Fun in the sun at community games
HUNDREDS turned out to enjoy the sun, fun and atmosphere of the inaugural Heathcote Community Games Fun Run on Sunday.
Sponsored by Connally’s Real Estate, the fun run attracted 220 participants of all ages and abilities from as far away as the United Kingdom, with some inspiring performances from young and old.
Sunny conditions greeted participants, though they faced a difficult head wind on the return journey and a hidden hill that left some people cursing.
‘‘Oh my goodness, I didn’t notice the hill going out, but coming back you think you’re on the home straight and it’s all easy from here, but then there’s that damn hill — you almost want to wait for the golf cart,’’ one participant said.
One person who refused to let the golf cart beat her was Heathcote’s Cathy Bonsey, the final finisher of the race, who was cheered over the line by more than 300 people and never gave in, completing the 10km course in a time of 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Community Games coordinator Sandra Slatter said she was proud of Cathy’s achievement.
‘‘The spirit of the race with the social connectedness and inclusive message of the Heathcote Community Games was captured perfectly by Cathy Bonsey, who has had a double hip replacement,’’ she said.
‘‘Some participants were there to run as fast as they could, but the majority were there to participate in a fantastic community event for the town.’’
At the start and finish line in Herriot St stood two, 3m poppet heads constructed by Mandalay Resources for the event and will also be used for the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon on May 1.
The poppets were admired by many and were a popular backdrop for photos on the day, with many locals delighted to see Heathcote’s gold mining history getting a nod at a time when the region is best known for its wine.
‘‘The event was an outstanding success, providing locals and others an opportunity to experience Heathcote and the beautiful O’Keefe Rail Trail,’’ Ms Slatter said.
One of the highlights of the event was the 500m race for children five years and under, which had the crowd cheering and clapping, as the region’s future champions took to the course for their chance to win a special ribbon and trophy for taking part.
Blitzing the field was fiveyear-old Alize Pearce from Heathcote, who put in such an impressive effort that the Bendigo Athletics Club was keen to speak to mum and dad about their talented youngster — perhaps a future Olympian in the making.
The 10km champion for the males was Peter Cowell from Bendigo Harriers Athletics Club who ran a quick time of 37 minutes and 20 seconds on the challenging course.
Cowell also beat his younger rivals as he ran in the over 50 years age category and was coming off a recent 5000m gold medal win at the Victorian Country Championships.
The female champion was Rebecca Wilkinson from Bendigo University Athletics Club who completed an outstanding run, beating all but five of the males in a winning time of 41:28.
In the male 49 and under aged category, first over the line was Darren Hartland in a time of 39:11 from the South Bendigo Athletics Club and who was also part of the large 3T Fitness team competing on the day.
The 50+ females had an enthralling battle with the winner Susan Harvey, also from Bendigo, running at time of 55:08
The youngsters in the under 18 age group had the better of the open aged athletes in the 5km event.
Cameron Anderson, a 14-year-old from Fryerstown, went out at a breathtaking pace and took line honours in a time of 18:40.
Matilda Moore, a Girton Grammar student and athlete from Bendigo Harriers Athletics Club, won the female category in the 5km quite easily with a winning time of 21:45 after competing last week at the Victorian State Titles.
The open aged line honours were taken by Linda Duncan from Gisborne (24:46).
In the open aged males, Bendigo Harriers athlete Lachlan Carr won in a time of 19:13.
The 2km event had runners turn around at Holy Rosary Primary School with several sprinting off the line in front of a fantastic crowd.
Melissa Butler of Lady’s Pass did the locals proud in winning the 2km event for the athletes aged 15 to 18 years in a time of 11:04.
Craig Green, the race director, decided to enter the race late and test out the course to take line honours for the males in a time of 7:27.
Eli Pearce, a 12-year-old from South Bendigo Athletics Club, won the aged 14 and under race in 7:59, while the female aged 14 and under winner was 11-year-old Charli Green from Girton Grammar who competes with Bendigo Harriers and Bendigo Little Athletics in a time of 10:03.
Attention for runners now turns to May 1 with the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon, half-marathon, quarter marathon, mile and Ekiden relay.
A local training group in Heathcote has started, which meets at Barrack Reserve at 5.45pm each Thursday.
For Bendigonians the group meets on Monday at 6.15pm at the athletics track.
There is no cost to be involved in the group and all abilities are welcome.
For information about the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon on May 1, visit www.theokeefe.com.au Fun run major results
10km 50+ male: Peter Cowell (37.20) 1, Victor Cook (40.59) 2, Lawrence Abel (43.38) 3. 50+ female: Helen Attril (1:01.24) 3. 0-49 male: Darren Hartland (39.11) 1, Benjamin Goode (40.05) 2, Luke Brophy (40.38) 3. 0-49 female: Rebecca Wilkinson (41.28) 1, Sarah Schroeder (45.17) 2, Els Viester (45.48) 3. Overall male 10km champion: Peter Cowell (37.20). Overall female 10km champion: Rebecca Wilkinson (41.28).
5km 18+ male: Lachlan Carr (19.13) 1, Greg Croft (24.54) 2, Neil Bowe (25.09) 3. 18+ female: Linda Duncan (24.46) 1, Frances Willmot (26.19) 2, Mary Whalan (27.37) 3. 0-17 male: Cameron Anderson (18.40) 1, Luke Salvador (21.15) 2, Ryan Salvador (24.16) 3. 0-17 female: Matilda Moore (21.45) 1, Alia Melgin-Hill (24.02) 2, Chloe Green (25.07) 3. Overall male 5km champion: Cameron Anderson (18.40). Overall female 5km Matilda Moore (21.45).
2km 15+ male: Craig Green (7.27) 1, Christian McKindley (9.57) 2, Glenn Dixon (10.41) 3. 15+ female: Melissa Butler (11.04) 1, Aida Escall (11.28) 2, Janet Munro (12.46) 3. 0-14 male: Eli Pearce (7.59) 1, Victor Butler (8.13) 2, Riley Bruce (8.33) 3. 0-14 female: Charli Green (10.03) 1, Lily Ford (10.32) 2, Elizabeth Butler (10.55) 3. Susan Harvey (55.08) 1,
(59.11) 2, Judy Fitt