Smithfield Poker Run – Race Report
By Dave O’Brien – CRRC President
After being washed out by heavy rains last year, the 8th running of the Smithfield Poker Trail Race (Poker Run) got underway just after 7am. The rain held off for the entire race and the presentations afterward. Sunshine and clouds were the order of the day.
The Poker Run is a one hour event where runners complete as many laps of a 2km course on the western edge of the Cairns Mountain Bike Park as possible. For each lap completed, runners are given a rubber band. At the end of the race, the rubber bands are exchanged for playing cards and the best poker hand wins. There is also a prize for the runner who completes the most laps.
Recent rain meant the track was wet and slippery with some shallow muddy pools to make the race interesting. There were a few mud splattered competitors amongst the 27 people who started and finished the event. Quite a few mountain bikers also made their way out onto the park but used other tracks.
It was good to see a mixture of “regulars” as well as some new faces lining up at the start. Two ladies were keener than most, running from the Lagoon on the Cairns Esplanade to take their places on the starting line. Former Club President Sue Houlihan brought her own cheer squad with her in the form of young son, Finn.
Dave Wall and Steve Cunningham made the early running and opened up a significant lead on other runners. They both completed five laps of the course; the only ones to do so.
Dave maintained his lead throughout the race but in the closest finish in the race’s history, the evergreen Steve pipped Dave in the last 3 metres of the race. Enthralling stuff!
Eleven runners completed four laps; six others completed three laps and the remaining seven ran around the course twice. There are a number of adjoining tracks with the potential for runners to take wrong turns so it was gratifying for club President, Dave to hear from Chris Simmons and others that the course was “well marked”.
It was also gratifying to see the number of people who helped out in different ways.
Behind the scenes, Colleen Harisson took care of online registrations while Sarah Dart and Liz Blooms did an excellent job of race promotion and sorting out the inevitable glitches that are part and parcel of the digital world of Facebook and the roadrunners website. Liz also took her Go Pro out on course to record the action (you can see her work on Facebook). Thank you, ladies.
Thanks also to those runners who helped put up the marquee, cut fruit and complete those little jobs associated with “setting up” and “pulling down”. Road Runners also thank Mark Shergold at Adventure Equipment on Grafton Street for his ongoing support. Mark has been a long time supporter of running in the Cairns area and we recommend you pay a visit to say thanks and check out his gear.
Still to come in March are adventuresportnq’s iconic “Bustard” (March 16th) and Dynamic Running’s signature event “Dynamic in a Dress”(March 31st)
Road Runners next event will be the Copperlode Cup on April 14th. This will be the 30th time this event has been staged and we are planning on a complete road closure for the 15 km road race up Lake Morris Road to the Copperlode Dam. Hope to see you there!