Athletes brave horrid conditions for Albany Athletics Club’s feature cross-country championship

Albany Advertiser
Runners braving the wintery conditions on Sunday.
Camera IconRunners braving the wintery conditions on Sunday.

The Albany Athletics Club’s feature cross-country championship events were met with what one veteran club member called “the worst conditions in 25 years” on Sunday.

Officials had to contend with gale-force winds and driving rain to set up a headquarters even before the runners arrived for the last event of the three-race series.

Despite the poor weather more runners than last week actually turned out for the final championship events in the series at the challenging Terry Road course.

These runners included a wide spread from the very young to the veteran stage and they provided some remarkably strong performances under the hostile conditions.

The winners in the club championship events were Colin Pass and Carolyn Evans (6km), Mitchell Eley and Georgia Whitelaw (4km), and Jindy Boyle and Lillian Molenda (2km).

The rugged 6km course held no fears for an experienced Pass who opened up a serious gap on John Toomey in the first 4km and won comfortably in the sound time of 26min.50sec. with Dan Smith and Jeff Douglas filling the minor placings.

Veteran Evans was the only competitor in the female division of the 6km run and had to battle solo for the testing course.

The 4km run provided the highlight performance of the morning when Eley, after taking the top honours in his school cross country on Monday, produced another astonishingly fast 17:35 only nine seconds off his run at Terry Road a fortnight earlier.

Whitelaw was well short of her best 4km performance but fought out a hard finish to be first female across the line.

Young runner Boyle in the 2km run was another who spectacularly conquered the adverse conditions and actually carved a massive 25sec. off his time from a fortnight ago.

Molenda also coped well with the tough conditions and finished strongly as first female.

In that memorable 4km run, Caleb Benson had to be content with the runner-up position but took heart from his fine performance in the State schoolboys championship in Perth on Thursday.

His top-20 finish in that event won him an invitation to the State development squad for the national titles.

There was a sideshow for the bulk of runners who were not serious championship contenders.

Ryder Elliot’s 15:13 2km time was remarkably close to the randomly selected 15:16, Tony Benson’s 19:35 4km was not far from the selected 19:16 and Dan Smith, 33:35 in the 6km, was in the same paddock as the selected 32:29, were the prize winners.

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