2015 Coburg 24H

2015 Coburg 24 Hour Championships

It is my pleasant duty to report on the 27th annual Coburg 24 Hour Championships which were held at the Harold Stevens Athletics Track in Coburg (Melbourne) on the weekend of 18-19 April 2015. The event also hosted the AURA Australian 24 Hour Track Running Championships as well as the Australian Centurion Walkers annual qualifying event.

The event was subscribed to capacity with entries closing at the designated maximum of 60. As it turned out, we had a number of late withdrawals and a final field of 49 competitors (36 runners and 13 walkers) toed the line for the 10AM start on the Saturday morning.

After a pleasant first few hours of racing, the weather turned ugly, raining for some 5 hours in the early evening, and from then on, conditions remained cold with further showers. The attrition rate was high with a number of entrants having to take time off the track or, in some cases, stopping completely.

But with all that said, the standard was very high with 7 runners over 200km and 12 in excess of 100 miles (and that is with all our top runners at the World 24 Hour Championships in Italy).

The 6 Hour mark saw WA runner Paul Hopwood already in the lead with 66.4km, nearly 2km ahead of Mal Gamble and Justin Scholz. By the 12 hour mark, Mal had nearly bridged the gap, Paul reaching the half way mark with 124.4km, Mal only one lap in arrears and Daragh O’Loughlin a further 3 laps back in third. The stage looked set for a great second half as Mal continued to close the gap over the next hour. But that was as close as he got and he was forced to slow after the 13 hour mark. That left Paul on his own out front and he ran on strongly for a huge PB final distance of 229.873km. Daragh O’Loughlin 225.871km and Rob Mason 216.887km filled the minor places, also with big PBs. The WA runners filled 1st, 4th and 6th spots, a great effort.

24 Hour Run Men
1. Paul Hopwood WA 229.873 km
2. Daragh O’Loughlin VIC 225.871 km
3. Rob Mason NSW 216.887 km
4. Ben Treasure WA 207.335 km
5. Chris Knowles QLD 200.810 km
6. Shaun Kaesler WA 186.315 km
7. Joe Lewis VIC 183.844 km
8. Peter Black VIC 166.802 km
9. Malcolm Gamble VIC 158.800 km
10. Shane James TAS 156.217 km
11. Leigh D’Arcy QLD 151.965 km
12. Kerry Clapham VIC 150.408 km
13. Dean O’Mara QLD 146.930 km
14. Tony Wilms VIC 134.989 km
15. Trevor Allen QLD 132.000 km
16. Graeme Watts QLD 128.512 km
17. Justin Scholz VIC 122.400 km
18. Ken Marsh VIC 106.400 km
19. Dean Metcalf TAS 94.137 km
20. Trevor Marsh VIC 92.400 km
21. James Sylvester ACT 86.800 km
22. George Mihalakellis VIC 82.940 km
23. Peter Gray VIC 76.139 km
24. Robert Knowles QLD 65.600 km
25. Warren Holst VIC 64.000 km
26. Barry McBride SA 62.800 km
27. Rikus Slabbert VIC 62.620 km
28. Brett Easton ACT 26.800 km

Nikki Wynd went straight to the lead in the women’s 24 Hour run, covering 60km in the first 6 hours and continuing on in fine style from there on. Isobal Bespalov was in second place at this stage with 58.4km but she was soon to retire, bequeathing second place to Nicole Barker. The positions remained unchanged over the next 6 hours with Nikki passing the 12 hour mark with 113.2km ahead of Nicole with 111.6km and Sabina Hamity with 106km. As for the men, positions remained unchanged from then on, Nikki eventually winning with 221.113km ahead of Nicole 213.573 and Sabina 192.499km.

24 Hour Run Women
1. Nikki Wynd VIC 221.113 km
2. Nicole Barker VIC 213.573 km
3. Sabina Hamaty NSW 192.499 km
4. Agni Ziogos VIC 161.207 km
5. Kati Bell USA 138.177 km
6. Annabel Hepworth NSW 135.699 km
7. Cassie Smith QLD 80.000 km
8. Isobel Bespalov VIC 73.600 km

The walking event, which also produced some excellent performances, was a race of 2 halves. The first 12 hours was dominated by Michelle Thompson as she powered through, well ahead of anyone else and on record pace. She was rewarded with Australian Open records for 100km (11:38:04) and 12 Hours (103.209km), performances which only a small number of Aussie men have ever matched. She then stopped to have her feet checked and decided on advice to retire as the rain had wreaked havoc with her toes and it was a case of stop now or do more damage. From then on, it was the John Kilmartin show as he powered through to his 100 miles with almost unbelievable consistency, never more than 1-2 secs variation from lap to lap. His 50 mile splits tell the story: 10:33 followed by 10:38 for a 100 mile time of 21:11:56. He then walked a couple of extra laps for insurance purposes and called it quits, job done for the day. Other walk record breakers included Karyn O’Neill (a new W60 12H record of 83.864 km) and Val Chesterton who set inaugural W70 records for 50km, 12 Hours and 24 Hours.

24 Hour Walk Men
1. John Kilmartin (C67) VIC 161.734 km
2. Chris Kelly VIC 131.413 km
3. Saul Richardson NSW 127.825 km
4. Louis Commins NSW 110.102 km
5. Laurie Tinson VIC 101.602 km
6. Robin Whyte (C29) ACT 100.773 km
7. Clarrie Jack (C4) VIC 46.861 km
8. Ian Hoad VIC 43.958 km
9. Ken Carter VIC 41.470 km

24 Hour Walk Women
1. Karyn O’Neill (C45) VIC 133.534 km
2. Diana Kelly WA 128.827 km
3. Michelle Thompson (C58) VIC 106.000 km
4. Val Chesterton ACT 63.864 km