2019 XC Report by Jim Court

25 Jun 2019

2019 Winter Season Captains 

Men: Phil Hniat, Ken Atkinson and Dylan Bunrett

Women: Vanessa Kearney, Nat Fleming and Emily Best 


Northern Suburbs    54
Sandy Bay               45
Eastern Suburbs      36
OVA Sthn. Saints     26
TMA                         17
UTAS                        8

Northern Suburbs    53
Sandy Bay               45
Eastern Suburbs     34.5
OVA Sthn. Saints    28
TMA                        17.5
UTAS                        8


Domain Loop - 15th June

The whole area around the Domain loop was abuzz with activity when we arrived for a 10:30 am start. With several soccer games on the nearby sports fields and the remnants of the Park Run which started on the Loop at 9:00 am there was little parking around and many of us opted to go inside the Athletic Centre and take the 400m walk to the Domain Loop.

In a new development since last season, about one third of the road width had been taken up by a pine bark jogging trail flanked by a kerb of evil looking rocks-an ankle turner trap for any who strayed too close to the edge.

Two thirds of the road width had to be enough for this event which was round 3 of the road championships. To maintain the road aspect, the course was out and back with each leg just over 2 km It was also a sealed handicap which means the runners were unaware of their handicaps and the event ran as a normal inter club race.  The runners’ handicaps are based on previous performances and those who exceed expectations are rewarded with top places in the handicap section.

Emily Best is one who did exceed expectations, not only taking second place in the 4.09 km shorter race but also taking 7th spot in the handicaps. Emily finished ahead of notables such as Ebony Webb and Francesca Smith and first in that talented group of U/15 girls who have dominated recent events. This group included Mikayla Ireland 4th, Avalon Forbes 8th, Emma Henkel 11th and Sahara Reeve 13th.

Sarah Holmstom 14th, was next to finish, holding off Michelle Cockerell for 1st place in the O/20s and taking 11th spot in the handicaps, She was the vanguard of a successful O/20 contingent which included Hayley Sansom 26th and 3rd O/20, Anita Welsh 30th and 4th and Renee Mitchell 34th and 6th.  O/40 runners, Marcia Hughes and Vanessa Kearney also played their part, finishing 16th and 18th and taking 4th and 6th place in this competitive division.

The O/50 wall was well and truly back in business, led by Jane Johnson 23rd, followed by Tracey McConnon 31st, Carol Bristow 33rd, Judy Limbrick 36th and Mary Stewart 38th, this group took all the O/50 top seven spots from 2nd to 7th and this group will be even more imposing when Karen Hooker gets back to full health and when Adele Lucas returns. Judy and Jane also finished 4th and 14th in the handicaps.

Others in the team included U/15s Avril Reeve 22nd, Paige Rowlands 37th and Oenone Schofield 40th. I doubt that the Club has ever had so many in this age group. Zoe Kerr 49th made another useful contribution in finishing 5th in the U/20 division. Zoe is often our only U/20 in the short race but if our U/15s stay keen, she can expect plenty of company in years to come.

The rest of the field included Juanita, Julie, Anne, Sharyn, Natalie, Wendy (taking it easy as she was doing a marathon at Ulverston the next day), Margaret, Jenny, Bec, Lynne and Holly. Harriet and Frankie, in a double pusher propelled by Bec had plenty of runners to watch and were blissfully unaware of such things as muscle strain, cramps and lactic acid.

The 8.15 km race was won by Ruth Wilson with Lisa McConnon 2nd, both well ahead of the rest of the small field. Nat Fleming had a close tussle with Tania Rowlands finishing just 4 seconds ahead of her in 5th place. Ambrosia Negri 10th, again took top points in the U/20s. 

All five earned handicap points (remember they had to compete for these with the men too). Ambrosia took 1st place, Natalie 5th, Tania 6th, Lisa 8th and Ruth 10th to give the Club good representation in the handicap tables.

We saw Phil once again in the short race and winning despite recovering from the “Stonor gastro” and holding off a strong pursuit by a couple of under-age runners. Damon Court finished 8th followed 5 seconds later by Dylan Burnett with Dave O’Brien the next to finish. When Noah Proposch, further back in the field, took 15th place, we had top or near top places in all the five age divisions.

With a good start courtesy of our best runners back up was still required and this was provided by O/20 runners, Brad Sansom 14th and 4th O/20, Brett Mitchell 17th and 5th and Trent Hirst (in his first run this season), 21st and 7th.

Paul Henkel came 27th and 3rd in the O/40s and then places 27 to 30 went to Ben Hughes, Paul Luttrell, Nicklas Laggar and Ken Atkinson with Ben and Ken 5th and 6th in the O/40 division.

