Excitement was high as we arrived for the first race of SIS16, back at one of our favourite venues from last year, Eltham College. There was no easing anyone in, it was straight into the deep end. Course setter Mike made full use of all the niches, nooks and crannies. The Mo Farah course had a map flip as well, just to add to the complexity. A massive crowd came along and enjoyed a fantastic afternoon – great racing, followed by some expert tips by our Finnish coaches Noora and Lotta. They’ll be at Keilor Downs Schools next week, so say “hi”, and stay around for their post- race training session.
It seems some people have forgotten the ‘forbidden to cross” rules, and were spotted heading straight across an olive green area (though full marks to the runner who upon realising he was about to do the same, literally ran in reverse!). Not only is it against our Fair Play rules to cross an out of bounds area, but we jeopardise the good relationships we have with our venues, so please remember to stay away from out of bounds areas.
On the Mo Farah course, the Aussie boys have taken a back seat recently to the overseas “invaders” – first the Danes, then the Brits. This time they came to the fore and put on a great show! Kerrin Rattray led right up until leg 26, when he was finally overhauled by Bruce Arthur – Bruce went on to win by just 3 seconds, in 16 mins 47 seconds. Brodie Nankervis, in third place, was only 7 seconds behind Kerrin, so it was a fantastic three way battle! The unstoppable Tash Key won the Womens category and was 4th overall, less than a minute behind Bruce. Our Finnish coach Lotta Kirvesmies was second, and familiar face Liis Johanson was third. Already the Yellow Jerseys are shaping up as a great contest.
The Green Jersey leg was a straight dash across the oval, but coming immediately after the hill climb, it was tough to catch your breath beforehand. James Robertson and Shane Mallia tied for the win, with Bruce in third. Mel Gangemi took out the Womens ahead of Jane Coogan and Lanita Steer. The Hill Climb leg was also near the end of the courses, and we’d already done our share of contours by then so the spoils certainly went to the fittest – in this case Shane, Sam Poustie and Kerrin on the Mens, and Lanita, Clare Brownridge and Jane on the Womens.
The Sally Pearson course attracted a swag of speedy youngsters stepping up from the Usain Bolt course this year, mixing it with the veterans. Jensen Key was the winner in 12 mins 24 seconds, over a minute ahead of Brody McCarthy and Mason Arthur. Meanwhile Torren Arthur and Callum White featured in a rare tie for fourth. The first of the “Senior Sallys” was Geoff Armstrong in sixth. In the Womens category, Jenny Lawford prevailed, over Sarah Davies and Heather O’Donnell. The Sprint leg was keenly contested with Brody and Steven O’Connell in a tie and Torren third; Kate Francis was the speediest of the women, ahead of Heather and Philippa. Torren took out the Hill Climb from Will Davey and Steve; Heather also climbed quickest ahead of Jenny and Kimberly Mitchell.
We had a huge number of newcomers, including Eltham College students, who tackled the Usain Bolt course. Ashley White, Kobi Yandall and Tony He were quickest, as were Lauren Prentice, Trisha Osbourne, and Paula Davey. The Sprint winners were Alex Liu ahead of Ashley and Angus Hewitt; and Paula, Trisha and Lauren. Our best Hill Climbers were Angus, Ashley and Alex; and Paula, Trisha and Lauren.
Our thanks to Eltham College who always make us so welcome – what a great kickoff to the series. Next Saturday’s race is on a fantastic new map called Keilor Downs Schools. Things are very much under wraps – all I know is that there are two adjacent campuses – and no hills (though of course there will be a Hill Climb leg as always). Series tickets will still be on sale, but this will be your last chance to buy one. Rego opens at 1pm, Starts are from 1.30-2.45pm, and no pre-entry is required. Don’t miss it!