Saturday, May 14, 2005

Walhalla Wound Up 50km Trail Race 8-5-2005

Walhalla Wound Up 50km Trail Race 8-5-2005

1. Mike Wheatley 3:30:54
2. Robert Gray 3:30:59
3. Kelvin Marshall 4:06:06
4. Nellis Dippenaar 4:12:31
5. Danny Schranz 4:13:02
6. David Bedford Lee 4:19:22
7. Sandra Timmer-Arends [F] 4:23:00
8. Robert Embleton 4:59:46
9. Bruce Salisbury 4:59:47
10. Kevin Cassidy 5:14:20
11. Garry Wise 5:17:46
12. Barry Higgins 5:36:34
13. Brendan Mason 5:55:33
14. Brian Glover 6:19:45
DNF’s at 37km
Daniel Thompson [3:09:36]
Tim Cochrane [3:09:37]
Steve Hyde [3:29:26]
Peter Gray [7:06:28]

Report by Kevin Cassidy

I’ve often wondered what it is with certain events that keeps us coming back again and again. For me, returning to Walhalla this year was a tougher than usual undertaking. Crippled with a groin injury that barely allowed me to walk until as recently as two weeks ago and the ensuing lack of fitness as a result of a long layoff, I was almost forced to remain home in Melbourne.

Doped with pain killers and anti inflammatory pills and quite sure that if I did make it to the finish I would be slower than Steve Bracks’ snail paced “Fast Rail” project, I hit the road out of Melbourne with the otherwise uneventful drive being punctuated by a visit to the local supermarket in Moe for the important acquisition of a bottle of Diet Coke. My somewhat inadequate grasp of modern technology came to the fore at the checkout when I asked the young operator if he would stop the conveyer belt. “They work automatically via laser beam” he replied poker faced, “And have been for six or seven years now”. Much to the amusement of various staff members, I slunk away red faced.

As has become customary, the previous night was spent at Rawson Village some 15km from Walhalla where the hospitality is both cheery and convivial. The breathtaking drive into Walhalla the following morning provided the unusual sight of a sweating and huffing Brendan Mason making the journey to the start on foot. Brendan was looking for a 65km run as a lead up to the Comrades Marathon and the road from Rawson provided the perfect canvas. Any wondering and self doubt I may have had about returning here were immediately put to rest upon arrival in Walhalla’s main street. If you are not totally enchanted by this town, then you are simply not alive. Let me tell you sincerely, God made Walhalla and the rest of the world is just a cheap imitation. The Autumn display of horticultural abundance is awesome to say the least

Kelvin Marshall was stoked with glee during the pre race activities, apparently his beloved Richmond football team had won a game the previous night, an achievement that seems far beyond the utmost capabilities of the Collingwood team. Looking confident was Australian 100km Team Captain, Mike Wheatley, who had his entire family along to tackle the important “Cheer Squad” role.

Race Director, Bruce Salisbury, along with his long suffering family and numerous other Traralgon Harriers members, devote huge quantities of their time and labour to this event. You can’t miss Bruce, he wears a large fluorescent hat that would not look out of place on a teenage girl at a Kylie Minogue concert.

I was still handing over my entry fee with a crumpled $10 note as the main street filled with eagerly awaiting runners. With a couple of shorter options [37km and 19km], spare room on the starting line was of the essence. Content just to do the 19km was Peter Bignell, “I brought the family up for Mothers Day, so I can’t really go off running ALL day” was his lame [but commendable, I guess] excuse for avoiding the 50km.

Bruce’s pre race announcement had us on the back foot when we learnt that Bruntons Bridge was temporarily out of bounds and the 50km course we had become so accustomed to had been hastily rearranged. Poor Bruce had only made this discovery late the previous day and had little, if any, time to start remeasuring new trails. Basically, the “new” course involved following the 37km route all the way back into Walhalla before a roughly estimated [by Bruce] 13km climb and return to the top of the range. While initially disappointing, the change was to afford us the opportunity to traverse a number of trails not previously used for the 50km option. Such trails were to be of bounteous beauty.

As always, the early running took in the spectacular Thomson River with the encompassing view from the Poverty Point Bridge being the notable highlight. Caution is needed here as a wrong turn will see you hiking the trail to Canberra many hundreds of kilometres away. I guess the sight of John Howard being chauffeured around in his Prime Ministerial car would be ample evidence of a grossly incorrect and worrying choice of trail…….even more astounding would be the sight of Peter Costello trying to chase Little Johnny out of The Lodge. Take it from me, Pete, and don’t waste your time…..With no credible alternatives on the horizon, Johnny looks like being at the helm of our gaggle of politicians for a long time yet. Whoops. I appear to have become a little side tracked.

The historically restored railway station at 14kms was where Brendan Mason and I linked up. We basically stayed in touch over the next couple of hours until about 32km before returning back past Thomson Station just prior to the steam train departing on its journey up the valley to Walhalla. We covered ourselves in “glory” by running in front of a camera being used by a puffy faced, chubby looking tourist who was furiously trying to capture the train on film. He did not look dissimilar to Kim Beazley in a clown suit. Much to his consternation and with daggered looks in our direction, he had to start filming all over again.

