After two nights of light rain in the valley, the weather cleared for the start of the third running of the Goldsborough Gallop Trail Race. And what a great event it was! From humble beginnings, (just eight runners last year) this race came of age in 2017 with 64 starters contesting 10km and 17km distances. They came from near (Cairns) and far (Florida, USA) and were accompanied by a pleasing number of supporters.
Runners in both distances headed out along the very scenic Goldfield Track (which ultimately terminates at the Babinda Boulders). Initially open and grassy, the track soon enters cool, shady rainforest. Several entrants told me that this was their first trail race and the course was certainly a good introduction. It’s wide but has sections of slippery clay, numerous concrete fords over crystal clear creeks and sections with small rocks underfoot. Throw in some shorter, hilly slopes and you have an interesting and slightly technical course. On to the racing and soon after the start, the “greyhounds” in both races had opened up handy leads over their respective fields. Heading towards the 10km turn-around sign, I saw Calvin Deacon and Carl Johnson running powerfully towards the finish with a big gap behind them to the next runners.
It was the same in the 17km race with a lead group of eight well ahead of the rest. At the race briefing, competitors in the longer race were directed to turn for home on reaching the concrete causeway which crosses the Mulgrave River. However, a couple of lead runners must have enjoyed the view so much they decided to check out the other side of the river as well!
In the 10km race, Calvin Deacon stormed into first position in a time of 41:20 with Carl Johnson less than a minute behind in 42:15. Mark St Amand, having his final hit-out before tackling the Gold Coast Marathon, was third man across the line in 49:22.
Women outnumbered men 2:1 in this race and Carmel Moran showed that long legs are an asset as she crossed the line in 46:46 in a convincing performance that gave her 3rd position overall. Georgina Beech was 2nd lady across the line in 50:08 with Jessica Piercy rounding out the podium in a time of 55:36.
The 17km race featured some powerful athletes with recent Cairns Ironman Anthony Ralph riding to the race on his road bike (including that 5km section of corrugated, slippery dirt!!!) from Woree before running away from the opposition to win in 1:13:02, nearly 4 minutes ahead of Adam Fox! Awesome performance! And “Foxy” is no slouch either. His time of 1:16:59 put him in the medals ahead of third placed Tate Jones who crossed in 1:18:15. Recent Comrades Over 60’s champ Dave Von Senden had his flags lowered by the “youngsters” over this “sprint distance” (for him, anyway)
Nearly half of the 17km field were women and the small but strong “flying pigtail”, Teri Orr, flew across the line in 1:29:15 to take 1st place 6 minutes ahead of long distance runner Alena Scurrah who “battled the bug” to cross in 1:35:15. Ironman 70.3 competitor Michelle Farkas took the “bronze” with a time of 1:41:30.
After the medal presentations, an impromptu race was organised for the kids in the park, including a strong field from Mossman. Race Director Jarrod Ausburn showed the youngsters how to do it by sprinting around the circuit course before the race started. The kids got to be heroes for a while as they started and finished between the Cairns Road Runners flags. There was drama during the race too, when a spectator attempted to “nobble” the race leader.
Jarrod again showed his skills as a hands-on Race Director, organising medals and race gear and overseeing an enthusiastic band of volunteers. Well done, mate! Thanks also to Jarrod’s right hand man, Shane Boshammer who got more than he bargained for when he agreed to go camping with his mate! Behind the scenes, the ever reliable Sarah Dart, Susie Houlihan and Colleen Harisson took care of the race registrations and promotion. It was great to see Sarah and Susie out on the track as well. Lesa Hansen looked after the all-important race day check-in with help from husband Bruce and Director Jarrod. Brenda OBrien organised her mini army of “international” caterers (Mayuka and Mina from Japan and Victoria from Equador) in presenting a feast of fruit, sausages and even pancakes washed down with tea and coffee.
Next event on the “Roadies” calendar is the Blacksnake Trail Race which is scheduled for Sunday July 23rd. This will feature 10km, 21km and the challenging 34km. Other non Road Runners events ahead to mark in your calendar are the iconic 3 Marathons in 3 Days (including the Cairns Marathon) (July 7,8and 9) and the very popular Speewah Legend (July 16th)