The weekend review

On an unseasonably cold and wet November morning, South Australian Road Runners Club volunteers lined the River Torrens from Athelstone to West Beach in preparation for the 2021 Greenbelt Challenge. At three separate starting points, some of Adelaide’s more resilient runners gathered around the start lines for the 5km, 10km, 21.1km or 30km distances on offer, shedding their final layers of clothing just seconds before the starting gun. Elsewhere, our team mates from the state’s South East faced even worse conditions at the start line of the Naracoorte World Heritage Trail run contested over 23km and 15km. Overall, 64 RunAsOne athletes toed a start line this weekend, and enjoyed the opportunity to pull on their racing shoes and test their recent training progress!

The smaller contingent of RunAsOne runners opted for the trails this weekend, and were no doubt greeted by some slippery conditions in Naracoorte. While PB’s aren’t really relevant due to the unpredictable nature of a trail race course, it is still apparent to all when competitors have a good day! Today, Justin McDonald lead the team home with a 4th place overall that also earned him 2nd in his age category. He finished in 1:37:48, just over 10 minutes ahead of Leigh Symons who also grabbed a top 2 place in his age category, and 6th place overall. Next over the line, Brett Kennedy was 1st in his category running 2:09:32! He finished just ahead of Kate McDonald who earned a spot on the podium finishing 3rd female in 2:10:44! Behind this pair, Brian Wagner was also 2nd in his age category finishing in 2:14:16. Dropping down in distance slightly, Sharlene Vears covered the 15km course in 1:48:34, Kyle Summers his wife negotiate the course while spending some valuable time on the legs, and Bianca Rogers enjoyed her day after making the trip down for the event and completing it in 2:25:15! We look forward to hearing more about this event from the participants, who may just convince a few more RunAsOne team mates to join them for the 2022 edition!

Locally, the remaining 55 RunAsOne racers this weekend gathered at the various start lines of the Greenbelt Challenge. Starting at Athelstone, the 30km competitors faced a deceptively challenging journey through the city and down to the beach. To add to the rolling hills and tight bends along the river torrens, a stiff headwind made life even more difficult today. Coach Riley Cocks lead by example finishing first overall on the longest course of the day. His finish time of 1:38:28 is a positive sign as he continues his marathon preparations. Peter Galanos was next home for the team grabbing a top ten place by finishing 9th overall in 2:03:13! He was followed by Jen Robertson who was first female overall in 2:14:06! Keeping pace with Jen early, Brendan Capper continued his Melbourne marathon preparations with a solid hitout at the 30km distance running 2:19:08. Jessica Bailie was next home in 2:28:13 which was good enough for 3rd in her category, and 6th overall! Next home, and with a marathon preparation in mind, Lili Thomas was elated to finish on a difficult day. She completed the challenge in 3:04:15!

With the same 8:00am starting time, the half marathon runners gathered further down the river at Klemzig to kick off their 21.1km journey. This distance was a little more popular for the team today, so it was nice to see so many familiar faces at the start area! I was happy to enjoy a surprisingly comfortable journey down to West Beach today. Finishing in 67:47 I was first over the line, and was wrapped to be there to witness the close battle between Matt Warner (4th), Simon Wegener (5th), and Mark Routley (6th)! These guys finished in respective times of 1:20:00, 1:21:02, and 1:21:30 which earned them all age category places. Jake Jervis-Bardy was not far behind them finishing in 1:25:47 (3rd age category), in front of Ben Bishop who ran a PB despite the conditions finishing in 1:27:03! There was then another close race among team mates, as Nick Stokoe paced Russ Harris to chase down Anthony Pettinau! Tony held on in the end to finish in a PB 1:36:00, ahead of Russ in 1:36:30 and Nick 2 seconds behind him. Sonia Bushby was next home in 1:43:16, ahead of Ben O’Brien who was fresh off of yet another marathon at Murray Bridge, but still finished strong in 1:46:29! Maddie Stewart was next in 1:50:16, ahead of Linda Follett who earned an age category placing with her time of 1:52:20! Further down the track, Amelia Mislov snuck home inside the 2 hour barrier, after her was Sarah Schubert in a new PB of 2:06! First time half marathon finisher Felicity Wilson debuted in 2:12:40 to record her longest run to date! Next to finish, Hannah Pech took home one of the few PB’s from the morning, finishing in 2:19:11!

Following the 30km and 21.1km start time, the 10km and 5km runners took off together and faced an out and back course starting and finishing at West Beach. The strong tailwind on the way out perhaps lured some runners in to a false security, which was brutally ripped out from under them as soon as they turned around to head back to the coast! It was great to see the young guns Rio and Hina Hamajima demonstrate maturity beyond their years to pace themselves well and finish 1st and 3rd overall in 21:02 and 22:35 respectively. Splitting the sisters, Kate Browne also had a strong run finishing 2nd in 22:25. On the men’s side, Brant Lang was first home in 17:52 powering away from the competition over the last km. Nicholas Mallia joined Brant on the podium finishing 3rd overall in 18:46 which was not too far off of his PB despite the conditions. Leon Kurashima continued his run of age category wins finishing in 22:29, ahead of Mariko Hamajima who finished in just outside 30 minutes.

The 10km event travelled a little further away from the beach, and was the most popular for the RunAsOne team. Sophie Hlipala was the standout performer finishing as first female in a PB time of 38:05! Joining her at the presentations was Bruna Lanzoni who was 3rd female in 45:14, Oscar Bloomfield who was 2nd male in 35:18, and Josh Young who was right behind Oscar finishing 3rd in 35:19! Reece Tilbrook also had a strong PB run to finish top 5 in 36:30 (1st age category) and was subsequently our other sub 40 runner! Closing in on 40 minutes, Tom Weightman ran a 65 second PB to finish in 43:49, to finish ahead of Callum McCartney who continues his return from injury with a strong 46:20 performance. Callum outlasted Stephen Goddard who earned a 2nd place in his age category for his 47:19 finishing time, and claimed household bragging rights over Noa Goddard who finished in 48:44. Noa was rewarded for her run with a 1st place finish in her age category. Both winning their age group categories was Melanie Burfield in 47:21 and Rosey Batt in 47:45. Next across the finish line was Helen Allnutt 2nd in her age group with a time of 48:58. After these ladies, Liam McInerney ran consistent 5 minute kms as part of his long run to finish in 49:47, just ahead of Mayuko Kurashima who was 3rd in her category finishing in 49:54! The 50 minute barrier now becomes the goal next time for Princy Diaosurin (50:06 and 3rd in category), Nola Paul (51:27), and Amy Watson (53:51). Behind this trio, Rowan McKeown had a fantastic morning running a huge PB to finish inside 60 minutes for the first time and set the new standard at 58:48! Rowan was ahead of Lucy Teicher who was 3rd in her category in 1:00:13, Fiona Stokoe (1:07:17), Jane Shepherdson (1:16:55), and Rob Thornton (1:19:13)!

So that’s a wrap on another enjoyable and successful weekend for the RunAsOne team! Across a range of distances, and on varying surfaces, runners did themselves and their team mates proud with their effort and attitude. We look forward to getting back on to the training track this week in preparation for the next opportunity to test ourselves against one another, and the rest of the amazing South Australian running community.