Northern Suburbs was strongly represented in the rest of the field too and included U/15s Blake (now with the ankle doing OK), Justin and Patrick Walker and William Vandersluys our other regularly competing U/20 who finished 5th in his division.  Cameron Sansom was in this mix with a bunch of O/50s which included Tim, Tony, John, Mark, Alan, David, and Mikes Pace Sansom and Stevenson the latter three finishing one after the other within 17 seconds. This only left the rear-guard Ken Nixon and me just in case the rest of the team fell over. This group did well in the handicap listings with Ken Nixon, Patrick Walker and I taking the top three places and David Lucas finishing 8th.

In the men’s 8.2 km, Victorian based runner, Nick Earl again finished well ahead. Grant was not in full flight but did enough to secure second place from OVA runner, Robert Elkington. Mike Davis took 5th place, easily the top of the O/40 division and Josh Durno worked hard to finish 6th and 4th O/20.

Anthony Baines in 8th place had to hold off a challenge from Sandy Bay’s Steve Eastwood to take top spot in the O/50s.  Further back in the field, Scott Barwick, finishing in the short gap between Nat Fleming and Tania Rowlands, came 19th in the men’s race and 5th O/40.

Our other competitors were Phil Hniat 23rd, James Horne 24th and 7th O/40 and David Cresswell 28th.

Both teams had another successful round. And this was partly due to the amazing turn out of members. Both teams had season highs for participation which is remarkable for this part of the season.

Women’s Points:  Northern Suburbs 141, Sandy Bay 86, Eastern Suburbs 55, OVA 13, TMA 5, UTAS 0

Men’s Points:  Northern Suburbs 128, Sandy Bay 99, Eastern Suburbs 47, OVA 47, TMA 28, UTAS 165


Gellibrand Drive - 8th June

We had another great day for running despite a few shivers in the chilly shade of the pines at the southern end of the Mortimer Bay Reserve. The course itself is practically two legged. It follows a trail to the northern end of the reserve and after a short crossover takes another trail which returns to the finish at the southern end. For once, the course was dry except for the remains of the notorious mud puddles found on the return leg of the course.

Any spectators watching the women’s 4.5 km saw a good finish between Ebony Webb and Mikayla Ireland. Ebony Webb was an outstanding junior runner a few years back and Mikayla did well to finish second just 4 seconds behind. The next 8 finishers belonged to the exceptional group of U/15s competing at present. Four of them are ours. Avalon Forbes in 5th place, Emily Best 7th and Emma Henkel 8th were followed by Bella Quin in 10th place. Bella in her first cross country run of the season is yet another promising performer in the U/15 age group.

Vanessa Kearney finished 12th, 3rd in the O/40 division, nearly chasing down Sandy Bay O/40 runner Annie Burt. Marcia Hughes, also in the O/40 division, finished next 5 seconds behind Vanessa. Marcia was followed by Sarah Holmstrom who won the O/20 division.

After the initial flurry, runners arrived further apart. Suzanne Margetts was effective in the O/40 group finishing 20th and Holly McLaren in 23rd place finished 3rd in the O/20s.

The O/50 “wall” was missing but Carol Bristow 29th and Tracey McConnon 30th were significant taking the 1st and 2nd places in the division. Paige Rowlands finished 36th, just ahead of Ebony Webb’s little sister, Abbie. Karen Hooker, who is usually near the front of the “wall”, ran conservatively, pacing Blake who was running through a long-standing ankle injury. Nevertheless her 38th placing, 3 seconds ahead of Julie Pace, was 7th in the O/50 division.

Our next to finish were mainly senior runners of long service to the Club and included Anita, Sharyn, Anne, Wendy (resting for a demanding run the next day), Margaret, Lynne and Jenny. Amongst them was our sole U/20 of this race, Zoe Kerr who made a very useful contribution as 4th U/20.

In the women’s 8.8 km, there was no one likely to catch Sandy Bay O/50 runner Francesca Smith. However, Lisa McConnon and Ruth Wilson took 2nd and 3rd place overall and ruled in the O/20 division.  O/40 runners Nat Fleming and Tania Rowlands had seven other competitors in their division and made a good contribution by taking 6th and 7th places and 3rd and 4th in the O/40s. Ambrosia Negri finished 12th and as the only U/20 taking on the demanding 8.8 km course, won top points in her age division.

The women’s team had another comfortable win.

Women’s Points:  Northern Suburbs 123 Sandy Bay 80, Eastern Suburbs 61, OVA 28, UTAS 4, TMA 2

Phil, who is soon to try a marathon, was once again “resting up” in the men’s short race of the day. He won easily despite the conservative approach. Damon Court, also on R and R from the longer race, finished 6th just ahead of Dylan Burnett who was 3rd U/20 in this competitive division.

Dave O'Brien finished 11th taking top spot in the O/50s and Brett Mitchell 16th and 4th O/20 was also prominent. Our U/15 contingent was boosted by Henry Forbes who came 18th overall and 3rd U/15.

