Women – Open & Masters
Round 4 of the cross country races and it is at one of our favourite venues – Brimbank Park. This time it was back to a 6km event – luckily we don’t have to run 16km like the men at this course. It was a beautiful sunny day – how lucky we have been with the weather this season!! There was some concern during the week that there weren’t many girls racing due to the long weekend but we just had 14 girls to make division 1-4.
Tarli Bird was our first runner to come home with a time of 23:30 and coming 7th overall, not far behind was Amelia Aslanides with a time of 23:59 and coming in 10th. Even though Cassie Higham felt she left the team down, she came 22nd with a time of 24:49 and Penny Townshend came in 27th with a time of 25:08 – well done girls for making the top 30. Unfortunately we missed out by 4 points to win division 1.
Belinda Dennett and Laura Eades got 26:28 and 26:40 respectively and not far behind were Claire Oliveri, Robyn Fletcher and Helen Rainey all getting 27 minutes. Alice Enter came in at 28:14 and Natalie Esparon who ran in an ultra run the week before finished in 29 minutes (she was hoping to get under 30 minutes) with Lisa Deramond closely following. Paul Nakase got 30:37 with Rebecca Beagley coming in at 32:16.
Well done to all the girls and hopefully we have won divisions 2, 3 and 4!!
Sunny skies greeted the adventurous group of Hunters who gathered at the foot of the now infamous Col de Brimbank, in preparation for the season’s sternest test. As the brave competitors returned from the early events, there were many questions asked about the state of the course following substantial rain earlier in the week. As it transpired, there was nothing to worry about, the course was much drier than last year (although just as hilly!).
The Hunter Masters’ consistent performances continued, although it could be said that the 40+ group was somewhat undermanned at the top end. Nevertheless, the hardy souls that took part did the club proud. Tony Russo led the way with an excellent 59:06, which put him in 2nd place in the 40-44 category. Richard McGuire-White, in the best form of his recent career, came in second in 1:07:21, and Lyndon Loader, in his first full season, lobbed into the placings for the first time with an excellent 1:17:51. Well done Lyndon. The 40+ team finished in 8th place on the day, and sits 7th on the ladder.
The 50+ team showed the benefit of consistency, with the same trifecta as two weeks ago at Lake Wendouree. Once again Paul Strangio led the way with a brilliant 1:01:22. Andrew Ross again followed with a 1:08:12, and Mick Ryan was again 3rd in 1:09:35. The team finished an improved 2nd on the day, and moved up from equal third to a clear second on the ladder.
With 2nd place in both individual races so far, Paul Strangio is a clear leader in the 50-54 category.
In the 60+ category, Len Johnson (1:20:18) finished 2nd, and moved up to second place on the individual 60+ ladder.
Good work all round by the Hunter Masters, and we’re looking forward to keeping the momentum going at Bundoora.
Hill Brings Rise in Performances
The 16k is the oldest, longest and, with the infamous hill in the middle of the 6k loop, toughest of the Victorian winter cross-country races.
The Brimbank Park leg of XCR13 also brought the best Glenhuntly division one men’s performance of the season to that point, a fifth-place finish for division one built largely on the performances of Toby Rayner and Martin Mashford in breaking into the top 10.
We also got into the team medals, with both the division two and division five teams finishing third – so, a pretty good day, even for those for whom Brimbank is not quite their cup of tea.
Up front, Box Hill’s Steven Kelly made it two wins in a row, adding the 16k title to his 15k road victory at Lake Wendouree two weeks earlier.
Running for the first time this winter, Toby Rayner finished in seventh place. He was joined in the top 10 by Martin Mashford (10th) and with Chris Winter (34), Tony Russo (43), Han Quach (55) and Simon Bowly (58), he led our division one team to fifth place. A team medal has got to be an attainable goal before too much longer.
Special congratulations to ‘young’ Tony Russo for making the first Glenhuntly division one team of his career. Now for the first winning division one team, Tony. Tony is off to Italy on holiday soon to celebrate his new status.
Competition was tough at the top of the division two team, with Beau Lang (64) leading it home, from Paul Strangio (65) and Tyler Coady (67). Julian Kuppler (82), Gordon Meredith (129) and Shane Davin (159) completed the six, with the team finishing third in the division.
Brimbank is also Athletics Victoria’s winter Heritage Round, celebrating the fact that the 16km (formerly the 10 miles cross-country) is our oldest winter event. It has been continually run since the 1890s.
As mentioned already, it also features the infamous hill and thanks go to all those – including many Hunters – who lined the steep path ringing cowbells and yelling encouragement as the field struggled away up the steep climb.
Even when you’re not going so fast, it’s hard to stop in the face of such enthusiastic barracking. Now, if we can just get them around the remaining 15.8k . . .
So, we rolled on to Bundoora Park and the 12k, which was to complete a tough series of races for the men – the 15k road and 16 and 12km cross-countries within four weeks.