Everyone was excited to be at the first Sprint Into Spring race for 2017, even the weather gods turned on a perfect day – not too hot, not too cold, just right! The University of Melbourne was making its Sprint Into Spring debut, after featuring in the inaugural Melbourne Sprint Weekend in 2016. Many of us were back to right wrongs, and some were there for the first time – or the first time in years. One interstater was in Melbourne for a wedding – she ran in between the ceremony and the reception – now that’s dedicated!
Asha Steer also made her SIS debut as a course planner. Asha is Victoria’s top junior elite woman, and is also a UniMelb student. She told me afterwards “I just set the sort of course I like to run”. It was a true Sprint course, with route choice on almost every leg, and constant changes of direction. It was certainly a crowd pleaser, and a great way to kick off the series.
The campus has a lot of buildings and the map looks very complex, but there are plenty of clean running lines. Attention to small details pays off here. The first few controls eased you in reasonably gently, then threw you into something of a whirlpool in the southeast corner, where stairs became important. This scrambled your brain sufficiently before the hill climb leg, where you had to get the legs pumping hard. Next came a couple of longer legs with great route choices, which once again caught you unawares for the upcoming Sprint leg, unless you were checking ahead. Some final zigzags brought you onto the athletics track for a final 100 metre dash right past the arena, and into the finish.
Mo Farah Men – One of our two British coaches, Will, claimed the first victory in 13 mins 49, just 14 seconds ahead of Aussie young guns Brodie and Aston. Will becomes the first Yellow jersey holder for 2017. Junior Brody put everyone on notice by winning the Sprint and Hillclimb legs, and he holds the Green jersey. Bruce takes the Polkadot jersey, as no-one is allowed to hold two jerseys at the same time.
Mo Farah Women – the door was opened by Tash mispunching, which Liis took advantage of to score the win in16 mins 37, and the Yellow jersey. Belinda and Lanita were a close second and third. The jerseys were battled out by familiar names, with Mel claiming the Sprint and Clare the Hillclimb legs.
Sally Pearson Men – last year’s Yellow jersey winner Jensen made short work of the course in 11 mins 40, with Mason and Callum hot on his heels. Steven’s midcourse error pushed him down the overall results, but he dominated the Sprint leg, and was second to Rod on the Hillclimb leg, so the juniors may not have it all their own way.
Sally Pearson Women – Janine was able to hold off 2016 winner Jenny by just 10 seconds, completing the course in 14 mins 27. Heather was a close third, leaving a gap on the next cluster of finishers. Kate claimed the Sprint leg, and Heather took the Hillclimb leg.
Usain Bolt– Ashley had a good clean run to earn the men’s Yellow jersey. Milla held off Claire and Luca and now has the women’s Yellow jersey. Claire retains her Green jersey won last year, and Paula also stays in the Polkdot jersey after winning the Hillclimb leg.
A note about jersey points on this course – we understand that some of the younger competitors may be shadowed or accompanied. For this course, competitors who have completed the course by themselves (without shadowing or outside support) will be placed ahead of shadowed competitors in the jersey points competitions.
Next Saturday’s race features a brand new map at Oxley College in Chirnside Park. Don’t be fooled by looking at Google Maps. Although small, the campus is deceptively tricky, with multi levels, tight turns, and lots of little nooks and crannies, so you’ll need to be on your toes for this one. All courses feature a map flip part way through, and the map scale will be 1:3000. Start times are between 1.30 and 2.45pm, with Registration open from 1pm. Series tickets will be on sale, and you can also sign up for the Interscholastic Challenge – open to all students (including tertiary), teachers and lecturers.