Nicklas Laggar O/20s, Paul Henkel O/40s and Ken Atkinson O/40s finished close together in places 20 to 22 winning three of those important top seven age group division places. Close behind, Paul Luttrell in his first run of the season and Ben Hughes, finished 25th and 26th, also in top seven places.  There were many supporting runners in the remainder of the field, most of them in the older age groups.  They included Scott Barwick, Jamie Mcconnon and Will Vandersluys who finished just outside their respective “top sevens”. Danilo Negri O/50 and Justin Henkel U/15 finished further back but both took 7th place in their divisions. 

The other runners were Tony, Alan, John Dalco, Mark Ireland, Mike Pace, Blake Hooker (trying out a dodgy ankle), Dave Lucas, Mike Sansom, Cresser, Ian Cole, Mike Stevenson and me. We had a couple of walkers too, Ken Nixon who prefers to walk and Tim McConnon who rested his sore instep with the prospect of spending the coming week in the shearing shed.

We saw Grant striding out again in the 8.8 km, hopefully now recovered from his calf injury. Grant once again dominated the local field, but the limelight was stolen by Melbourne based Nick Earl who might be remembered here as the winner of this year’s Cadbury Half Marathon. This year, he has also achieved a time of 2:14:38 in the Lake Biwu Marathon, Japan. Nick was born in Norwich, England and works as a climatologist.

Mike Davis steamed into 3rd place, almost catching last week’s winner Jamie Laurence and Josh Durno took 4th place, 2nd to Grant in the O/20s.

Next was Anthony Baines, successfully defended his leading position in the O/50 cross country championship with a 17 second win over Stephen Eastwood.

Finishing further back and working hard were James Horne 18th and 4th O/40 and Phil Hniat in 21st spot.

For this round, the men had a team of 36 which is huge for this time of the year. The team enjoyed a comfortable win over second-placed Sandy Bay.

Men’s Points:  Northern Suburbs 128, Sandy Bay 93, Eastern Suburbs 54, OVA 35, TMA 17, UTAS 15


Green Point Nature Reserve - 1st June

We really picked it this time! We had a superb morning for running in fact we had the one good day for the week and a much better one than the next day. Admittedly there were a few shivers in the notorious winter breeze coming down from New Norfolk way, but all that was forgotten once the run began. Pre-race inspiration was provided by one year old Max who demonstrated the 20 m downhill run without falling.

The course was a 2 km loop along a gravel trail.  We had to do 2 loops (4 km) or 4 loops (8 km). The only significant slope was at the end of the loop giving us a 20 m climb to the finish line (or the next lap).

In the women’s 4 km, old memories were rekindled when Ruby Smee and Ebony Webb finished 1st and 2nd. Most of the next few places were taken by the group of U/15 girls who have become prominent this season. This time Mikayla Ireland in 3rd place took the top U/15 position. Eastern Suburbs U/15, Jemima Lennon was close behind with Avalon Forbes following to finish 5th. Emily Best came 7th and Emma Henkel came in 11th, pursued by Jemima’s twin sister, Imogen.

Marcia Hughes and Suzanne Margetts, from our O/40 ranks, finished in 10th and 16th places doing well to get top 7 spots in one of the most competitive divisions. Not far behind, Sarah Holmstrom 19th and Holly McLaren 22nd (in the short race for once), gained 2nd and 3rd spots in the O/20 division.

In the middle of the field our O/50s began to arrive. I have started to think of them as a block although this time they were more like a wall. Tracey McConnon 25th led the way and she was followed by Karen Hooker 26th, Carol Bristow 27th, Mary Stewart 28th and Ann Holloway 34th. This group took nearly all the top seven places in the O/50 division.

But wait, there was more! Oenone Schofield and her mother Juanita finished 39th and 42nd in just their second run. Zoe Kerr, our sole U/20 of this race, finished 43rd and 5th in her division and we welcomed back Sharyn Thorpe who finished 46th. We got more support from Paige, Julie, Anne, Marg and Jenny, all consistent participants and usually around when they are needed.

City to Casino 11 km winner, Mel Daniels, unsurprisingly won the 8 km with a 3-minute lead over the rest of the field. She got good support from Ruth Wilson 4th and Lisa McConnon 5th who took the next two places in the O/20s division.

As in the 4 km race, there was tough competition in the O/40 division and the in-form Nat Fleming 9th and Tania Rowlands 11th did well to finish in the top seven.

Our U/20 rep, Ambrosia Negri, who rarely shirks a long run, finished 16th and 2nd U/20 and Wendy Meadowcroft, another hard worker, sprinted to the finish to gain 4th place in the O/50 division.

Women’s Points:  Northern Suburbs 137, Sandy Bay 111, Eastern Suburbs 47, OVA 24, TMA 11, UTAS 1

The men’s team is rarely prominent in the shorter race but this time Phil had dropped down and after establishing a big lead, won convincingly. U/20 runner, Dylan Burnett finished 5th within sight of the leading two U/20s and Brad Sansom’s 8th place put him 4th in the O/20s.

