Thursday, May 18, 2006

Caboolture Road Runners’ Mark Parsonson withstood a cracking early pace set by Ballina’s Dom Howard to run out a decisive victor in this year’s edition of the Bananacoast Ultramarathon between Grafton and Coffs Harbour. The 50 year old Queenslander responded to the early pace-setting in a calm and collected manner establishing an insurmountable lead once Howard discontinued their duel. He crossed the finish at the Hotel Coffs Harbour in a time of 7 hours 36 minutes and sixteen seconds which gave him one of the greatest winning margins since the event’s inception in 1983.

Sydney’s Paul Every who had moved into second spot by Nana Glen held that position despite having his steps dogged through the final twemty five kilometres by a persistent Geoff Last. Every’s time of 8.46.26 was somewhat disappointing for him but suffering as he was from a slight headcold he was happy to claim the runner-up position. Last was third less than four minutes later. Howard had slowed to a rather painful walk for much of the distance between Glenreagh and Nana Glen sensibly deciding to end his race at that point. The 58 kms had taken him 6.11.45.

All the runners had the option of completing the full 83 kilometres or settling for the shorter 58 kms to the school gate at Nana Glen. Both count as Ultramarathons. Three others, Richard Munro, Peter Whittaker and John Rose also called a halt at 58 kms. One runner, fourth placed Glenn Lockwood from Little Bay changed his mind just prior to the event opting for the full 83 kms completing the distance in 9.43.38. Geoff Williams had been his shadow throughout, filling fifth in 10.05.30.

The final finisher was no stranger to the Orara Way. He had covered the full course no less than twelve times before and by combining running and fast walking Geoff Hain was able to establish himself as the only person to have completed the Bananacoast event thirteen times. His time of 10.40.08 is remarkable given that he has only actually done four runs since last year’s victory in the event which finished in Grafton, preferring to concentrate on his walking, particularly 24 hour events! He now has the distinction of being the only Australian male to have achieved 100 miles walking in 24 hours four times.

All the competitors and their crews were grateful to the management and staff at the Hotel Coffs Harbour for their courtesy and hospitality at the finish.

RESULTS IN FULL – 83 KMS – Mark Parsonson 7.36.16, 1; Paul Every 8.46.26, 2; Geoff Last 8.50.11, 3; Glenn Lockwood 9.43.38, 4; Geoff Williams 10.05.30, 5; Geoff Hain 10.40.08, 6. 58 KMS – Dom Howard 6.11.45, 1; Richard Munro 6.13.00, 2; Peter Whittaker 6.15.00, 3; John Rose 6.20.28, 4.

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