Running Against The Wind

Claire won the socks at Ballarat!

“Against the wind
We were runnin' against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin'
against the wind”

- Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

When thinking of world famous lakes there may be a number that spring straight to mind including those such as Lake Michigan, Loch Lomond, Loch Ness or even Lake Eyre here in Australia. However, a lake that has, depending on your point of view, become either famous or infamous for members of the Malvern Harriers is Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, home of the Athletics Victoria’s 15km annual road race. Unlike last year, there were no wild weather warnings and conditions in Melbourne were mild and dry enough to keep your feet (unless you’re an Essendon defender in the final moments of an AFL game at the MCG). So, the Harriers headed up to Ballarat intrigued to see what conditions would present themselves this year. Having carefully avoided any wandering black swans and negotiated the closed roads it was time to start the warm up lap and test the conditions. With some runners strangely intent on running their warm-up in an anti-clockwise direction, the wind at first didn’t seem too bad. However, by turning around one could be excused for feeling a little like Calamity Jane being just blown in from the windy city.

“Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind”

Come race time and having avoided the tram that decided to take a scenic route of both the lake and runners scampering away at five minutes prior to the start, it was time to commence the race. The Harriers set off making use of the headwind until the first turnaround point where once they arrived they could be excused for feeling like Bob Seger in running and seeking shelter against the wind (thanks MJ!). Negotiating the 15km course and the various wind points saw different Harriers either seeking some shelter in a pack, deciding to go it alone or making the most of racing lines seeking to shorten the course as much as possible.

For the women Tracey was first home in her age group and seventh home overall in a time of 56:43. And this was before completing a 2:45 run the following day! Awesome running Tracey! Club president Amy was the next Harrier home with a top 40 position of 62:59 while third was the “Bayside Spy” Michelle Jelleff in 68:33 which was a fantastic run in the conditions and also a top-six finish for her age group. Eilidh was hot on Michelle’s heels and next home in 68:45 followed by Claire (77:39) and Linda Barlow with a top-three position for her age group in 78:12. Myai and Jay ran extremely well to finish in 93:45 and 95:57 respectively. Such performances helped the Women’s Division 2 team finish 3rd, the Division 5 team finish 1st (!!!) and the Women’s 50+ team once again making a podium finish by finishing 3rd.

The male Harriers also put in a great effort on the day. Before the rest and relaxation of his upcoming holiday to Sri Lanka Shaun put in his best efforts to run 56:59 followed by Neill who received a rude awakening to the local conditions with a great 59:20. Fresh off his efforts at Albert Park was Chris Harvey in 59:42 while a courageous Marcus still ran despite a muscle strain picked up during the week with a time of 60:49. David Lau (65:35), Chris Rayment (66:57) and Greg Berti (72:19) were the next Harriers home running with true Harrier grit and determination closely followed by Chris Scully (73:16), Chris Burnett (73:50) and Marko (83:24) who also ran extremely well and can be proud of their efforts. [Ed: Damien, our humble correspondent, was first Harrier home in 55:34.] These performances saw the Malvern Harriers Division 3 team finish in 2nd position, the Division 4 team finish in 3rd position, the 40+ team finish in 11th position and the 50+ team finish in 6th position which are all excellent performances given the conditions of the day.

“Against the wind
I'm still runnin' against the wind
Well I'm older now and still
Against the wind”

Feeling a little older and a little colder the Harriers gathered around the tea box for a hot cup of tea, piece of cake and chat about the day’s events. Thanks must go to all of those who came along to support their partners and the Harriers by travelling so far on the day. Congratulations to Claire Lawford who was a well-deserved sock award winner on the day which was much better than winning one of the sausage rolls from one of the petrol stations along the way if your correspondent’s experience is anything to go by. With two more races to follow in the upcoming two weeks it was a weary bunch of Harriers who eventually made their way back towards Melbourne and away from the mighty pretty windy city.