This year’s Cairns Half Marathon turned out to be an “international event” with competitors and their supporters coming from places far and wide (Geri and her merry ladies from the UK and Syl and Cosette from Edmonton, Canada to name a few). Even some Aussies made long trips to get here (welcome, Christine, from Hobart, Tasmania). In all, 138 people registered to contest two race distances; 10kms and the 21.1km Half Marathon.
All runners started from Ryan Weare Park on the banks of the shady Freshwater Creek and headed in the direction of the Barron River, running firstly alongside canefields, then through suburban Kamerunga before crossing the Barron via the old, low lying “fishing bridge”. Then, it was out to Lake Placid with 10km runners making a couple of loops to Valmadre Street before retracing the route back to Ryan Weare Park.
The 21km runners, meanwhile, continued on from Lake Placid, making their way to Barron Gorge Road via Valmadre Street. Apart from a small hill initially, this scenic road is gently undulating and shaded. It follows the Barron River to the power station bridge and the first turnaround point. Returning to Lake Placid and recrossing the “fishing bridge”, runners then completed another, short, out and back loop along Stoney Creek Road. These out and back loops allow runners to see how they are tracking in relation to other competitors. The 21km runners then retraced the route from under the Kamerunga Bridge to Ryan Weare Park and a significant crowd of appreciative supporters.
Female runners rule…at least in terms of numbers of participants. In the 10km race, women outnumbered men almost four to one. Finisher times were also very noteworthy with Eliza Billington posting a super quick 43:49 to be the first female over the line, well ahead of second placed Mel Akmentins who crossed in 46:12 and Nadine Slatcher who placed third in 46:58.
For the men, the winner, Nick Carling, was also well ahead of the rest with the only sub 40 minute time of the day. His time of 37:34 meant there was a lot of bitumen between him and second placed Paul Robinson who ran a very impressive 40:56. Mark St Amand gave his marathon battered legs a break to take out third place in 43:11.
Women also significantly outnumbered men in the Half Marathon. Bridget Webber put daylight between her and the rest of the ladies with a powerful run that gave her a winning time of 1:32:56. Akane Goode may be slightly built but she’s damn good(e) at running. Her time of 1:36:37 netted her second place and almost a minute ahead of “the Flying Pom”, Geri Carr who took out third place with a time of 1:37:25. Looks like your merry English mates owe you a beer, Geri!
Leon Schoepflin showed that he is equally as good at road racing as he is trail running. Just one week ago, Leon convincingly won Cairns Road Runners’ 18km Barron Gorge Trail Race. He did it again! This time, on bitumen instead of dirt, he won with a time of 1:26:39. Brett Housley ran well, especially in the first half and crossed the line in second place in 1:29:12 a couple of minutes ahead of Luke Raffles’ 1:31:06.
Congratulations to all the runners! Anyone who finishes is a winner.
Huge thanks go to our “mini army” of volunteers who made the day so successful. Before any runner stepped up to the starting line, Permits had to be organised (Dave OBrien) Traffic Control (Susie Houlihan) and medals and trophies contracted (Jarrod Ausburn), entrants registered and racing bibs assigned (Colleen Harisson). The day before the race, Susie H, Colleen and Wayne Harisson went out and marked the course as well as shopping for race food.
On race day, Susie, Colleen, Wayne and Dave started setting up from 5am at Ryan Weare Park, joined soon after by perennial helper Mark St Amand and Marshalls Louise Forbes, Fiona Harper and Jarrod Ausburn. Jim Cavill and Pam Palmer also acted as Marshalls as well as manning the water stations at Sandwich Street and Lake Placid respectively. The Houlihans featured prominently at the Finish line with Susie and Jason calling the finishers and daughter Neve taking photos. The all-important recording duties were completed by Karen St Amand and Deb Drummond. Colleen H kept a watchful eye on all the proceedings while husband Wayne swept around the course on his bike. We appreciate the others who stepped in from time to time to help out. As you can see, a race doesn’t just happen and we are always looking for extra helpers to give a little bit of time for the enjoyment of all. As the old saying goes; “many hands make light work”. We hope you all had a very enjoyable day! Dave O’Brien
Click HERE for race results…