Box Hill AC had a very good day in this year’s Road Relay Championships at Sandown Race course on Saturday, 8 July, winning Section 7 and gaining a number of places and Victorian medals. Sandown can be a pretty unpleasant location in mid-Winter, and old-hands commented that the conditions were quite favourable this year with a cold headwind blowing in the back straight.
There was interest in whether any other clubs could knock off Glenhuntly, which has won all but one of the winter races. Doncaster fielded a solid team and Geelong without Lee Troop and Rowan Walker were not at full strength. APS gained Simon Field as a result of the St Kevins merger with APS and this lifted the strength of their team significantly. Knox also have improved noticeably in 2006, and started a good team as well. And Ballarat had the ageless Steve Moneghetti in its team, guaranteeing at least one very fast leg, with Shaun Creighton making an appearance as well.
For those unfamiliar with the race, it is a time tested course, in use for over forty years, with several years where the venue was unavailable. Great runners like Robert de Castella, Ron Clark, Bill Scott, Steve Austin, Andrew Letherby, Chris Wardlaw, John Birmingham, Graham Crouch, Ken Hall, Mike Hillardt, Max Little and may others have run fast times at Sandown.
The top quality performers break 18 minutes for two laps and the very best run 17 minutes 30 or better. The Senior Men’s race involves teams of six runners each completing two circuits of the course, and each runner needs to remember that the second leg will be punishing if they have expended too much energy in their first circuit.
Box Hill’s first leg was allocated to Daniel Clark, and what fine effort he put in. He was not intimidated by the leading runners from other clubs and was right at the front of the field in the leading bunch when he ran though in 6th position just behind Scott Rantall (Geelong). David Ruschena (Glenhuntly) and Liam Adams (Essendon) were at the front and towards the end of the second lap, Adams, running for a Division 2 team shot clear of Ruschena.
Daniel Clark, running very strongly, broke clear of Rantall, a very fine effort indeed, to hand over to Barry Lynch in 3rd place just 5 seconds behind the second placed Knox team, and, importantly, well clear of Doncaster, Collingwood and APS.Barry set off purposefully and completed his first lap in fourth position, with Simon Field (APS) overtaking him during that lap. Glenhuntly opened up a minute’s lead on the field at the end of the first lap of the second leg, but Simon Field reduced the deficit to 22 seconds at the conclusion of the second lap. Barry managed to overtake his Knox opponent and bring Box Hill back to third, 37 seconds behind APS, and gained a buffer of 5 seconds over Knox, with Grant Schmidlechner (Doncaster) one second further back, looming ominously.
This was one of Barry’s best performances at Sandown, with his second lap faster than his first, and helped to ensure that Box Hill was well in contention.
John Meagher, recovered from recent damage to his ribs was our third athlete. John has had many years’ experience at Sandown, and was focussed on his performance. Craig Semple (GH) extended Glenhuntly’s lead. David McNeill (Doncaster), ran past three opposing teams in his first lap, to claim second place for Doncaster, passing John in the process. However, Knox fell away and John got away from the APS athlete.
Geelong’s third runner, however, in running 18 m. 50 crept past to hold third place by 15 seconds. The minor placings, third to sixth, were to change around significantly for the rest of the race, whilst first and second did not alter for the remainder of the race.
Toby Rayner(GH) extended Glenhuntly’s lead in the fourth leg. Adrian Vincent ran for Box Hill, breaking 20 minutes, having a very tight battle the whole way with Ballarat YCW and APS. At the end of the fourth leg, Glenhuntly led from Doncaster by 70 seconds, Geelong were third, 73 seconds behind second, and Box Hill were 38 seconds behind in fourth place, four seconds ahead of Ballarat YCW, with APS a further 17 seconds back.
Andrew White was next up, and had Steve Moneghetti to contend with. Moneghetti passed both Andrew and the Geelong runner to hold third position after the first of his laps. Andrew also claimed the Geelong runner, so Box Hill remained fourth.
Andrew’s first lap (9:09) was very quick and this told a little in his second lap. He was only 18 seconds adrift of Ballarat YCW, meaning that Box Hill had a realistic chance of a medal, depending on the strength of Ballarat’s last runner, and any other clubs behind us who had saved their best runner until the last leg.
