Beating the odds at Burnley

September 10, 2017

Those who were available ran extremely well and Alex Ritchie stepped up from the U20 division and John Meagher stepped down from the Over 50 age group to fill our Premier Division team and help our team take out another victory to cement our place at the top of the ladder and, with just one round to go, ensure another premiership to our open men’s team.

Our women’s team also put in a great performance, with Steph Kondogonis and Rhiannon Snipe having their first top ten finishes, Pia Hunter fighting on with a sore foot to win her age group and Rachel Johnson completing a strong team performance.

See below for Ian Sloane’s full report.


Men Premier Division (team place: 1st)

  1.       Steve Dinneen                        68:05
  2. Andre Waring                        68:47
  3. Nick Baggott                          70:10
  4. Alex Ritchie                           72:48
  5. John Meagher                         74:47

Men Division 2 (team place: 11th)

  1. Garth Calder                           80:14
  2. Michael Petridis                     81:58
  3. Josh De Stefanis                     81:59
  4. Peter Stefanos                        82:36

(140. Luke Crozier                          82:54       invitation)

  1. Chris O’Connor                     83:11

Men Division 4 (team place: 3rd)

  1. Russell Clowes                       84:59
  2. Andrew Hester                       88:23
  3. Jack Hill                                 88:31
  4. Stephen Ross                          91:54

Men Division 6 (team place: 2nd)

  1. Matt O’Donnell                      94:10
  2. Jackson Deane                        94:10
  3. Zac Hunter                             94:10
  4. Peter Green                            94:29

Men Division 7

  1. Nick Harper                           96:33
  2. Simon St Hill                         102:31
  3. Andrew Tunne                       132:39

Women Premier Division (team place: 5th)

  1. Stephanie Kondogonis           82:02
  2. Rhiannon Snipe                      82:07
  3. Pia Hunter                              92:51
  4. Rachel Johnson                      96:16

By Ian Sloane

Athletics Victoria Half Marathon Championship at Burnley, 9 September 2017

Box Hill provisionally won the Men’s Division 1 half marathon teams’ race on Sunday 9 September, defeating Melbourne University and, it appears, surprise packet, Collingwood which seems to have finished third.

The race has been run from the Kevin Bartlett reserve in Burnley along the Boulevard for a number of years, and the course is time-tested.  The course runs parallel with the Yarra River and is relatively fast being flat with several small rises and is an out and back course. This year, conditions were again perfect, with no wind, although it was chilly. As noted in previous years, teams of five score points in Men’s Division 1 and 2 races to determine the winner, with one fewer athlete required in a scoring team than the other winter races (in Division 1 and Division 2).There were over 520 starters on the starting line, including men and women.  This year, we were well represented by 21 senior male runners and four female runners and we finished four male teams, a fine effort.  Many of our leading athletes were unwell or unavailable.

Once the race commenced, the leaders separated quite quickly and there was a group of five athletes, which included Steve Dinneen, Liam Adams (Essendon), Mitch Brown (Essendon), Nick Earl (Melbourne Uni) and Matthew Johnsen (Doncaster) who established an early break over the rest of the field. There were several other athletes close by, namely Ben Kelly (Glen Huntly) and Dane Verwey (Frankston).  They were off the main bunch, but within striking distance. The Division 1 team, looking likely to comprise Steve Dinneen, fourth at this stage, Andre Waring, 12th at this point (who has been running in sensational form, running PB after PB and improving his ordinal position just about every race), Nick Baggott, about 15th (also enjoying a good season and ultra-reliable even in the longer events which are not his favourite distance), John Meagher (31st) also up the pointy end, with Alex Ritchie who stepped up when the club needed him to (and also running in the best form of his life) in 32nd position. Alex is still a junior runner and he agreed to run the 21.1 kilometre course rather than the junior event, a selfless act which involved the sacrifice of a likely medal in the underage event.  This was a most impressive effort. Other Box Hill athletes were Garth Calder who eventually had an outstanding result, running in about 100th position, Michael Petridis (about 130th), Josh De Stefanis nearby with  Peter Stefanos and Chris O’Connor who were within sight of Josh and Michael.  Box Hill’s next athlete was Russell Clowes, midfield, followed a minute or so later by Jack Hill and Andrew Hester. Stephen Ross was next and then there was a group running together, comprised of Jackson Deane. Zac Hunter, Matt O’Donnell (returning after to road running after injury) and Peter Green (recovering from illness).  Nick Harper, Simon St Hill and Andrew Tunne rounded out our contingent.

