Australia day is all about celebration. Rejoicing in the fact that we live is such a great country where for the majority of us life is good. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s past and be thankful for the present. This special day is best enjoyed in the company of friends and family. Sharing a few beverages while taking in the sunshine that tends to grace us at this time of the year. But for a select few, this is a day of punishment, albeit still surrounded by mates and members of your clan. By punishment I mean suffering. Actually, that doesn’t clear things up at all! What I’m getting at, is on this auspicious occasion there’s a little event in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney that draws many a mad runner to take on a 5km circuit for either a 3-hour run, or for the really sadistic ones, a 6-hour event…now you know what I mean about a day of suffering!
The loop is scenic, technical in parts and hilly, on the bush trails of Glenbrook. It’s not that tough on a single lap, but after a couple of hours of them it gets a bit more challenging. The hills get steeper, the ground more uneven and the 5km circuit seems that little bit longer. On this occasion the weather was overcast and cool. A field of over 300 arrived along with their crew to enjoy a community spirited morning of running, celebrations, BBQ’s and laughs. Most of these things were enjoyed by the spectators, while the majority of those doing the event only had the running part covered, with a beer and sausage sandwich at the end.
It’s an incredibly enjoyable day and in some regards the running is just a sideshow. Really it’s about people with a shared passion getting together and having some fun doing what they love. In the end, James Sweeney managed to avoid the distraction of the frivolity and knocked out 14 laps in 6:14:31 to win the 6 hour race. It takes a steady approach to the laps to get through such an arduous challenge. Kath Carty did a sensational 12 laps in 5:54:48 to take out the ladies. In the shorter or ‘Saner’ of the two races, Dave Byrne did 9 laps in the men’s with Jim Perret covering 8 for second place. The women’s was taken out by Heidi Rickard with 7 laps.
I can’t recommend this event more. It’s such a pleasant and supportive atmosphere and an enjoyable course to run on. Plus afterwards you can explore the mountains or just hang around for a BBQ and a beer.
1. Kath Carty 12 laps – 5:54:58
2. Sonia Condron 12 laps – 6:04:54
3. Aileen Waldron 11 laps – 6:17:00
1. James Sweeney 14 laps – 6:14:31
2. Az Roberts 14 laps – 6:24:02
3. Damien Smith 13 laps – 6:15:52
1. Woodstock 1 (Phil Coote, Nic Bailey) 14 laps – 6:14:53
2. Traces of Nuts (Luke Nuttall, Melissa Cocks) 14 laps – 6:24:02
3. Gateway Lifestyle 1 (Trent Ottawa, Paul Hadfield) 14 laps – 6:23:37
3. Gateway Lifestyle 2 (Darren Ottawa, Peter Hamilton) 14 laps – 6:23:37
1. Africans (Ulrike Schmidt, Ulrich Schmidt, Cameron Liney) 14 laps – 6:29:31
2. Pack Runners (Paul Burgess, Anthony Schnabel, Cat Burgess, Kate Schnabel) 13 laps – 6:22:32
3. AKA (Kellie Gibson, Andrew Richards, Alix Campbell) 12 laps – 6:00:23
1. Heidi Rickard 7 laps – 3:10:58
2. Sophie Brown 7 laps – 3:21:40
3. Maggie Jones 7 laps – 3:23:36
1. David Byrne 9 laps – 3:16:48
2. James Perrett 8 laps – 2:59:43
3. Andrew Tuckey 8 laps – 3:08:05
1. Nut Crackers (Paul Robertson, Brian Smith) 8 laps – 3:00:16
2. The Generation Game (Ian Bridges-webb, Mark Hebden) 8 laps – 3:21:25
3. Team Rilla (Tim Higgins, Ella Jamieson) 7 laps – 3:02:54
1. Blue Mountains Youth Academy (Rob Spilling, Earl O’Brien, Paul Loader, Coopper Kingsley) 8 laps – 3:00:10
2. Team Lawson (Ben Simson, Luke Simson, Andrew Simson) 8 laps – 3:18:19
3. Yorkshire Puddings (David Jagger, Benjamin Jagger, Rachel Keenleside) 7 laps – 3:24:55