May 29, 2012
Hilly Half Done and Won
There was a massive turnout in glorious weather conditions for the 2012 Stamford Financial Hilly Half Marathon. The race began with a record number of 66 individuals and 44 team members, with a large contingent of Mackay Road Runners and Townsville athletes taking on the local Hamilton Island Tri and Run clubbers and a sprinkling of runners from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The records extended to the finish times too.
The Hilly Half starts on Front Street, with the first leg heading north towards qualia before returning to the Resort Centre at Catseye Beach. The second leg is all off-road, and heads up to Passage Peak and down to the remote beaches on the south of the Island. The third leg has a mix of terrain, with some off-road running to the Resort Lookout before heading towards the airport and marina for the finish back on Front Street.
In the men’s category, Airlie Beach local Reuben McLoughlin screamed home ahead of the field in a course record 1hr41min11sec. Following him in second was Townsville’s Allan Seeferson, 8 minutes back, who had to out-sprint Daren Galea from Mackay, a further 19 seconds back, in the final stretch.
In the womens’ race, Hamilton Island local Ashlea Achilles lowered the women’s record by a staggering 16mins to 1hr56min25sec. Brisbane resident Oksana Isavnina was hot on her heals only 48 seconds back. Former winner and course record holder Monique Flores lowered her time by nine minutes and finished third in 2hr03min.
The teams division also provided close racing. The winning (mixed) team of Skye Rettke, Wayne Zahra and Kristen Legrand finishing in 2:08:09; just pipping Jock Athletic; comprised of Mel and Jock Campbell from Sydney who teamed with Mark McConkey, a member of the newly formed Whitsunday Runners Club. All-girl local Island team of Brooke Evans, Jacqui Smith and Sarah Osborne rounded out the podium with the three placegetters separated by just 73 seconds!
While the adults caught their breath, the juniors had their turn with three races over 3km, 1.5km and 750m. Again, there was a great turnout with local and visiting runners following race organiser Steve Jackson on his bike around the marina. First place in the 3km was taken out by local Hamilton Island tri-guy Ryder Harvey.
With support from community volunteers, major sponsors and local businesses the day was a huge success.