The leading group of five (with a couple further back) were running together for about three kilometres, when Liam Adams put the pedal to the floor and opened up a 64 second gap, after around 5 k., over Mitch Brown, Nick Earl, Matthew Johnsen and Steve Dinneen, who was running with excellent rhythm and looked like he would finish strongly.  Andre worked his way up to 9th position.  Nick Baggott was in 16th position, with John Meagher 32nd and Alex Ritchie 33rd.

The next time the leader (Adams) appeared, he had stretched the lead by another 20 seconds.  Earl Johnsen, Brown and Steve Dinneen were running very close together.  Liam Adams will be running a major Marathon overseas in a fortnight and he was using this run as a tester, without smashing it.  If his form is indicative of what he can do, a PB looms, if everything goes well in his race.

These next four athletes changed places a number of times during the mid-stage of the race.  When they next emerged on the out and back course, Adams passed through in 41:58, Earl was second in 43:39, closely attended by Johnsen and Mitch Brown all within a second of each other.  Steve Dinneen was fifth in 43:43 with a slight gap opening up.  The course commentator reminded the spectators that Steve never says die, and that if anyone started to slip, Steve would engulf them and that actually happened later in the race. Andre Waring had crept up in to 7th place, followed by Nick Baggott 15th.  Alex Ritchie was running brilliantly and sensibly and moved up a place to 32nd.  John Meagher held 37th place at this point.

When the leaders next appeared, Adams had stretched his lead to over two minutes from Brown, followed by Johnsen who had moved ahead of Nick Earl (51:43), fourth, and, ten seconds behind Earl, Steve Dinneen was still running fluently (51:53) in fifth position. Kelly and Verwey were persisting a little further back.

Adams still led on the penultimate lap by two and a half minutes from Brown, who had broken away from Johnsen and Earl (who was eight seconds behind Brown).  Steve was a further 14 seconds behind Earl.  Andre Waring had eased three positions in that lap and held 10th position and Nick Baggott was about 17th.  Alex Ritchie maintained 32nd and John Meagher was around 41st.  We looked pretty solid at this stage in the teams’ race.  Quick calculations suggested that we were ahead of Melbourne University, Collingwood, Geelong and Glenhuntly. SSH did not field their strongest team on the day and were further behind, Essendon had the two leaders and then it was a long way back to their third runner.  Several clubs appeared not to have a scoring team.  In Division 2, Western Athletics were at their weakest for the season.  It appeared that Richmond would take out this event, with possibly Box Hill second.

In the last section, Adams secured the victory running a good time of 64:54.  Mitch Brown was next over the line in 67:41.  Nick Earl won the bronze medal in 68:00.  Steve Dinneen secured fourth place, just five seconds behind, picking up Johnsen in the last couple of kilometres.  Kelly and Verwey were two seconds behind Johnsen and he was fortunate to hold them off.  Andre Waring steadied and completed the race in 11th position.  This was a fine performance from Andre – he gave himself every chance of as top 10 performance and was only passed very late in the race.  He ran yet another PB, and the summer and winter seasons have seen a rich harvest of better and better performances.  He is now firmly established as one of Box Hill’s top runners, both track and road/cross country.  Nick Baggott also had another very good outing and finished 18th, which was a large improvement over the time he recorded in 2016.  He looks certain to do even better next week in the Princes Park relay over a much shorter distance.  Alex Ritchie ran an enormous race, and maintained his position at 32nd.  This was an effort which secured the win for Box Hill, especially with so many of our Division 1 athletes ill, injured or unavailable.  John Meagher proved his evergreen credentials again crossing the line in 41st position and winning his age category by the length of a Canadian freight train.  Garth Calder also made the top 100, finishing 93rd and claiming the bronze medal in his age category which was a very fine effort indeed.  Garth also smashed the time he ran last year and so did Peter Stefanos, Chris O’Connor and Jack Hill.

