Coming into the Tan Relays, the final event of XCR’14, the season was already promising to be the Glenhuntly Masters most successful one in a long time. With flying machine Craig Semple and evergreen Chris Wardlaw having already won the individual 40-44 and 60+ titles respectively, it was up to the 50+ team to hold on to its 5 point lead on the ladder to win the title. Normally the gun 40+ runners Craig Semple and Peter Macknamara are enlisted to the Div 1 and 2 Open teams, but with both teams out of contention, it was decided to enter a 40+ Dream Team to try to win the event. The pair were ably supported by the returning Simon Lindsay, a former Hunter who has come back to do some short racing after running marathons for the past few years. I did mention to Simon that it is possible to mix up distances and just compete in everything!
When TV and I were tossing around the Dream Team option, I suggested (perhaps unfairly) that Simon would have to run close to 13:00 minutes flat for us to win the event. In the end, he ran an excellent 13:07 following Peter Mack’s 12:36, then it was up to Craig Semple to chase down the tearaway leaders Waverley. As it turned out, Craig completed the fastest Hunter split of the day, a brilliant 11:42, but unfortunately couldn’t completely close the gap, coming in 4 seconds behind Waverley, in second place. Sadly, my prophecy about Simon needing to run 13:00 minutes was pretty close to the mark, but kudos to all three boys who gave it their very best, and won a Silver Medal! The second 40+ team of Ian Henderson (15:40), John Evans (15:47) and Attila Tokai (15:12) finished in a commendable 7th place.
The 50+ team only needed to finish 4th or better, to win the overall title. With Vic Masters stacking their Div 5 team, we knew we were a chance to win our third relay gold medal of the season. Paul Strangio led us out as usual with a super-consistent 13:34, but unfortunately Box Hill had a 12:28 so we were a bit behind. Andrew Ross ran a PB of 13:36 to get the lead back by the end of leg 2, then it was up to the promoted Roland Soderstrom to hold on. After being passed by Box Hill’s 3rd runner, Roland camped behind him until very near the end, when he took him by surprise and came home for the Gold Medal! Roland ran an excellent 14:20 under a lot of pressure.
Well done boys, and also to the second 50+ team of Mick Ryan (14:49), Victor Cook (14:39) and Dennis Gellert (16:00) who came in 7th. Congratulations also to the 11 other Masters who competed in Open divisions, including filling Div 6 and Div 7.
And finally, a special congratulations to Craig Semple, who received the Hunter Masters Winter Champion award at the Winter Presentation Night.