I’m not sure what it is, but half-marathon day always seems to produce a beautiful spring morning.
Or so I thought just before the AV half-marathon got under way at Burnley. Until I mentioned it to someone else, who reckoned it was always a little windy.
Maybe he meant winding, because the course along the Yarra Boulevard from Richmond’s Kevin Bartlett Oval is certainly that, but if there was a significant head wind this year, or any other I’ve run it, I failed to notice. Perhaps I’m buried too deep in the pack.
Anyway, on a sunny spring Sunday morning, which most of us would have classified as calm, off we set on the ninth event on the XCR ’13 calendar.
The loop had been shortened somewhat these past two years, and a short out-and-back sector to start, followed by four 5k laps to make up the half-marathon distance. This led to an unpleasant surprise for those who tend to switch off early in the race. When we thought we had covered 7km one lap into the race, it was only five.
As he usually has this winter, Martin Mashford led the 22 Hunter men home, placing an excellent ninth in 69 minutes 53 seconds. Martin has been a real asset to our division one team this year.
Chris ‘winter captain’ Winter was next home in 39th place in 75:50, just 17 seconds and two places ahead of Simon Bowly – another big improver and consistent division one finisher this winter. Peter Macknamara, 59th in 78 minutes, and Han Quach, 70th in 78:45 completed the division one team (it’s five to count in divisions one and two for the half-marathon; four for the other men’s grades).
Paul Strangio’s duties on the weekend included a 24-hour relay at McKinnon Secondary and the federal election, but he made light of a heavy program by leading home the division two team in 79:51.
Leo Enter, Tyler Coady, Shaun Lenehan and Andrew Ross completed the division two team. Divison one finished fifth and division two sixth in the overall team results. None of our open teams finished in the top three, with division five – Chris Murphy, Lyndon Loader, Chris Allan and Marc Chew – finishing fifth to match div.1 as our highest-placed team.
With the Tan Relays yet to come, divisions two, four and five appear well placed to take out team medals for the season. Currently, div.2 is in third place, as is div.4, while div.5 is second.
So roll on the Tan. One lap to tell us whether we have finished the XCR ’13 season in better shape than we came in or, for some of us, how well we have managed the hold the line for another winter.
And, we should tell you, that Tony Russo’s PR department (i.e. Tony) reports that he won the 13th Giro Podistico delle Isole Eolie (presumably a race on the Isle of Eolie) on Tuesday, 10 September by 11 seconds in 21:46.
Nice one Tony, and we hope the trophy gets a) on the plane, and b) through customs on your way home.
Seniors and Masters Women
Round 9 was the Burnley half-marathon and concern we wouldn’t have enough girls to fill all 4 teams but we had exactly 12 girls. It was a great mild, wind-free morning to run a half-marathon and everyone ran so well.
Tarli Bird ran a perfect race, sticking with Chris Winter and then overtaking him at the halfway mark to run her personal best time by 5 minutes in a time of 1:14.44 and gaining 2nd place. Not far behind was Julia Edwards coming in 4th in a time of 1:20.20. Prue Davison and Cassie Higham were not far behind and well done Cass for getting a personal time. Unfortunately we were beaten by Box Hill in 1st division but still a great result.
Belinda Dennett ran well despite her knee injury in 1:33.09 and closely followed by Alice Enter in 1:37. Natalie Esparon ran with Lyndon Loader and got a steady time of 1:40 closely followed by Claire Oliveri who hasn’t done much training but still got a great time of 1:41 and closely followed by Michelle Ong who got a personal time by a few seconds in 1:42.39.
The Master girls finished off division 4 with Robyn Fletcher getting a great time of 1:44 especially as she had run in the Shepparton marathon a few weeks ago with Kara Gilbert not far behind of 1:46 and Lisa Deramond finishing off the team with 1:48.
Well done girls a great result.
It was agreed that the weather Gods had smiled on us again, as the early arrivals set up base camp and kicked the dew off the grass at Kevin Bartlett Reserve. It was Burnley Half-marathon day, the longest race of the season. For many this was the season highlight, for others a fast training run for the Melbourne Marathon in five weeks time. For all Hunters, male and female, it was a chance to improve or cement ladder positions for many teams, in the second last round of the season.
In the Men’s Open divisions, we managed to fill teams down to Div 5, with 11 Masters amongst the 22 men who completed the course.
In the 40+ division, Peter Macknamara led the way in 1:18:00 (7th overall in 40-44) from Dave Spackman (1:29:20) and Richie McGuire-White (1:29:29). The team finished 6th on the day and sits 5th on the ladder, within touching distance of a podium finish.
The 50+ trifecta of Paul Strangio (1:19:51 – 5th in 50-54), Andrew Ross (1:25:56) and Mick Ryan (1:28:07 PB!) filled the placings again (4th time in 6 events – who said running’s unpredictable?). The team finished 3rd and sits a clear 2nd on the ladder with one round to go.
Congratulations to Paul, the overall winner of the 50-54 category for the season.
Well done also to Chris Wardlaw (1:31:51 – 2nd in the 60+ division) and Len Johnson (1:36:17 – 5th in 60+). The final ladders aren’t out yet, but it looks like they will take 3rd and 2nd place respectively in their age category.
So that’s it for the individual races for 2013. Lots of great results once again for the Hunters, and we look forward to closing the season at the Tan in a couple of weeks.