by Event Founder Ian Cornelius
I was elected as President of AURA in 2002. There had been no dedicated 100 kms events in Australia since Shepparton in 1996. Our top 100 kms athletes of the time, Tim Sloan, Don Wallace, Safet Badic, Yiannis Kouros, Trevor Jacobs, Greg Barton, Warren Holst, Linda Meadows, Nicky Carroll, Sandra Timmer-Arends and Mary Morgan (Francis) were all forced to race overseas. Younger athletes coming through, attempting to qualify for the world championships were at a distinct disadvantage.
The Australian 100 kms championships for the previous 3-4 years had been conducted as part of the 100 kms run leg of an ultra triathlon hosted by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in Canberra. While it was very good of the SCMT to do this for us, it was far from ideal. I called for a volunteer from the committee to organise a 100 kms race. My request fell on deaf ears so I undertook the job myself. After 16 years, I am still organising the event.
During the 16 years, there have been numerous highlights. I will attempt to recount some of them, see below.
A standout performance for each year will be related every Wednesday from 28 November 2018 for the next 14 weeks, thus covering every year that the event has been held.
The standout performance in 2003 was that by Mark Hutchinson. Mark was a 2:16 marathon runner and had scorched around the first half in 3:15 or thereabouts and looked set for a sub 7 hour performance. He slowed from about the 80 kms mark and cramped badly with about 7 kms to go. He virtually hobbled the last 7 kms and still achieved a standout performance of 7:41:45.
The performance by Mark was enough to get him selected to represent Australia in the world championships for the following 2-3 years.
Special mention also of then young rising star, David Criniti of Sydney. David then just turned 25 was staying at my house for a couple of days prior to and after the event. We went to the supermarket on the day prior to the race and, much to my surprise, he bought chocolate donuts and Nutella for his race supplies. He explained that the chocolate provided quick release carbs and the donut or sandwich, as the case may be, provided slow release carbs. It seemed to work because he achieved a negative split and stormed home to finish 3rd in 7:51:12 almost catching 2nd placegetter, veteran Warren Holst who finished just 12 seconds ahead. David, now 40, has focused on marathons since around 2003-5 and has achieved considerable success. In fact, he holds the Australian M39 marathon record with 2:17:57 achieved in Berlin in 2017. Likewise, David and Warren's performances were enough to also get them selected to represent Australia for the following 2-3 years.
Special mention also to Monika Mohr. Monika was the only female starter in the field in 2003. The number of female entrants in the early years was sparse but as we approach year 17, there are now as many female entrants as there are males. Thanks Monika for showing the way.
The race was showing great promise that it was starting to serve its purpose. Full results 2003
The solo race winner in 2004 was Jonathan (Jo) Blake. Jo's 7:31 was the best performance on Australian soil since 1996. Jo represented Australia at the 100 kms world championships in 2004-5-6-7-8. He achieved a PB of 7:05:40 in 2006. He also represented Australia at the 24 hour Commonwealths in 2009 & 2011 and at the world championships in 2010. His 24 hour PB was 249.106 achieved in 2009. He won the Coast to Kosciusko races (246 kms) in 2009 and 2010. Jo performed at the highest level for several years and did himself and his country proud. He retired from ultras in 2011.
Special mention to the relay team comprising Bruce Hogg, Mitchell Keyes, Peter Hall, Andrew Ferris, Danny Carson, Mike Shelley, Andrew Ferris, Andrew Arkinstall, Brad Smith, Andrew O'Neill who scorched around the course in 5:25:58. This equates to an average of 3.25 mins per km or an average of 18 kms/hr
First female was Mignon Auguszczak with 10:00:15. We had three female starters and it was good to see the increased interest by the ladies. Full results 2004
In 2005 the 100 kms was won by Darren Benson (31) in the quite respectable time of 7:47:17. Darren went on to represent Australia at the World championships in 2006 (7:17) and 2007 (7:27). He now lives in France and is still running 2:30 marathons at age 42.
However, for me the standout performance was that of Chris Hills (then Tas, now SA) who ran 9:02:04 as a 19 YO. This young man went through the first half in 3:45 suggesting that had he been able to maintain the effort would have finished with sub 8 hours. He faded badly in the last 25 kms. To confirm his aspirations, he intensified his training and came back in 2006. He possibly went out a bit too hard and his race ended at 68.75 kms going through the first half in 3:43. In 2009 he returned and contested the 50 kms, winning in 3:12:45. Now, bear in mind that by now this was the Kurrawa to Duranbah course, so he had to negotiate the steps at Miami and then the hill at Point Danger plus the numerous footpath-road-footpath transitions. It was an outrageous time on that course, beating Brendan Davies. who is no slouch, by 6 minutes. The record for Kurrawa to Duranbah (now GC50 Run Festival) on that course is 3:10, set in 2016 by Jonathan Peters, a 2:20 marathoner. This young man was running 200 kms/week in training and, in my opinion, he had the potential to run the 100 kms in sub 6:30. Big call? Maybe. But he was still just 24 when he ran that tough 50 in 3:12. It would likely equate to more like 3 to 3:05 hours on a fast course such as the one we now use at Runaway Bay. I rate him as having the greatest potential for the 100 kms of any runner I’ve seen in my 25 years associated with the sport. The fact that he was a protégé of Australian record holder Tim Sloan (6:29:26, 1995) may have a bearing. He dropped out of running soon afterwards to focus on his career. These days he is better known as the husband of Olympian Madeline Hills (nee Heiner).
Special mention too of Simon Phillips (Tas) who ran 8:12:18 as a 45 YO thus earning himself a spot on the Australian team to contest the world championships in 2006.
First and only female starter was Mignon Auguszczak in 11:39:09. There was scant involvement by the women in the early years but their time will come.Full results 2005
In 2006 the 100 kms was won by Rob Ware, a New Zealander living in Brisbane, in a time of 7:51:43. Second was veteran Tim Sloan in 8:13:56. Tim had established the Australian record in 1995 of 6:29:26 at age 27 and had represented Australia at the World championships in 1994 (6:43), 1995 (7:02), 1997 (7:58), 1998 (7:13), 2001 (7:45) and 2002 (7:47). It was nice of Tim to make the trip up from Tassie. His focus on 100 kms had long passed and his new love was age group ironman triathlon where he had started to excel. However, even at age 38 he was still competitive at the hundred.
However, to me the standout performance was that of 26 yo Zoe Lawrie (now Hawkins). Zoe achieved 9:06:42. This was the second fastest time by a female on Australian soil behind Margaret Smith’s 8:54 achieved in 1984. It ranked her about 5th best female behind Linda Meadows, Mary Morgan, Sandra Timmer-Arends and Lavinia Petrie whose performances were all achieved overseas. It was the fastest time by an Australian woman in 8 years. The race was starting to fulfil its expectations and purpose. Thank you Zoe for showing the way.
Special mention of David Eadie and Scotty Orchard who arrived from Melbourne wearing chefs’ outfits. These were soon discarded after the race started but thanks lads for attracting some much needed newspaper publicity. More on David in later years.
This was the last of a block of four at Runaway Bay. We would soon be moving the race to the beachfront in 2007 where it was hoped that we might attract more participants thus hoping to break even as I had been paying to keep the race afloat every year to date.