in the Sun
In search of some warm weather racing this winter I headed down under
again to compete in four meetings I had not run at before.
The first meeting in Adelaide being the Bay Sheffield, a two day meeting
which attracted some of Australia's Olympic squad, notably Jai Taurima
(long jump silver medallist) competing in the 120m gift (that's Oz speak
for professional sprint)
I ran two races on the second day of the Bay Sheffield meeting. The
first being a veterans 1600m handicap (in Australia you become a veteran
at 35 years old). I started 3rd from the back of the field and
managed to work my way up to second place, only to be caught on the line
by an ex-pat Scot called Danny. Some Fife AC elders will remember
him as one half of the well-known Knowles twins (Edinburgh AC).
All the same I was pleased with a podium finish. I later ran in
the open 1600m, unplaced due to my earlier success.
Onto Melbourne and the Maryborough meeting held on New Years Day with
temperatures in the 90's. I ran as a back marker in the vets 1600m
finishing eleventh out of 29 starters (I'm sure the handicapper thought
my name was El Guerrouj) I later ran in the open 1600m where I was again
The next weekend I travelled upstate to Bright in Victoria's alpine
region that has snow and skiing in winter but is still very hot in the
summer months. Here I ran in the open 1600m handicap and finished
respectably 7th place out of a good field of 31 runners.
Before my next race I thought I would do some hill work so where better
than Ayres Rock, with sections so steep that it would slow up even Alan
Milligan. After a good nights R & R in Alice Springs it was
back to Melbourne for my final meeting at Rye, 50 miles down in the
Mornington peninsula. I ran the vets 1600m as joint back marker. I
was making good progress throughout the race until the last lap where I
still had four runners to catch. I managed to pass 3 of them on
the back straight but the front marker was still some 35m away and
although I closed the gap rapidly I was still 5 metres short at the
finish line. I was still happy to have run well and receive a sash
and cheque for my efforts. I later ran in the open 1600m
where I managed to get up into 3rd place with 300m to go before a severe
case of rubber legs came on and I faded to nowhere!
After my exertions, what better way to cool off from the 90-degree heat
than a dip in the ocean. Only 50m across the road was the beach that
joins the famous Portsea sand dunes where Herb Elliot did most of his
training some 40 years ago.
As usual the trip was all over too soon and I was back to the snow and
freezing temperatures of home. Until next time.
John Thomson (Fife AC)