Still running gingerly and gaining confidence that my “drugs” were keeping me pain and injury free, I picked up the pace all the way back into town at 37km only to discover that Mike Wheatley had smoked over the course quicker than a Balinese Customs Officer on a drug raid and was enjoying a shower. Harder to cope with, however, was the collection of 19km runners relaxing in the lazy sunshine and giving appropriate “encouragement” as I forcibly attacked the long climb of the final 13km. The out and back nature of this final section allowed me the pleasurable opportunity to cheer on the returning runners. Kelvin Marshall came flying past faster than an ostrich on speed to grab third position while Sandra Timmer-Arends lamented that she had run out of energy but she was sure moving fast in my book. Sandra took the out the female honours. Unquestionably, the final descent to the finish was a moment I relished as just managing to reach the finish was seriously doubtful five hours earlier.

Crossing the finish line, the town was abuzz with tourists studiously licking ice creams and strolling around aimlessly like confused sheep . The showers at Michael Leaney’s Star Hotel went down a treat in the most sporting of fashions and in almost an instant, a gathering of runners formed on the outdoor deck of the newly constructed Greyhorse CafĂ© where much debate ensued involving comparisons with the rerouted course. Given that times overall seemed to be 10 to 15 minutes quicker than previous years, the debate was substantially one sided, In fact, almost unanimous. Consuming numerous drinks and large quantities of muffins in the sunny and beautiful surrounds made for an agreeable finish to the day. Less than sociable, however, was Robert Embleton. Poor Rob had to dash off to spend the night stacking shelves at the Safeway Supermarket back in Traralgon.

In case you may have misread, Walhalla has captured my imagination in a manner that is hard to describe. My only regret being that I had foolishly allowed 12 months to go by since my last visit. It would be another 24 hours before I departed the area having studied the early mining history and purchasing a few books.

Almost home and entering the oddly named outer Melbourne suburb of Pakenham Upper [which sounds utterly absurd when spoken quickly], the consumption of a jumbo sized pizza became paramount. Imagine my horror as I entered the local Pizza Restaurant to the sight of the chef twisting his finger up his nose and wiping the resulting large green goo onto his apron. More astonishing was the total lack of any concern shown by the other three waiting customers who witnessed this abomination of personal and professional hygiene. I fled this revolting establishment with haste and sought my culinary requirements elsewhere.

Kevin Cassidy

Sri Chinmoy 6 day race results

SRI CHIMNOY 6 DAY RACE/ May 1-7, 2005/ Flushing-Corona Park, Queens, =
New York

Womens WR (road): 510 miles, Dipali Cunningham, Australia
(track): 539 miles, Sandra Barwick, New Zealand
Mens WR (road): 639 miles, Yiannis Kouros, Greece
(track): 640 miles, Jean-Gilles Boussiquet, France

6 Day Men:

1. Danny Ripka, 47, FL 478 miles (US Mens 45-49 =
2. Martin Wagen, 35, Switz. 441
3. Rimas Jakelaitis, 50, Lith/ NY 400
4. Bob Oberkehr, 50, NJ 384
5. Alexander Ponomarev, 27, UKR 370
6. Vladimir Balatsky, 33, Austria 336
7. Zoran Marinkovic, 41, Serbia-Mont., 325
8. Mark Dorion, 45, TX 318
9. Jade Lynn, 29, New Zealand 300
10. Borys Nikolayev, 44, Ukraine 296
11. Andres Ramon, 26, Iceland 281
12. Fred Riemer, 57, Utah 279
13. Chanakya Jakovic, 51, NY (UK) 277
14. Christopher Rana, 28, Germany 273
15. Roman Dzierlatka, 48, CT 250
16. Michal Petriceck, 40, Czech R 245
17. Boris Jakobson, 41, Italy 241

6 Day WOMEN:

1. Dipali Cunningham, 46, Australia 474
2. Kaneenika Janakova, 35, Slovakia 407
3. Friederike Makowka, 45, Switz. 393
4. Karnyati Morison, 58, CAN 324
5. Sonja Muller, 38, Austria 306
6. Petra Missbrenner, 35, Austria 302
7. Dharmaputri Zwetzbacher, 37, Switz. 282
8. Svetlana Samarina, 31, Ukraine 272
9. Ivana Nemcova, Czech Rep. 265
10. Sylva Stradalova, 26, Czech Rep. 258
11. Elvira Janosi, 49, Serbia-Monten. 254
12. Stela Doni, 32, Switz. 253
13. Tatyana Pekhovych, 52, Ukraine 242
14. Ragesri Muzychenko, 35, Ukraine 205

Twenty runners also competed in the Ten Day Race. This race was =
won by Miroslav Pospisek of the Czech Republic with 564 miles and =
Nataliya Hluschuk of Ukraine with 515 miles.

For COMPLETE, OFFICIAL RESULTS please check out:

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