for what appeared to be a small but sharp hill in the middle. It didn’t! The hill, as all leg 3 runners would attest, was a killer, not only going up, but also coming down the steep, rocky fire access trail on the other side. A time of 34.07 was achieved with some relief.
The sash was then passed to John Evans, who continued his good recent form, speeding through his 7.6km leg in an excellent 29.44, at a rate of 3.54 per km.
John passed the sash to our Bendigo boy Victor Cook, who also turned on the turbo jets to knock over the last 5.7km leg in a superb 22.05.
Total time for the Div 4 team was 2:16.03, which put us in 7th place on the day, but more importantly, held on to 2nd place overall. Well done to everyone and thanks for your co-operation!


Division 5 by Mick Ryan

Stage One the Orchards was taken on by our young gun Adam Braverman who did a sterling job and set the pace for the
afternoon, Adam then handed the sash to Nenad Radosevic who set off along the Water race after a bit of a hill and some rocky debris
Nenad put the foot down and passed the Sash to Myself who faced the Greg Mcmahon Hill challenge so aptly named, i ran a conservative leg which was proved to be correct when i saw another runner who flew over the rock strewn track only to land flat on his back in the mud!

Being the good sport that i am i helped him up and we continued on our journey..he did pass me later on looking somewhat worse for wear!
feeling the effects of the flu my time was pretty ordinary, lucky for us we had Richard Murray White up next who ran a strong race along Hogans Road , he then handed over to Roland Soderstrom our final runner and chief map reader to head into Bendigo..Roland proved he could not only read a map but also run! Well done gang..some fine performances and we didn’t get lost! unlike last year.


Division 6 by Joe Murphy

Relay‘logistics’ planning meeting.
These planning meetings, held outside the Harcourt Pool, are traditionally more like a meet and greet session. You get to meet some new Hunters or many old faces and spend most of the planning time reminiscing, rather than organising the important things like leg selection and car pooling arrangements!

During last year’s planning held amid the chaotic few minutes before race start, Chris Murphy sowed the seed for the potential ‘Hunter-Murphy’ team. He had his son Declan running – if only he or I could find two more Murphys….. we laughed, and aimed to set our sights on Div 7 in 2012.

I remembered our conversation when I responded to TV’s email requesting confirmation from those intending to run this year’s Coliban. I mentioned to TV that we now had 4 Murphy’s (Chris & Declan, Joe & Eamonn) so perhaps we could run a Hunter –Murphy team.

We all took note of TV’s email asking for us to arrive by 11:30am! The usual introductions took a little longer for us this year – instead of reliving our past glories most of our planning time was taken up with discussions on our family history, whether we were related and how funny was this weeks edition of Mrs Brown’s Boys! The highlight of the meeting was meeting William D. Although not a Murphy, he looked like he could run a bit so we gave him the last leg this taking the pressure off us in a tight finish!

Declan who volunteered for our first leg, (at least that is what his father told me), finished full of running. He looked strong as he raced up the last hill and handed over to Eamonn. At this point Chris and Joe found themselves at the changeover trying to work out how to complete the result sheet. Having to team manage, run, advise our son’s on warm up , race strategy and record times is a complex activity.

Chris collected Declan, no time for warm down, and we raced to the second changeover. This year there seemed to be many more spectators at the Water Race/Greg McMahon changeover, parking was a premium. We had to park a fair way from the changeover and so this became a long walk or a warm up! I became nervous waiting for Eamonn to come into the changeover…as the time ticked by…my nervousness began to increase as Chris had not arrived.

Then, with perfect timing and looking like a team manager, Chris cruised into the changeover point; adjusted his trusty cap, just in time to take the sash from Eamonn. Chris and I both searched faces in the crowd hoping to catch a glimpse of Greg McMahon – a long time member of Glenhuntly and whom this leg is named after – without success.
Eamonn slowly recovered from the ‘big hill’ on the Water Race Leg (his dad forgot to tell him about) and with a friendly wave from our support team Declan, William, Dianne, Niall, Nick and Heather (Williams Mum) who came to the changeover to cheer us on. With our confidence now on the increase due to our superb logistical planning – two changeovers and no mishaps, and map reading capacity the envy of other teams, we were on the road again to changeover 3.
Our planning skills were now fully on display as we arrived at the 3rd changeover with loads of time up our sleeve. This gave plenty of time for a long warm up before the changeover with Chris. Although we had discussed our changeover tactics prior to race start, we had decided to forego any practice changeovers relying on our experience to ensure we did not drop the ‘sash’.

Chris produced a very smooth changeover, reminding the large crowd watching of his days as an elite 4 x 100m relay runner, calling out to Joe a few inches before the changover line to start running – we aimed to hand over the ‘sash’ right on the changeover line, directly in front of the timekeepers – mission achieved – we even had time to have a chat, scan the crowd one more time to see if Greg McMahon had shown up. It was the last time I saw Chris & Declan for the day.

I took off on my leg – a bit tentatively because I had never ran this leg before. It must have been too tentative because an official at the first turn asked me “are you racing?” This comment stunned me into action, and surprisingly I managed to pass one other runner on my leg. Coming into the changeover I caught sight of William and handed over the sash to him.

