Run Walk & Roll
A pair of Ballarat runners went into the O’Keefe Marathon on Sunday as the hardest to beat and that proved the case.
“In its second year the event attracted 672 entries and close to 200 volunteers and was an overwhelming success,” said Athletics Bendigo General Manager and O’Keefe Race Director Craig Green.
All photos courtesy of AJ Taylor Images
On Saturday just under a 100 cyclists rode the O’Keefe (a separate story is being written on the cycle event).
“The cycling and running events attracted over 750 entries, many of the competitors and their families stayed in the region over a number of days. We had people travelling from overseas, interstate and and across Victoria all benefiting local tourism. Over 250 of the participants lived out of the immediate region,” said Sandra Slatter Event Director.
"The success of the event is due to the commitment and dedication of our volunteers, our shining lights, explained Sandra. "Without their assistance prior to and during the event it would not work. "It is not a straightforward event to manage.
Covering over 42km, and crossing close to 40 roads and lanes the responsibility of keeping everyone safe is paramount. "We had radio communication, map makers, risk compliance, emergency response, sign development and management, transportation , first aid, complex road management planning, registration and data management, and volunteer coordination ensuring eveyone had the resources to deliver a safe and memorable event.
The event offered Australia’s biggest prize for an age graded event, sponsored by our gold sponsor Mandalay Resources. Prize valued at over $6000. “The point of difference with our event compared to others is that anyone whether you are a male or female of any age can win the prize, making it a truly all-inclusive event,” said Green.
Runners pounded the trail in the marathon, 26.2km Axedale to Heathcote, Quarter Marathon, Ekiden Relay, 5km Fun Run/Walk/Roll, Mile, 500m and some novelty events.
The effort by locals Dan O’Bree and Travis Edwards in assisting young Marney Lamb (living with cerebal palsy) in the ‘trail rider’ in the 42.195 km marathon event was remarkable. Green added, “this displayed great courage and community spirit. This community spirit shone through in other volunteer assisted activities throughout the day.”
Two all abilities teams also participated in the Ekiden Relay providing the opportunity for Jika Knight and Matt Creer to be part of the event. They were assisted by their families and teammates.
In the men’s marathon, it was Julian Spence from Ballarat who took the O’Keefe Title in 2:35:09, which was just a minute outside last year’s course record of local Jamie Cook. Spence was the winner of the last two Great Ocean Road Marathons.
Running mate of Spence, Ash Watson also of Ballarat was second and was starting to run down Spence in the last 5km finishing 54 seconds behind the winner.
Third in the 18-44 age group was the sponsors Mandalay Resources employee Stephen Freemantle, who again made his way into the medals like in 2016.
In third place on line honours was the well-known Bendigo triathlete and athlete David Meade. It was another third place for Meade like in 2016 but again winning the 45+ category. The time of 2:47:26 a new course record for the age group.
The best runs of the event probably came from two of the women. The 2016 winner Sarah Jalim a Bendigo University athlete smashed her course record by 9 minutes to run 3:03:24.
Before 2016 Jalim had a personal best of 3 hours 29 minutes. Green added, “Sarah as a 36 year old is going into the masters age groups and now must rank as one of the better masters marathoners in the country. “If she ran on a flat bitumen course like Gold Coast a 2:55 marathon is easily within her reach.
The marathon also attracted the 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Masters Athlete of the Year. Lavinia Petrie from Ringwood is the current world record holder in all events from 1,500 to the half marathon for the 70-74 age group.
Petrie was heavily favoured to take the golden prize worth more than $6000. The prize rewarded the best age graded athlete, which is the closest athlete for their age to the world record as a percentage. Petrie is also the Australian Park Run record holder in this category at 106%.
The world champion in this instance just fell short of the world record with the 73 year old running a time of 3:52.19. In context this is 5 minute 30 seconds per km. Her win in the age graded prize will see her accommodation and flights paid for to represent Australia at the Wenlock Olympian Games at Much Wenlock in the United Kingdom in 2018.
“It was an honour to have Lavinia enter the event and run,” said Race Director Craig Green. She is by so far the best athlete for her age group in the world and is an inspiration to many.” The community gave the decorated athlete a massive cheer as she crossed the line and she also won the female 45+ category.
In the other events the 2015 Victorian Marathon Champion and Bendigo Harriers athlete Brady Threlfall blitzed the field by almost 6 minutes to win the 26.2km Axedale to Heathcote. The time 1:31:10.
Rebecca Cladingboel of Moama won the half marathon last year and this year took the female title in the Axedale to Heathcote in the time of 1:56:56.
Winners of the 45+ Axedale to Heathcote was Bendigo University athlete Russ Jenkins and Bendigo Harriers Jill Wilkie.
The Quarter Marathon over the 10.55km distance was taken out by Stuart Knight from Brunswick in the time of 39:22. The female event was won in a course record by the South Bendigo athlete Taryn Furletti in a time of 43:22. Furletti a National Champion in the 2000m steeplechase just a few weeks ago.
Winners of other categories in the Quarter Marathon was Trevor Dainton in the male 45+, Karena Spence of Bendigo in the female 18-44, Harvey Gibbs of Girton Grammar and Bendigo Harriers in the male Under 18 and Belinda O’Meara in the female 45+.
The mile event saw some enthusiastic youngsters get their chance on the trail. Oscar Fox of South Bendigo Aths club breaking the course record showed the field a clean pair of heels as did Hannah Cotter for the girls. Other winners of age categories were Rene Ford who went to back to back, Jesse Bruce, Abi Smith and Logan Smith.