Next of our Club to finish was Noah Proposch in 10th place, a comfortable winner of the U/15 division.

Several of our more senior runners, dominated the next part of the field. Dave O'Brien 15th, Paul Henkel 16th, Ben Hughes 18th, Nick Laggar 19th, Ken Atkinson 21st and Scott Barwick 22nd all won top seven places in their divisions.

Close behind was U/15 Lucas Atkinson, not often available to run but effective when he does. Lucas finished 23rd and importantly, 4th in the U/15s.

The middle of the field included Jamie McConnon 28th, who is gradually recovering from an ankle injury, Tim McConnon 29th, 4th O/50, Tony Sansom 35th, 7th O/50 and Justin Henkel who at times has been our only U/15. Justin took 36th place and 6th in the U/15s. Our other top 7 finisher was Will Vandersluys who in 44th place was 5th in the U/20 division making a very useful contribution.

As usual, there was host of supporting runners collectively having a big impact. These included Al, Mark, Steve, Dave Lucas, Mike Sansom, Mike Stevenson, Cresser, Ian Cole (recovering from a twisted ankle incurred in the Australian Masters) and me (in my usual place).

We did not have our usual dominance of the longer race. With Grant injured and Phil in the shorter race, our “big five” had shrunk to a “big three” with one running with injury. Nevertheless, we did pretty well in an unusually small men’s field.

Head of our bunch was Mike Davis in third place (1st in the O/40 division), and close enough to the two leaders to witness their exciting sprint finish. Damon Court provided support finishing 6th and 2nd O/40.

Anthony Baines, whose rocket-like take off was probably inspired by Max’s pre-run demonstration, maintained a two-minute break on the other O/50s to finish 7th overall.  James Horne came 15th and 5th O/40 and Phil Hniat finished the day in 17th place and 7th O/50.

Men’s Points:  Northern Suburbs 128, Sandy Bay 82, Eastern Suburbs 46, OVA 33, TMA 19, UTAS 10

The women’s and men’s teams both won comfortably and are clear leaders as we approach the middle of the season.


Government House - 11th May

We had another chilly morning for the 3.15 km road run on Lower Domain Road. This race is a memorial for John Keenan, Peter Keenan's father.

This was our first road championship run and is one of the most popular runs in the calendar. On the day, the field numbered around 200 and this one race format on a short course produced many close tussles in that sprint to the finish line.

The women's team was expected to win. The team has plenty of fire power and usually a superiority in numbers. However, for the men's team this was a "must win" round after being more than matched by Sandy Bay in the previous two rounds. As it turned out, both teams won comfortably and for now maintain their places at the top of the two competitions.

The women's race was one of close encounters. However, Mel Daniels and Ruby Smee cleared right out from the pack and finished 1st and 2nd more than a minute ahead of the field, quite an accomplishment in such a short course.

With the next 15 arrivals, there were several skirmishes amongst the U/15s. Emily Best was back to her best to finish 5th, just 2 seconds ahead of Mikayla Ireland in 7th place.  Avalon Forbes was 10th, tied by time with Sophie Connolly, and just 1 second ahead of Jemima Lennon. Emma Henkel in 13th place had a tied time with Metasebia Duggan, another very competitive U/15. All this happened before most of the older runners arrived.

In 15th place, Lynsey Maher was 3rd O/20 just 1 second behind UTAS runner Inessa Corney. Ruth Wilson 16th and Sarah Holmstrom 18th followed close behind to complete our dominance of the O/20s.

In the very competitive O/40 division, Vanessa Kearney 20th and Tania Rowlands 25th did well to be in the top 7 and Nat Fleming 29th was not far away. New-comer Avril Reeve was also in this group. Avril is yet another promising U/15 runner in our long list. Furthermore, Avril's twin sisters, Ariana and Sahara also ran for us. Both were registered but outside the Friday night deadline. Ariana's time would have placed her 13th and Sahara's time would have put her in 25th position.

Jane Johnson 34th and 3rd O/50, was our top runner in the O/50 contingent which included other consistent contributors such as Karen Hooker 45th and 5th, Wendy Meadowcroft, 52nd and 6th and Tracey McConnon 53rd and 7th. If you were watching this group finish, you would have also seen Ambrosia Negri, thankfully recovered from the painful ankle injury of last week, finish 39th to secure 5th place in the U/20 division.

Others also participated making this one of our largest teams this season. Lisa and Margaret stand out as Lisa was propelling a pusher occupied by young Max at close to the speed limit and Margaret was chasing her seven-year-old grandchild whom she was supposed to be escorting.  It was also great to see Judy Limbrick back to strengthen the already potent O/50 contingent. Thanks also to the others, Renee, Paige, Anita, Adele, Carol, Anja, Zoe, Julie, Anne, Natalie, Jenny, and Bec de Courcy.

