This was the first event conducted along the beachfront. I selected the course which I used for the Kurrawa to Duranbah race which was picturesque but nonetheless was going to be slower than Runaway Bay. How much slower, who would know. It involved the steps at Miami Hill, the hill at Point Danger down into Duranbah (NSW) then back out again. It also involved transitions from road to footpath to road and dodging the odd pedestrian. Twenty five kms down, 25 kms back, times two. The winners were Tim Cochrane and Deanne Nobbs with 8:25 and 9:55 respectively, noticeably slower than the past four years of the event. There were 11 DNF’s from a field of 32 or if you like an attrition rate of a third. On the face of it, the outcome was a disaster. Was it really that bad or should we give it another year? Mark Hutchinson blitzed the first half in 3:17 but had a calf problem and decided to withdraw from the race. Maybe it wasn’t so bad? Changing courses involves lots of work and decisions should never be based on the results of just the one year. I decided to use the same course the following year, then review the position again.
The standout performance for me on this occasion was not by a runner with an excellent time or an emerging talent but was by seasoned veteran Tina Fiegel, then 58. Now, Tina was a sufferer of chronic arthritis. She was in great pain and cramping up. It took her 7:55 for the first 50kms and she was walking. Would she walk the last 50kms and finish the event? In the first year or two of the event, I had a 12 hours cut off. After the second event in 2004 I relaxed my thinking, adopting the view that any one should be encouraged to fight on, no matter how long it took. The aid stations had long closed but as all Gold Coasters know, there are water taps every 50 metres along the beachfront and toilets at least every kilometre. Tina was accompanied by her partner, riding a bicycle, so security was not an issue. At 10 pm I drove out along the course to find her at North Kirra heading north, still with 20 kms to go. I asked she and her partner if they would be okay to continue alone. They were quite happy with that. I went home to unpack and get all of the results together which takes another 3-4 hours. By arrangement, Tina emailed through her finishing time. She eventually finished at 2:35 in the morning with a time of 20:25. Fast forward to today, she has had two hip replacements and a big toe reconstruction and is back running. She has entered our marathon distance in 2019 as a 70 YO. That’s a remarkable achievement by anyone’s standard. When checking the content of this story with Tina a couple of days ago, she said that she would not have taken so long had she not stopped for a shower and a meal. She also said that the thing she remembered most was some youths spilling out of a nightclub at one AM or so saying to she and her partner that they were too old to be out so late. Hah hah…. funny days.
In 2008, I have identified two standout performances.
Ladies first. Kerrie Bremner won the female section with 9:14:50 which was rather special, being the 3rd fastest time by a female on Australian soil to that time. Kerrie went on to represent Australia in international competition in the 100 kms event in 2008-2009-2010. She achieved her PB of 8:24:48 at Gibraltar in 2010. She then switched her focus to the 24 hours event and has performed with distinction at that level, representing Australia on several occasions. She contested Coast to Kosci in 2008 and 2011, winning the women-s section in 2008. Kerrie developed into quite a formidable runner.
Scondly, David Eadie. The race was won by David (a.k.a. The Running Man) with 7:40:18. It was a great lesson in pacing, achieving a negative split, 3:52 to 3:48. David is a an exceptionally talented runner and has been for almost 40 years. He started as a marathoner, running his first marathon at age 9 and incredibly holds the M12 marathon record to this day, of 3:15:42 achieved in Melbourne in 1983. He has represented Australia in track, cross country, cycling, Ironman triathlon and more recently the 100 kms world championships (2008 & 2015). The GC100 of 2006 was his introduction to ultras and he has completed 5 x GC100’s; 2006-2008-2011-2012-2014. David represented Australia in the 100 kms world championships in 2008 and 2015. David’s PB was 7:34:46 achieved at The Tan 100 kms in 2011. He has also completed Western States (2007-2010-2014), Coast to Kosciuszko (2011, 2nd) and Badwater 135 (2012.) David and his wife, Nikki Wynd (Badwater and C2K winner), multi Australian 100 kms and 24 hours representative, operate a highly successful coaching business. A great runner and great ambassador for the sport.
Special mention of Tressa Lindenberg. Tressa was 1st female in the 25 kms with a smart 1:43:20 and showed, with the benefit of hindsight, what an emerging talent she was. More on Tressa later.
In 2008 we had 5 men finish in sub 9 hours, 3 women in sub 10 hours and 28 finishers overall from 36 starters. The beachside course wasn’t so bad after all.
Plus we had our first cash sponsor ever, the Noodle Box. Thanks to Mark Barrett and Jean-Paul Afflick.Full results 2008
In 2009 the race was won by Terence Bell in 7:42:08. Terence went on to represent Australia at the Commonwealth championships later that year in Keswick (7:16:56).
However, the great standout performance, for me, was that by of Jackie Fairweather who finished first female and second overall with 7:48:51. This was the fastest time achieved by a woman on Australian soil (and still is) and was just behind Linda Meadows’ Australian record of 7:40:57 achieved in NZL in 1995 Jackie went on to contest the Commonwealth championships in Keswick, achieving 7:41:23. Jackie was no slouch, having won the world triathlon championships (twice), world duathlon championships and an Australian marathon championship. She still holds the W36 marathon record of 2:32:40 achieved in Nagoya, Japan in 2004.
I trained with Jackie for a couple of years in the mid ‘90’s (not that I was in her class) so have fond memories. Gone but by no means forgotten.
Things were looking up.
I was overseas for most of 2009 and was unable to organise the race. Thanks to Peter Hall and Marina Whittle for keeping it going.Full results 2009