2003 Yearly Report
2003 Australian Centurions 24 Hour Event
12-13 April 2003
Coburg Harriers Track, Coburg, Melbourne
This event was a combined run/walk event with the Australian Centurions joining with the Coburg Harriers as co-hosts. 42 starters fronted the line with competitors split across the following divisions
|6 Hour Run
12 Hour Run
24 Hour Run
6 Hour Walk
12 Hour Walk
24 Hour Walk
The races started at 10AM on Saturday 12th in sunny conditions that intensified throughout the day. By the time relief was in sight on Saturday evening, competitors had endured some 8 hours of direct sun and heat. As day turned into night, it was a case of sunburnt bodies, blistered feet and heat induced exhaustion.
With the 6 and 12 hour events completed by 10PM, the 24 hour competitors laboured on through the hours of darkness and waited for the final surge of adrenaline which comes with the dawn. But come the morning, there was little left in tank for most and the run/walk home was more of a shuffle than a surge. The toll from the first day’s conditions was now obvious and most finish times were slower than would be expected for such a prestigious event.
In the 24 Hour Run, Ian Valentine defied the odds and improved on his personal best by some 24 km. After an early battle with Allan Devine, he cleared away from the field during the night. It was only during the last few hours that the consistent Bill Beauchamp made up ground and started to bridge the gap. But the lead was too big and Ian recorded what must be his biggest win so far. Peter Gray made it 16 finishes in a row for this event with a creditable 4th place.
In the 24 Hour Walk, Australian record holder Carol Baird and England based Nigerian walker Charles Arosanyin staged a seesaw battle during the first half of the race. Only 1 lap separated them at the 80 km mark which was passed in around 10 hours. But Carol once again showed her experience and pace judgement and maintained her pace during the night as Charles slowed. With the walkers’ main aim being the 100 mile target, Charles looked likely to miss out with 5 hours to go. But to his credit, he staged a spirited comeback and reached his goal in 23:35:31 to become Australian Centurion Number 46.
Karyn Bollen (C 45) stepped down from the 24 hour event to the 12 hour and recorded a good 82.131 km for her first outing since completing 100 miles in the 2002 Centurion event.
The event had an international flavour with 3 English and 3 New Zealand walkers competing against the local Australian talent.
The 24 Hour Walk results were as follows
The 12 Hour Walk result was as follows
The 6 Hour Walk result was as follows
The Centurion performances on the day were as follows
The Jack Webber Trophy was awarded to Charles Arosanyin for the most meritorious Centurion performance on the day
Profiles of the 24 Hour walkers were as follows:
Carol Baird (C 39) completed her 9th Centurion performance in the last 4 years with another confident performance. But this was perhaps her toughest hundred yet as even she was effected by the trying early conditions. But a finish was never in doubt as she powered through in typical style.
Charles Arosanyin (C 46) is a native of Nigeria but currently lives in England and is a member of the famous Surrey Walking Club. Already a British Centurion (C 979 in 2001), he wanted to come out to our event last year but injuries intervened. This year it all fell into place and he was rewarded with a second Centurion badge after a gutsy display. His condition after the race indicated the effort he put in to drag himself back from the edge of failure and record a well deserved Centurion finish.
John Harris (C 12), already a triple Australian Centurion (1975, 1998 and 2002) made the trip down from Brisbane with two thoughts in mind – support training partner Fred Baker and see if he could get yet another hundred himself. He walked consistently but was just not fast enough on this occasion and had to be content with membership of what he has now dubbed ‘the nineties club’.
Geoff Tranter is a very accomplished Centurion, having completed the British standard on 12 separate occasions. He is also a Continental, American and New Zealand Centurion. His best performance is an astounding 129 miles of walking within 24 hours in 1981 in England. Last year he made the trip to Australia with fellow Birchfield Harriers walker John Fenton to try for the last Centurion badge to complete his collection. Unfortunately on that occasion he just failed so he was back again this year to put things right. But there is one thing that the English cannot prepare for – a hot Melbourne day. Geoff’s plans were turned upside down in the Saturday heat and his disappointment at what he saw as his failure was obvious. But from our perspective, it was a gutsy walk that deserves commendation.
Stan Miskin (C 23) walked the first 6 hours with his wife Ellwyn (who was doing the 6 hour event) and then headed off himself into the familiar 24 hour territory. At 77 years of age, there is no slowing Stan down and his 117 km left many younger competitors in his wake.
NSW walker and ultra athlete Steel Beveridge came down yet again to try for Centurion membership but, once again, found himself short of the final target. He was able to complete 50 miles in the first 12 hours but started to tire soon after this point. He eventually gave it away and went for a sleep and his final distance of 115 km was thus down on some of his previous distances.
Ultra runner John Timms is well known for his Colac 6 day appearances and his numerous 24 hour running races. I am sure his presence in the 24 hour walk surprised a few of his compatriots but John showed a very good walking form as he matched it early with Carol Baird. A lack of serious walk training meant that he was forced to take a few breaks as the race progressed but his final 110 km was very good and indicated that he could be a serious threat in future events if he sets his mind to it.
New Zealander Linda Law has previously walked 137 km in 24 hours in the New Zealand event but found on this occasion that the best of race plans can unfold under adverse conditions. Her final distance of 109 km does not reflect her potential and I am sure that she will soon have the right conditions and put it all together for the result she wants.
Melbourne racewalker Graham Watt was back for his 5th walk in our annual Centurion event and he improved from a previous best of 97.4 km to 100.8 km. Graham was a last minute addition to the field but he showed maturity in his walk, moderating his pace early and hence getting further this time. He showed that he is now ready to move up into the big league and seriously tackle the hundred.
Freddie Baker is a legend in Centurion circles. A former secretary of the British Centurions, he has 20 Centurion finishes to his credit. At 70 years of age and now living in Brisbane, he was keen to add an Australian badge to his collection and had been training with John Harris in preparation for this event. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan and he suffered badly with leg problems and had to adjust his expectations and settle for a 100 km distance.
British Centurion John Fenton was yet another of our overseas visitors but the hot Saturday conditions took so much out of him that he could not improve on his 100 km achieved in last year’s event. He was very disappointed as his final distance of 100.8 km did not really reflect his preparation nor truly reflect his worth.
Deborah DeWilliams was a first time competitor who is just dipping her toes into the long distances and she made an impressive start, recording 75 km in 12 hours before being forced to retire. She was well up early but started suffering stomach problems at about the 5½ hour mark. It was a great performance to actually keep walking for such a long time and knock such a distance out when interspersed with frequent toilet stops and stomach cramps. I expect that Deborah will get a lot further in her next event.
Laurie Tinson was also a first time competitor doing his first ultra walk. He decided 6 months ago to have a go and looked good early, walking with a smooth and efficient action. He was up in third place in the walk for most of Saturday but started to suffer as the day wore on and he eventually called it quits after just over 10 hours and 74.8 km. With such a good first up walk, he certainly has the potential to nail the hundred with a bit more walking in the legs.
Congratulations to all involved,
especially to the volunteers and participants. The spirit of 24 hour
running and walking lives on until next year's event.
14 April 2003