For Adelaide’s inaugural On Squad Race, a warm and windy Glenelg evening greeted nearly 200 runners prepared to tackle a technical 5km course that consisted of 4 x 1.25km loops. On the scenic esplanade just south of Moseley square, the team at On Running had created a fantastic event village, and had subsequently attracted a great crowd. Equipped with complimentary cow bells, spectators and teammates generated a lot of energy throughout the night in order to help competitors across the finish line. RunAsOne took advantage of this opportunity for a positive start to 2022, and were thrilled to boast the most entrants on the night. Leading our 16 teams home, RunAsOne teams 1 and 10 secured overall victory in both the men’s and women’s categories respectively, and took home some very generous prizes from On! Behind them, there were many more fantastic runs from our 8 male teams, 4 female teams, and 4 mixed teams.

After receiving our bibs, lolly bags, and cow bells from our team captains, the first runners of each team were invited to the starting chute for a photo prior to the start time of 6:15. With the sun still high in the sky, a sea of sunglasses and caps then made their way to the start line to receive their final instructions. On the starter’s commands, 49 teams were set off on the tight and technical course which made for a mad rush to be in the first few before the cones started to funnel everyone in to single file. Eventually, Jacob Cocks and Zoe Toland were the first to hand over to the second runners for the leading male and female teams, and enjoyed the opportunity to turn and cheer on their team mates as they each got their respective teams off to a great start! Heading in to the second leg, Riley Cocks was tearing up the course on his way to the fastest split of the night in a time 10 seconds faster than his brother. Similarly, Tessa Gaynor was holding on to the lead for the RunAsOne ladies who were now only ahead of another RunAsOne female team. In the second placed team, Ola Wicik had handed over to Tash Jarrett who was making an impressive return to running post injury with one of the fastest splits of the night! In to the 3rd leg, Tom Lancaster backed up his successes at the Bay Sheffield Carnival over Christmas with another strong run, while Issie Hume joined Riley as the fastest split of the night narrowly beating Zoe’s time from the opening leg. Meanwhile, young Rio Hamajima kept the 2nd RunAsOne female team on the podium despite racing against much older, and more experienced competition. Finally, it was Bryn Nicholls and Lucy Hinton who had the honours of crossing the finish to secure victory for RunAsOne, with Jen Roberston anchoring the women’s second team to also be the second team home on the night, and join their RunAsOne teammates on the podium!

While the podium finishers enjoyed much of the attention from the commentary team, there were some fantastic efforts unfolding not too far behind them. Our 2nd men’s team ran a competitive race against far more experienced competition. With Patrick Hunt and Clayton Warden-Flood forced to spend a significant amount of time on the sidelines recently, it was exciting to see them back joining forces with Ryan Haylock and Oscar Bloomfield to finish 4th overall. Next to finish, our team of dads were once again out to lead by example! Reece Tilbrook, Simon Wegener, Matt Warner, and Matt Dimonte recorded a super consistent series of splits to finish 7th overall! In 9th, the team made up of Harry Young, Dylan Trenerry, Brant Lang, and Ben Bishop just edged out another top 10 finish for RunAsOne by the team consisting of Charlie Comerford, Tom Morris, Cameron England, and Nicholas Mallia. Just outside the top 10 teams on the night, George Blackett, Tony Jarrett, Nick Edwards, and Matt Ormsby also kicked off 2022 with a strong hit out! It was a welcome return for Matt after a long and frustrating layoff due to injury. Still in the first half of teams across the line, the quartet of Adam Wilson, Jack Blake, Jarryd Pike, and Cam Retallick ran very strongly on the night. Not too far behind them, the team of Chris Sproston, Tom Weightman, Andrew Heathershaw, and Anthony Pettinau only narrowly missed averaging 4:00/km as a team, demonstrating that they were strong enough to handle the hot and windy conditions. Similarly, Liam McInerney, Andrew Brett, Andrew Perry, and Stephen Goddard earned the right to walk home more than satisfied with their efforts to finish as the 23rd team out of 43 finishers.

As onlookers continued to enjoy what must have looked like a festival of fitness, the next RunAsOne team home certainly turned the most heads on the night! Aged between 10 and 12, the team made up of Leon Kurashima, Hina Hamajima, Reve Tilbrook, and Archie Warner performed exceptionally well to finish as the 29th team across the line! In a challenging event for the many trained adults taking part on the night, the RunAsOne youngsters made it look easy, each managing a finishing kick as big as the smile that they ran the rest of the race with! Just behind these future stars, members of two more RunAsOne mixed teams recorded some fantastic individual results to keep their team mates in touch with the field, and therefore able to benefit from the healthy competition on offer! In an exciting internal battle, Gus Wilson managed to hold off a fast finishing Scott Vears to help his team finish just 23 seconds ahead of the team I’m calling the “Power Couples!” Gus’ teammates Sam Potts, Liv Stephens, and Matt Cooper all ran very well to give Gus the lead ahead of Scott and Sarah Schubert, and Scott and Sharlene Vears! Still averaging under 5:00/ km as a team, our 3rd female team was next home. Mayuko Kurashima, Annie McMichael, Anna Kovac, and Nola Paul all had strong runs! Finally, our 4th female team provided some of the best displays of teamwork across the night, and captured the RunAsOne spirit perfectly! Rowan McKeown, Jane Shepherdson, Kim Capper, and Fiona Stokoe successfully completed the 20km journey, and were joined by a number of teammates who were by their side for the final leg as they crossed together in a bit over 2 hours. Fiona’s anchor leg was also accompanied by a picturesque Glenelg sunset that was the perfect ending to a very enjoyable event for all!

So that’s a wrap on one of our biggest participation events so far. The 16 teams of 4 were also joined by a number of volunteers from the group who were mostly preparing for Sunday’s Trail Race at Belair! Special mention also to teammate Justin McDonald who made the trip down from Penola for the event, and filled in for the team from Sportitude. Overall, it was once again another fantastic opportunity to come together in our team colours, and we’re looking forward to many more similar events in 2022! For now, it’s back to the training track on Tuesday with our sights set on a range of upcoming events from ultra distance trail races, to 1500m on the track! Regardless of the goal, we’ll be working towards it together!