‘Old Man Harvey’ Makes His Own Luck

“If It Wasn’t for Bad Luck, I Wouldn’t Have No Luck At All”
Born Under a Bad Sign – Albert King

Whether you’re Albert King or just running at Albert Park Lake, luck, like other things, just happens. Some people believe you make your own luck, some people believe they were born unlucky, some believe fortune favours the brave. As a gust of wind blew my car door into the neighbouring car at Chadstone Shopping Centre last week causing over $800 damage, this and other events - including the performance of a few Malvern Harriers at this years Athletics Victoria Albert Park road 10km - had your correspondent wondering about luck and the double-edged sword role it plays in sport.

At the forefront were the circumstances surrounding Richie Porte, the Australian professional cyclist and lead rider for team BMC at this year’s Tour de France. After seemingly being in a strong position for a podium finish on this year’s Tour and after recovering from a horrendous fall in last year’s Tour, Richie suddenly suffered a broken collarbone from a seemingly innocuous fall ending his tour prematurely for another year. Is that just unlucky or is it something more? Can you reconcile losing a year’s hard work just to chance and bad luck? Or does it leave a deeper mark on your sporting psyche that has you questioning the bigger picture of it all? Or are you lucky just to be able to earn a good living from something of which you are passionate about while travelling the world and knowing that like in most things, you’ll need to take the bad with the good?

While this is perhaps viewing the world from a too negative a viewpoint and without wanting to be too philosophical, it did have this reporter wondering about matters closer to home. For an athlete and club member with the record of Chris Harvey, the last few years have brought more than their fair share of frustration and bad luck through a variety of different injuries. However, a string of recent performances have shown the Chris has pushed through these injury setbacks culminating in a time of 37:57 and a top five finish for the age group for the day! (Note, it’s also rumoured that by coming home so easily under 40 minutes “Old Man Harvey” had to pay up for a bet being a slab of ginger beer at a Dan Murphy stop off on the way home!). A great example of how persistence and hard work can overcome what ever setbacks come your way.

The Malvern Harriers Women’s D50+ team had no need to worry about bad luck given they once again achieved a podium finish in XCR’18 by coming third on the day. Congratulations! While it was great to have Michelle back racing for Malvern in true Michelle fashion she managed to well exceed her own expectations to finish with a top-ten finish for her age group and a time of 45:09 and along with her teammates Linda Barlow (49:50) and Jay Wright (59:22) it was a fantastic achievement for the day. These two examples I’m sure are just some of many examples of the individual trials and tribulations that our members overcame on the day, not to mention bad luck, to either put in a personally satisfying performance or simply make it to the start line and compete.

For the remainder of the women Tracey once again put in a very solid performance coming home as the first Harrier and second female overall for her age group in a time of 36:36. Congratulations are definitely in order for our club president Amy Hessell who cracked the mythical 40 minute barrier to come home in 39:56 and the day’s sock award. Well done Amy! Eilidh rounded out the top three with a solid run of 43:52. With Michelle next, it was Claire who then followed her in her debut AV Albert Park event (49:21) followed by Linda and then Myai (55:38) while both Jay and Ann (67:16) both put in strong performances for the day and can be proud of their efforts with Jay’s being crucial to the Women’s 50+ team success.

For the men, overall it was Jack Rayner from Western Athletics who rode his luck to come away with first place and a heavier wallet to beat the AV marker by just over seven seconds with a time of 28:52 (lucky!). For the Malvern Harriers it was Marcus and Shaun who led the way out with Marcus in particular demonstrating how strong he felt on the day. Marcus came home in 35:48 closely followed by Shaun in 36.17 and Chris Harvey. [Ed: our humble reporter Damien neglects to mention his fantastic time of 35:34!] It was great to have Neill Leith turn out for the Harriers for the first time with a strong debut time of 38:35. Welcome to the Malvern Harriers, Neill. Michael made use of the local conditions to break the 40 minute barrier (39:51) followed by David Lau (40:46) and Sam Low (42:02). Ash was back representing the Harriers in style with a strong 42:57 followed by Chris Rayment (44:03) and Greg (46:03). Chris Burnett was full of encouragement for his fellow Harriers and ran strongly to be next home in 47:10 while Marko ran a strong 52:26.

Special thanks once again to those who volunteered for the Malvern Harriers on the day and those who came out just to support the Harriers in their endeavours including Dan, David, Richard, Steve, Helen and anyone I’ve missed…sorry! Our next race is the AV XCR’18 road 15km at Lake Wendouree on Saturday the 4th of August and one thing we can be sure about, there’ll be more Malvern Harriers making their own fortunes through their efforts and performances on the day.