Going into the final race of the Feral Winter Competition, in both the long and short courses, the leader boards were a very closely contested affair.
In the long course Karin Penninga went into the last race with a 21 point lead over Tony Rokov, a 34 point lead over A’re Abera, 43 point lead over Moreno Chiappin and a 59 point lead over Andres Alduan.
With 40 points up for grabs for first place, 35 points for second and 30 points for third, and Tony a no-show, the Winter Championship was there for the taking and shaping up to be a real nail biter, especially given the heavy handicap Karin was carrying into the race.
And it didn’t disappoint with all the competition contenders giving it their all. Karin and Ar’e both crossed the line with empty tanks, both happy with their efforts, the trophy winner was Karin, and the cheer squad popped the bubbly. Ar’e got a creditable 6th.
Karin was quite a way back in 25th with a slower run but it was not from lack of effort as she looked spent enough to throw. There were quite a few back visiting for the weekend, including Adrian Piccoli who snatched 1st.
Isabella Salmon took a break from netball for a fine 2nd place and fastest female on the day (third best female time of the comp) with a sizzling 29 minutes 17 seconds. Andres was 3rd and getting faster every week, how fast can he go? Adam Johnson fastest male finishing in 27th. place with a blistering 25.17.
Whilst the long runners seem to be at their limit, it was a different matter in the short competition with half the field breaking their handicap in their bid to win the trophy.
Breanna Restagno (17.09) and Ava Low (17.50) were the fastest in the female division while Pearson Kasawaya (14.38) and Mason Donadel (14.56) were the fastest in the men’s division. These were not only the fastest times of the race but also the four best times of the whole competition.
It was not surprising that Pearson’s blistering pace also saw him finish in first place over the demanding and at times rough 3.1 kilometre course. Pearson has only been running with the Ferals for a couple of weeks so while he was out of the running for this competition there is no doubt he’ll be a real contender in the next one.
In the race for the short trophy, the three top contenders started the day only two points apart. With their eye on the prize they all dug deep, with all recording personal best runs and all finished well up in the placings.
Unfortunately there can be only one trophy holder and Milla at 7th lead the other three home and adds this title to her 2016 Surfer. Further back at 41st, Adriaan Shields took it easy in his first outing since returning from the Comrades in South Africa where he took only 10:22:31 for 87kilometres ... well done Adriaan. One place ahead was Michael Colaciuri in his debut run.
There are plenty of juniors on the Hill in recent weeks fine tuning for school cross-country. The benefit is less for fitness and more for the experience.
Good running is about finding your pace, holding it, pushing it, battling with other runners, and not getting psyched out. And the time to start preparing for 2018 x-country is now. You probably get fit at some other sport but the occasional run on the Hill is good experience.
Next week is the Solstice Cup. Unlike our competition runs this is a mass start, the faster you are, the further you have to go to your turnaround point.
The shortest distance is 4.6km, longest around 7.2km so everyone still has ‘a chance’ of winning. Its a lot of Feral fun with start time at 4:30pm. sharp. As usual we will be starting at the water tower.
The joggers run each Saturday from the water tower opposite Pioneer Park. Start time during winter is 4.30pm.