The finishing positions of our other male athletes in the provisional results are listed below.

The women’s race was won by Lisa Weightman (Melbourne University), from Virginia Moloney (Collingwood) and Sophie Ryan (Old Xavier).  Two Box Hill women excelled and had season’s best placings.  Steph Kondogonis ran a brilliant race and kept pushing up the whole way.  She was running near or amongst some of the Box Hill men from Division 2 and 4.  She was running with excellent cadence and deserved her seventh position.  This was probably her best ever run in AV Winter competition. Also performing brilliantly was Rhiannon Snipe, who ran a similar race to Steph.  Rhiannon had a breakthrough run and knocked off nearly six minutes from the time that she ran last year (and she placed 21st in 2016).  That is one of the most incredible improvements that the author has seen from a Box Hill athlete; a sensational effort.  Rhiannon threatened to catch Steph in the concluding stages, but missed doing that by just five seconds. Both Steph and Rhiannon have every reason to be thrilled with their excellent performances. Another Box Hill athlete to star was Pia Hunter, who won her age group, placed 46th and knocked 3 minutes and 10 seconds off her 2016 race performance.  This was really only overshadowed by the two Box Hill women finishing ahead of her.  Well done, also, Pia: a very fine and noteworthy effort.  Rachel Johnson placed 62nd and ran a sensible race, gradually improving her position during the 21.1 kilometre course.

If four finishers constitute a team, then our women’s team appears to have finished fifth, which would be the best result for the current season.

Thanks to Steve and Mel Dinneen for organising a post-race brunch in Malvern at St James Cafe.

Senior Men individual results (provisional)

1        Liam Adams                                              Essendon       64:54

  1.       Mitchel Brown                                              Essendon       67:41
  2.       Nick Earl                                Melbourne University                                        68:00
  3.       Steve Dinneen                        Box Hill   68:05
  4.       Matthew Johnsen                                            Doncaster       68:07
  5. Andre Waring                        Box Hill   68:47
  6. Nick Baggott                          Box Hill   70:10
  7. Alex Ritchie                           Box Hill   72:48
  8. John Meagher                         Box Hill   74:47
  9. Garth Calder                           Box Hill   80:14

119    Michael Petridis                     Box Hill   81:58

120    Josh De Stefanis                     Box Hill   81:59

  1. Peter Stefanos                        Box Hill   82:36
  2. Chris O’Connor                     Box Hill   83:11

169    Russell Clowes                       Box Hill   84:59

  1. Andrew Hester                       Box Hill   88:23
  2. Jack Hill                                 Box Hill   88:31
  3. Stephen Ross                          Box Hill   91:54

267    Matt O’Donnell                      Box Hill   94:10

  1. Jackson Deane                        Box Hill   94:10
  2. Zac Hunter                             Box Hill   94:10

271    Peter Green                            Box Hill   94:29

280    Nick Harper                           Box Hill   96:33

  1. Simon St Hill                         Box Hill   102:31

369    Andrew Tunne                       Box Hill   132:39


Provisional Team Placing (unofficial)

  1. Box Hill                                     106
  2. Melbourne University               154
  3. Collingwood                              178
  4. Glen Huntly                               207
  5. Geelong                                     207
  6. SSH                                           276


Senior Women individual results (provisional)

  1. Lisa Weightman                     Melbourne University                              71:12
  2. Virginia Moloney                                                Collingwood  75:43
  3. Sophie Ryan                           Old Xavier                                    77:47
  4. Stephanie Kondogonis           Box Hill   82:02
  5. Rhiannon Snipe                      Box Hill   82:07
  6. Pia Hunter                              Box Hill   92:51

62      Rachel Johnson                      Box Hill   96:16

Provisional Team Placing (unofficial)

  1. South Melbourne                       64
  2. Collingwood                              70
  3. Glen Huntly                               93
  4. Melbourne University               111
  5. Box Hill                                     123