After collecting the time sheet from Eric Sigmont with the parting comment ‘Chris asked me to give you this – you will know what to do now” we found our way to the Bendigo Athletic Track and cheered William on as he raced around the track taking the Hunters Division 6 Team into 5th place.
We were indeed lucky to have a great support crew in Div 6 – our thanks to:
·Heather for bringing William along and for her generous support along the course

·Dianne Keely, Niall Murphy & Nick Keely for bringing Eamonn and Joe along, working our where to go, timekeeping and for getting up early making sandwiches and cake for afternoon tea.

The Coliban Relay is an enjoyable team running event held on a great course and for two older Hunters it gave us the chance to run in a team with the future of Glenhuntly – Thanks Declan, William and Eamonn.

Our only disappointment is that we missed seeing Greg McMahon…..maybe next year! I hope you got home OK Chris & Declan?


Division 7 Team 1 by Eric Sigmont & Division 7 Team 2 and 3 by Phil Hutton

Team 1
Marlee Harrison, a third generation Hunter, lead off in fine style, giving away age and experience, but placed us nicely in a competitive midfield position after recording 26:24 (a rating of 4:48/km) in the uphill first stage.

At the first hand-off, Glen7 took line honours for both the greatest age and height differentials when Eric Sigmont took the sash from Marlee.  Eric maintained sixth position, the last hill before the finish proving to be a real test, his time 27:52 (4:39/km).

Fellow superannuant Len Johnson ran the long 8.4 km third leg.  A time of 37:10 and a great 4:26/km was not good enough to improve our position against much younger rivals.

Hugh Wilson, running in his first Coliban, and the youngest of the ex-APS triumvirate, ran an excellent fourth leg of 7.6 km in 34:57 (4:36/km).

Daniel Loader stole the show for our team with fastest time in Division 7 with 23:02 (4:02/km) to take us into 3rd in the AV ranks.  Congratulations to Ballarat Region for a decisive victory.

It was a great day for a run in the apple heartland of the state, and any concerns that we had about transporting ourrunners were soon alleviated at Harcourt.

It was an incredible sign of our great depth of runners that for the first time in the history of the race (it began in 1997) we fielded NINE men’s teams; albeit one an invitational team.

Last year we fielded a record six teams and this year we managed division 7 teams for only the second time; and we had three division 7 teams.

Team 2 was made up of three invitational runners, plus Marc Chew and Bruce McInnes; they finished in seventhplace, taking 2 hours 29 minutes 25 seconds

The team was led off by Lyndon loader who had the task of a hill climb finish;  reminiscent of the Tour De France. It was tough, but he ran a creditable 26:54, to come in 7th. Willy Raub, also an invitee, was the teams star performer, running faster than our team 1 runner, and lifting the team into 4th place. Awesome effort. Humphrey Enter took on the long and challenging stage 3, with its big hill climb and treacherous descent, to move us into 3rd place; agreat performance. Marc Chew, over his flu illness that affected his 16km outing, took the 7.6km run with its fall of 13m and we fell to 6th place.   The run home was awarded to good country lad, and the fastest sprinter in the team, Bruce McInnes, whose leg fell 14m and he managed a time of 28:26 for the 5.7km and we finished in 7th place.

Team 3 was made up of the club heavyweights, and they finished in 10th place; and a total time of 3 hours 19 minutes 14 seconds.

The team used its trump card right at the start. Tony Doran was given the honour of leading our team out into the unknown. For a while there, we thought we had lost Tony because he was finding the going tough. As he approached base camp one, he must have thought he was climbing Mt everist, as the air was rareified and he was certainly gasping for oxygen. He completed his leg in 34.26 in 11th place, just 10 minutes behind the division 7 leaders. Phil Hutton was next, and was faced with continuing to the summit and then racing down the steep descent; its wasn’t good for the knees. Then it was on to the water-race and its impressive views across the valley. Easy going here until emerging from around a corner was“the hill”, and pain. Phil managed to get the sash on to our top recruit from Coburg; Mohommed Reese. Phil managed to gain some ground but kept us in 11th place. This third leg and 8.4km challenge, named after former clubman Greg McMahon, belies its claim to a 124m fall over the distance, with a gut wrentching hill in the middle stages. Mohommed held on to 11th place but we wereonly 9 minutes off 10th place. Could we get there?

Peter Buller, our oldest competitor, set out to chase it down. It was a long 7.6km for PB along undulating roads both sealed and unsealed, and he did gain some time on 10th place. Peter ran 48.21 to be just 7 minutes 40 secs adrift of 10th.  So now it was up to the “super tanker”Kev Esmore, running the last leg and chasing the Waverley and Nunawading teams. Kev, who has sold out of Ivanhoe and moved to Bendigo, knew the course well and was our hope for a big finish.  Nunawading, seeing what they were up against, threw in the towel and didn’t finish, but Waverley threw in a gun runner, leaving Kev 16 minutes behind him. Kev,despite a big finish to the cheers of his teammates, just failed by 3 secs to break 40 minutes for his 5.7km.  Adding to that disappointment, afternoon tea was packed up, and everyone was out of there. Thankfully, Kev had brought his own thermos but missed out on the delicious afternoon tea. Sorry Kev.


Overall, a great day for the club and good efforts by our teams.



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