A schools team event was also part of the mile with Holy Rosary Primary School in Heathcote looking hard to beat with points still to be tallied.
The unique 7 person team Ekiden Relay event once again proved popular with 23 teams participating in the relay format over the 42.195km marathon distance. Team members running different legs between 3km and 10.1km’s.
Many of the team’s came from within the region, others coming from different areas of the state including the Lalor Running Club and the Remyn Family team from Warragul.
The Borough went back to back in the Ekiden with one of the two Eaglehawk Athletic teams taking line hours and the men’s event title. The team time of 3:06:30 a new course record.
Girton Grammar entered two teams and their young stars finished in second and third place over the line. The school also took out the secondary schools section.
Winner of the female team category was Team Finely Tuned Athletes. While in the mixed team category Fosterville Gold Mine took the honours.
As mentioned earlier two all ability teams took place with the Matt Creer lead Magic Muplets and Jika Knight lead Team Jika both competing the distance famously.
It was the turn of the kids during the 500 metres who had patiently been watching all day as they enthusiastically gave their all.
A big day of events on the O'Keefe was complimented later in the day with the Connally's Real Estate sponsored events. The 5km run/walk/roll had 90 participants of mainly locals enjoy the challenging event.
The old women's race saw the youngest old women take the honours, Harlan Tavinor, Haylon kept his ‘pound of tea’ but donated his $100 prize money to the local Lions Club.
The day ended on a very light note with Fazzy the Heathcote Community Games mascot taking out the mascot race. It may not have been quite as good though as the performance of Nick Slatter as Priscilla the powerful owl (O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon’ mascot) when he ran the Quarter Marathon in a time of 47:18, taking out 5th position. The run taking its toll on the owl in setting a new mascot course record. The owl, slightly overheated, was inspected by the vet after the race and treated for dehydration.
Further media stories on the event and information is below:
All Race Results
Bendigo Advertiser Photos
Bendigo Advertiser Story
Win News Story on Facebook
Note that on our News Blog is information on the Event Photos from AJ Taylor Images and Ashley Taylor and how to order these. CLICK HERE. One word as we have viewed them, 'Amazing' as you will see. There is also a video being produced from the videographer Anthony Webster of Imagine Pictures.
Placegetters from the events and times
(*signifies category course record)
MARATHON - SPONSORED BY MANDALAY RESOURCES
Julian Spence 2:35:09, Ash Watson 2:36:03, Steve Freemantle 2:50:33
David Meade 2:47:26*, Eric Bentley 3:32:14, Jason Hull 3:34:14
Sarah Jalim 3:03:24*, Christa Tadich 3:40:02, Joanne Hoos 3:58:31
Lavinia Petrie 3:52.19, Kerri Comer 4:12:05, R Middleton 4:27:55
Lavinia Petrie 93.15%*
AXEDALE TO HEATHCOTE 26.2KM - SPONSORED BY THE WELLINGTON @ BOTANICAL GARDENS
Brady Threlfall 1:31:10*, Jason Dalton 1:37:00, Chris Armstrong 1:43:10
Russell Jenkins 1:55.40*, Graham Gilchrist 2:05:32, David McLean 2:06.15
Rebecca Cladingboel 1:56:56*, Rebecca Wilkinson 2:09.33, Leah Wells, 2:29:45.
Jill Wilkie 1:59:54*, Fiona Gordon 2:05:36, Vula Sheens 2:11:35
QUARTER MARATHON - SPONSORED BY ATHLETES FOOT
Harvey Gibbs 52:30, Connor Byrne 57:23, Solomon Gibbs 1:03:01
Stuart Knight 39:22, Courtney Gronow 41:37, Matthew Sullivan 41:57
Trevor Dainton 44:49, Peter Le Busque 49:07, Julian Roche 49:42
Taryn Furletti 43:02*, Chloe Radovic 58:44, Amber Barry 1:04:16
Karena Spencer 49:46, Zuzie Pedrotti, Anna Wilkinson 52:39
Belinda O’Meara 55:31, Kylie Kay 55:59, Peta Jenkins 56:48
MILE - SPONSORED BY LIONS CLUB HEATHCOTE
Oscar Fox 6:21*, Riley Bruce 6:57,
Jesse Bruce 7:57, Seth O’Kane 8:10, Alfie Taylor 11:45
Logan Smith 8:14, Darcy Smith 8:32, Jesse Mitchell 8:32
Hannah Cotter 6:31, Georgia Smith 6:58, Charlotte Cotter 9:16
Abi Smith 8:07, Samantha Serpell 8:59, Ava Harris 9:08
Renee Ford 7:34*, Ella Skinner 10:34, Chelsea Doherty 10:52
EKIDEN RELAY - SPONSORED BY CHAMPIONS IGA
Eaglehawk Eagles 3:06:30*, Mandalay Paddlesteamers 3:24:43, Old and Slow 3:35:48
Finely Tuned Athletes 4:03.46*, Gazelles 4:24:39
Fosterille Gold Mine 3:23:08, Bendigo Uni Aths Club Lonsdale 3:33:19, Bendigo Uni Aths Club Unipride 3:41:28
Magic Muplets 3:55:25*, Team Jika 4:56:50,
Girton City2Surf Legends 3:16:51*, Girton City2Surf Almost Legends 3:17:17, Bendigo South-East ADP 3:24:54