Women's Points:  Northern Suburbs 95, Sandy Bay 70, Eastern Suburbs 42, OVA 14, TMA 13, UTAS 11

In the men's race, it was again Grant and Phil leading the way and getting the team off to a great start. However, the next dozen places were dominated by OVA U/20 and O/20 runners evidently relishing the short road course.

Damon Court came in 12th, well ahead in the O/40 division and 14th and 15th places went to Josh Durno and Dylan Burnett finishing just 2 seconds apart. Dylan was 5th in the U/20s, a great effort as one of the youngest in that age group.

Brad Sansom finished 22nd, and Anthony Baines 29th. Anthony probably prefers something longer, but still managed 3rd in the O/50 age division.  Peter Hoskinson, another O/50 gave good support finishing 31st and 4th O/50. Shannon Allen in 37th place was our next to finish.

We got an unexpected boost from U/15 Henry Forbes who finished 41st but importantly was 3rd in the U/15s and only just behind Isaac Bonsey, 2nd in this age group. Incidentally, our other participating U/15, Justin Henkel, managed to take the 7th place in this division.

Paul Henkel 46th, Ken Atkinson 50th and Scott Barwick 52nd were 4th, 5th and 7th in the O/40s giving us control of that division.

A long list of back up runners was just what was needed for this type of event. So thanks for the support, Nicklas, James, Tim, David O'Garey, Danilo, Mark Ireland, Alan Coleman, Tony, Mike Pace, Steve, Will, Michael, Nick Cox, David Lucas, David Cresswell, Mike Stevenson and Ken Nixon

Men's Points:  Northern Suburbs 83, Sandy Bay 61, OVA 43, Eastern Suburbs 26, UTAS 21, TMA 20

Huntingfield Cross Country - 4th May

We had a great day for running at one our best venues. The cross country course at Huntingfield is long and demanding but full of interest. This race was the second round of the age group cross country championships and attracted a field of around 160, a good result, but there is no doubt that cross country numbers are down this year.

Northern Suburbs numbers were also down for this round and this is reflected on the scoreboard which shows the men's team soundly beaten by Sandy Bay and the women's team prevailing but by a much smaller margin than usual.

Mikayla Ireland got the women's team off to a great start in the women's 5.5 km, finishing around half a minute ahead of the field. Emma Henkel continued her good form finishing in 8th place, just 1 second behind experienced O/20 runner, Inessa Corney.

They were followed by Marcia Hughes and Sarah Holmstrom who finished just 6 seconds apart in 10th and 11th places.  Suzanne Margetts, a consistent runner in the O/40 division, finished 17th and the next three places belonged to Avalon Forbes, Emily Best and Vanessa Kearney, running as a group, and representing a heap of talent and experience.

Holly McLaren 27th and Renee Michell, 33rd made it into top seven in the O/20. Sandwiched in between them was a block of four of our O/50s, Karen Hooker, Carol Bristow, Adele Lucas and Tracy McConnon who together took the four top places in their division.

Next for us was Ambrosia Negri, favouring an injured ankle, but still taking 2nd place in the U/20s.  Paige Rowlands, Anita Burgess and Margaret Horne rounded off the effort and notably, Anita chose one of the hardest courses to start some gentle running. Watch this space!

Only our toughest tackled the 11 km and Ruth Wilson was our most successful, taking 4th place and 2nd spot in the O/20s. Tania Rowlands, relishing the tough course, finished 6th and 2nd O/40 and Nat Fleming took 8th place and 4th O/40.  The team effort was rounded off by Anja Rolliston and Wendy Meadowcroft. Both spent over an hour completing the 11 km course but their efforts made a significant contribution to the final score.

Women's Points:  Northern Suburbs 110, Sandy Bay 84, Eastern Suburbs 50, OVA 13, Utas 10, TMA 9

The early part of the men's 5.5 km race was dominated by OVA U/20 runners. In this mix, Dylan Burnett finished 7th with a huge improvement on his last year's time. Watch this space too! He looks a little like Grant at that age! Dave O'Brien in his first run of the season made an immediate impact, finishing 10th, well ahead in the O/50 division. Nick Cox finished 13th, another good effort since the shorter race was packed with "resting" runners who normally tackle the longer race of the day.

Our next runners arrived more towards the middle of the field lead by Ken Atkinson 28th, Todd Heffernan, 29th and Scott Barwick 30th, all of whom were in the top 7 of their division. The other club runners included James Horne 33rd, Tim Mcconnon 44th, Jamie McConnon 44th, Dom D'Onofrio, Justin Henkel 45th, Mark Ireland 46th, William Vandersluys 50th and Dave Cresswell 51st. 

Notably, Jamie pushed up the rankings after walking for a couple of rounds and Justin and William both earned some bonus points for their efforts.

For anyone really starved of entertainment, Dave Lucas and I were involved in a riveting battle for last place with Dave prevailing. Dave was still recovering from a strenuous program at the Australian Masters but expects to be back to his speedy best for the Government House dash this week.

Our "big five" dominated the arduous 11 km race. Grant and Phil took out the first two places with Grant unleashing for the first time this season. Damon Court and Mike Davis took 4th and 6th places and were well ahead in the O/40 division. Anthony Baines finished 7th, continuing his dominance in the O/50 division.  Josh Durno was also in this mix with a 5th place finish and we may well have a "big six" if he maintains this form. Ben Curry, who made a return to running this season after a long absence, finished in the middle of the field with a promising time of 50:51

Men's Points:  Sandy Bay 111, Northern Suburbs 90, Eastern Suburbs 44, OVA 39, TMA 29, UTAS 7

St. Virgil's College XC 17th April
Wintery weather has definitely set in and the cool, windy conditions of Saturday morning were an unappreciated challenge. Many of the more senior athletes were away at the Masters' Championships and a National Little Athletics Championship even was on at the Domain. Therefore, we had a smaller than usual crowd at St. Virgil's College which is normally a popular venue with its interesting and varied course and, importantly, very good facilities.

The course itself is one of the more demanding ones with some moderate hills and rough trails moderated by "easy" stretches around playing fields.

Our performances in the women's 4 km can be described in age groups. The O/20s had a great day with Mel Daniels winning easily and Sarah Holmstrom 9th, Holly McLaren 19th and Renee Mitchell 21st providing great support. As a group they won most of the bonus points in their division.

The U/15s were nearly as potent. Emma Henkel finished 5th, 2nd in the age group and achieved a massive 5 ½ minute improvement on her last year's time. Emily Best took 7th place (3rd U/15) and in finishing in 22nd and 29th place, Mikayla Ireland and Paige Rowlands also scored bonus points.
Marcia Hughes 10th, Suzanne Margetts 14th and Natalie Henkel 31st were in the top 7 of a hugely competitive women's O/40 group dominated by Sandy Bay runners.

Karen Hooker in 17th place, was the top O/50 of the day and four of the other top seven places were filled by Tracey McConnon 20th, Carol Bristow 23rd, Mary Stewart 24th and Ann Holloway 25th.

Our other "followers" included Anne, Julie, Zoe and Lynne. Zoe Kerr finished near the end of the field but in the sparse U/20 women's division, she still managed 3rd place showing that you can make a difference just by showing up and taking part.

In the small field which contested the 7.4 km, Lisa McConnon was back on top of the O/20 division, finishing 3rd behind two very tough opponents. Ruth Wilson surged to the finish in 5th and Lynsey Maher took 9th spot. They were 3rd and 4th in the O/20 age group.

Over half the runners in the field were in the O/40 age group and our O/40s, Tania Rowlands 10th and Nat Fleming 11th, did well to stay competitive.

Our last bonus points were eared by Anja Rolliston who worked hard for nearly 1 hour to finish 5th in the O/20s.

Northern Suburbs women comfortably won this round and look set for another stellar season.

Women's Points:  Northern Suburbs 131, Sandy Bay 84, Eastern Suburbs 41, TMA 10, OVA 8

The men had a narrow squeak, scraping home from Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay dominated the shorter race particularly in the underage divisions where we are seriously outnumbered. Fortunately, Northern Suburbs had the upper hand in the longer race and earned just enough points for a win.

Our top runner in the men's 4 km was Dylan Burnett "resting" from the long race. Dylan finished 4th, just 2 seconds behind Daniel Smee, to take 2nd place in the U/20s.

Nick Cox 8th, Brad Sansom 13th and Nicklas Laggar 17th were the best of our O/20 runners and Ken Atkinson in 20th place was 2nd in the O/40 division.

Consistent runners, Todd Heffernan 22nd, Scott Barwick 26th and Tim McConnon 30th followed later, earning bonus points in the senior divisions.

Sandy Bay runners took the first four places in the U/15s but the 5th to 7th places went to Blake Hooker 31st, Justin Henkel 33rd and Patrick Walker 47th.

The remaining runners included Dominic D'Onofrio, David O'Garey, Mark Ireland, John Dalco, Steve Burnett, Mike Sansom, Jamie McConnon and me. Collectively, the group made an important contribution in a very close contest.

Our domination of the men's longer race continued this day with Phil and Grant taking the top two places and O/40 runners Damon Court 4th and Mike Davis 5th took the top two places in their division. Anthony Baines took 7th spot, maintaining his prominence in the O/50 division. Our final runner of the day, Martin Weitnauer finished 15th virtually unnoticed but earning 4 valuable points.

Sometimes I imagine how much more excitement there would be if there was an automatic bill board displaying progressive points. I imagine that Martin's reception would have been very different especially as the scores would read Northern Suburbs 104 and Sandy Bay 100

Men's Points:  Northern Suburbs 104, Sandy Bay 100, Eastern Suburbs 61, OVA 26, TMA 21,

Domain Cross Country - 13th April

For the second time we had a damp morning which cleared up in time for the races. It was the start of the school holidays but there was soccer on the Soldiers Walk Oval, so we had to use the walking/jogging trail which encompasses both of the ovals in the complex. The rest of the course is in two parts, downwards using much of the Soldiers Walk trail which is lined with commemorative plaques and then up mainly using minor trails with the slope ameliorated by two or three switchbacks.

The women's team had a massive win. We had the luxury having of our two top performers, Meriem and Mel and a great debut from U/15 newcomer, Mikayla Ireland whose has taken 1st and 2nd places so far this season. Additionally, we had a large team with some quality supporting performers.

The men's team also prevailed over Sandy Bay but look out for the Bay's group of U/15s. there is serious quality there and before long they will be a real handful.

First to finish in the women's 4 km was Mel Daniels around 1 ½ minutes ahead of new member Mikayla Ireland. Emma Henkel came in 5th, just 1 second behind the talented Jemima Lennon and Emily Best was not far behind in 7th place.

Sarah Holmstrom was back to finish 10th, 2nd to Mel in the O/20 division, and another promising new comer to cross country, Caitlin Terry, took 12th place and 6th in the U/15 division.
Others finished more to the middle of the field yet in the top seven of their age groups. Nat Fleming 20th and Suzanne Margetts 24th both scored in the O/40s and Hayley Sansom 23rd and Anita Welsh 35th had similar success in the O/20 division. Zoe Kerr also managed 5th place in the U/20 division.
An O/50 contingent of Karen Hooker 29th, Tracey McConnon 30th, Carol Bristow 31st, Mary Stewart 32nd and Wendy Meadowcroft 34th took places 3rd to 7th in their division and not far off, Ann Holloway finished 39th.

Others also competed, not lacking in keenness and consistency. These included Kristy, Paige, Anne, Bec, Anita Burgess, Margaret, Sharyn, Bec de Courcy and the indefatigable Jenny Stevenson.

In the tough 8 km race the field was down to 20. Meriem Daoui now in the O/20 division, finished well ahead and there was excellent support from Ruth Wilson,4th, Lisa McConnon 5th and Lynsey Maher 8th, who took the next three O/20 places. Tania Rowlands 10th and Jane Johnston 14th were effective in the O/40 and O/50 age groups and Ambrosia Negri, running conservatively, took place 1 in the U/20.

Women's Points:  Northern Suburbs 140, Sandy Bay 77, Eastern Suburbs 69, OVA 50, TMA 11, UTAS 1

Nick Cox was our fastest in the 4 km, finishing 6th and 2nd in the O/20s. Richard Welsh 12th and Shannon Allen 15th also contributed in the O/20s and Nick Laggar took 18th place.
Ken Atkinson 21st, was followed close behind by Paul Henkel 22nd, securing 2nd and 3rd places in the O/40s. Brad Sansom in his season debut was next of Northern Suburbs to finish taking 24th spot.   

There were several prominent O/50 men "resting" in this race and Todd Heffernan 29th did well to finish 6th O/50. Scott Barwick was just a few seconds behind him to take 6th place in the O/40s. Later finishers include Tim McConnon 40th, Blake Hooker 41st, our top U/15, Danilo Negri 44th and Justin Henkel 46th.

The large band of supporting runners was headed by Mark Ireland 52nd, having his first run for the Club and included Dom, Alan, Tony, Steve, Mike Stevenson, Mike Sansom, Jamie and me.

Northern Suburbs runners dominated the 8 km race particularly in the O/20 division. Phil and Grant took the first two places ther was great support from Josh Durno 4th and 3rd O/20 and Martin Weitnauer 21st and 6th.  Damon Court 5th and Mike Davis 7th secured the two top places in the O/40 division and Dylan Burnett was 8th across the line taking 2nd place in the U/20s.
Anthony Baines followed in 9th spot taking 1st place in the O/50 group and was supported by fellow O/50, Peter Hoskinson who finished 17th and 6th in the division.  The event finished with the arrival of David Cresswell at the line who was his usual dogged self.

Men's Points: Northern Suburbs 120, Sandy Bay 96, Eastern Suburbs 55, OVA 50, TMA 27, UTAS 0

Bellerive Beach 6th April

The muster area for the opening round of the Athletics South Winter Competition 2019 was abuzz with activity when we arrived at 9:30 am. Much of it at that early time was from the Park Run finishers but before long, the shade tents were up and the cross country crowd had begun to gather. The heavy showers from early morning had passed by and the cool, calm weather was almost perfect for running. The high tide did make the beach sections more difficult.

The results of the first run of the season are always unpredictable with so many new runners and missing faces from the 2018 season. This time Northern Suburbs was able to win both the women's and the men's divisions although the signs are that Sandy Bay will give us plenty of competition this season.

This season, I have made a seamless transition from being one of the slowest runners to being one of the slowest walkers. There is little glory here but it does mean that I can get a good idea of how the races are unfolding in an out and back race. As I got near the end of Bellerive Beach, I encountered the 3.8 km runners on their way back. Northern Suburbs runners were not prominent at that stage, but it finished better than it first looked with Nick Cox 9th and 4th O/20 our fastest and Dylan Forbes taking 11th place and 2nd in the O/50s. Our chances improved after an outstanding debut by Adonias Mesfin who matched it with two of the top U/15s to finish in 16th place and 3rd in his division. Henry Forbes made his first appearance as a U/15 Club runner. Henry has been blossoming as a middle-distance runner on the track but showed that he can run a pretty good cross country too, finishing 27th and 7th in his age group.

Shannon Allen finished 17th followed by Paul Henkel in 20th place (2nd in the O/40s). Another promising U/15 debutant, Luke Atkinson finished 31st, a few seconds ahead of his dad, Ken. Ken took 3rd place in the O/40s and other useful contributions came from Scott Barber 38th, Ben Hughes, 41st and Brett Mitchell 44th.

We had 15 others finishing further back, nearly all outside the bonus points range but collectively making a good contribution. Amongst them was Will Vandersluys, making his first appearance for the Club in the U/20 division. Will finished back in the field but still earned 4 valuable interclub points showing that you can make a difference by just having a go.

Thanks to the others too, Kelly, Todd, Justin, Tim, Dom, Alan, Greg, Dave, Mike Pace, Mike Stevenson, Jamie, Stephen and Fletch. There are years of experience in this group and some outstanding contributors to the Club.

I was not much further up on the Bluff track when the 6 km runners appeared on their way back. First Phil and Grant appeared, Grant trailing for once. (I am told that Grant is recovering from a long layoff). Ultimately Phil achieved his second successive Graeme Cruise Memorial win finishing 6 seconds ahead of Grant. Damon Court steamed by and finished 7th, well ahead in the O/40s. Josh Durno, 8th (6th in O/20s), Mike Davis, 9th (2nd O/40s), and Dylan Burnett 10th (2nd in U/20s) followed, all making valuable contributions points wise.
Further back, Anthony Baines battled with two other O/50s, all three finishing in a three second interval. Anthony achieved 2nd place in the division. Back further, Peter Hoskinson in 23rd place managed 6th in the O/50s.

Our other contributors were Martin Weitnauer, John Dalco and almost inevitably, David Cresswell.

Men's Points: Northern Suburbs 122, Sandy Bay 101, Eastern Suburbs 60, OVA 51, TMA 26, UTAS 6

In the women's 3.8 km, Emma Henkel (4th) made an outstanding start to the season by winning the girl's U/15 division despite being hotly pursued by two other U/15s including Emily Best (6th and 3rd U/15). In fact, our junior runners were a big asset in this round with first time runners, Avril Reeves finishing 13th and 5th in the U/15s, Holly Mclaren, finishing 23rd and 2nd in the U/20s and Zoe Kerr finishing 58th and 6th in the U/20s.

Our senior runners were also prominent. Vanessa Kearney took 11th place, (3rd O/40) just ahead of Marcia Hughes (4th O/20). Jane Johnston finished in 16th spot which was 2nd in the O/50 age group. Next to finish was Nat Fleming 19th and 8th in the O/40s.

Tracey McConnon 34th, Karen Hooker 35th and Ann Holloway 37th provided great support winning 3rd, 4th and 5th places in the O/50 division. Incidentally, I believe this is one of Tracey's best performances in cross country.

Anita Welsh and Kristy Holmstrom chipped in, taking 37th and 43rd places and earning bonus points in the O/20s.

As with the men, there were many other contributors some with many years of service. So thanks also to Paige, Suzanne, Natalie, Anne, Sharyn, Julie, Margaret, Lynne and Jenny and welcome to Anita Burgess, Vanessa's sister, who was a member of Mike Pace's squad in the 90s.

In the 6 km race, Lisa McConnon surprised with a 4 minute improvement on last year to finish 2nd overall, winning the O/20 division and perhaps reminding us that as a junior she was an All Schools and Tasmanian Championship winner in the same year. Ruth Wilson and Lindsay Maher took 3rd and 4th spots to complete a Northern Suburbs domination of the open division. Clare Hawthorne, who has been notable in orienteering, finished 6th (3rd O/40) and Tania Rowland 8th (5th O/40).
Next to finish was Ambrosia Negri in 16th place but 1st in the U/20 division. Finally, we had a very successful O/50 trio of Carol Bristow 19th and 2nd O/50, Mary Stewart 20th and 3rd and Wendy Meadowcroft 22nd and 4th.

Women's Points: Northern Suburbs 145, Sandy Bay 98, Eastern Suburbs 47, OVA 42, TMA 5, UTAS 0