Michael Chettle (GH) increased Glenhuntly’s lead over Doncaster, represented by Olympian Rod de Highden. Chris Hamer was our last runner and he pegged back his Ballarat YCW opponent to be one second behind him at the conclusion of the first of his two laps.
In the second lap, Chris demolished his opponent to pull well clear in a fine and controlled exposition of distance running, claiming the bronze medal for Box Hill. Ballarat held fourth place from Knox who picked up two places in the last leg, from APS and Geelong which faded out of the picture.
Our second team, in Section 3 placed 2nd, pipped on the line by a very strong last leg by Marty Fedmowski. All our team ran well with particularly strong legs from Kynan Dawes and Simon Watson.
The Division 5 team also performed meritoriously, placing second, with strong legs recorded by Tim Renowden and Paul Boxshall who showed that he is getting back into very good shape with a sub-21 minute leg. This team was defeated only in the latter stages of the last leg as well.
We had two division 7 teams and the Team 1 comprehensively thrashed the opposition with strong legs from Lachlan Aspinall and Michael Bourne. The second team placed sixth.
The Under 20 team, consisting of Navin and Ruben Arunasalam and Duayne Christou. Finished in third position, just 15 seconds behind second placed Knox. The times our juniors ran were reasonably even and Duayne broke 21 minutes for his leg.
Competition has been tight in the women’s division 1 competition this year with Box Hill sitting 2nd on the ladder behind Glenhuntly and just ahead of Knox, Sandringham, and Eureka.
With such a close battle going on for the winter premiership the competition at Sandown was bound to be strong. Fiona Turner ran well on what was a very competitive first leg bringing the team into the change over in 6th place, but close behind the 4th and 5th teams.
Sarah Grahame took over and ran a blistering first lap and although she faded slightly on the second lap she had moved the team up to 4th place behind Knox, Sandringham and Malvern. Amanda Harper ran next and although she lost ground to the leading two teams she passed the Malvern runner to hand over to last runner Rachel Johnson in 3rd place.Rachel ran well but on the last lap she was unable to hold off a fast finishing Eureka team to bring the team in to the finish in 4th position.
Our teams in Division 2 and 3 were unable to get up into the placings but Heidi Riordan ran very well and division 2 and it was good to see George Davies (Connell) competing for the first time this winter.
Our Under 20 female team are also vying for the premiership this season. Ali Wilson, Sarah Cant and Kate Wall all performed very well to finish well ahead of all teams except the strong Frankston combination to claim the silver medal.
Men Division 1 Results and times Leg Runner Lap 1 Lap 2 Total Pos Leader BH time 1 Daniel Clark 9:22 9:44 19:06 3 18:23 19:06 2 Barry Lynch 9:49 9:48 19:37 3 37:44 38:43 3 John Meagher 9:42 9:57 19:39 4 56:43 58:22 4 Adrian Vincent 9:52 10:01 19:53 4 75:14 78:15 5 Andrew White 9:09 9:41 18:50 4 94:49 97:06 6 Chris Hamer 9:36 9:42 19:18 3 113:47 116:23 1. Glenhuntly 113:47 2. Doncaster 114:46 3. BOX HILL 116:23 4. Ballarat YCW 116:58 5. Knox 118:22 6. A.P.S 118:31 Fastest Times (not exhaustive) Collis Birmingham 18:07 Liam Adams 18:15 David Ruschena 18:23 Steve Moneghetti 18:28 Toby Rayner 18:29 Simon Field 18:29 Please note these times are running watch times and are not official. Division 3 Leg Runner Lap 1 Lap 2 Total 1 Tim Heron 10:29 10:58 21:27 2 Sam Dipnall 10:12 10:44 20:56 3 Kynan Dawes 9:54 10:10 20:04 4 Graeme Olden 10:30 10:43 21:13 5 Simon Watson 9:51 10:14 20:05 Team Result: 1. Mentone 103:38 2. BOX HILL 103:45 3. APS 108:11 Division 5 Leg Runner Lap 1 Lap 2 Total 1 Graham Craigie 10:42 11:35 22:07 2 Kevin Craigie 10:39 11:19 21:58 3 Tim Renowden 10:19 10:47 21:06 4 Paul Boxshall 10:13 1035 20:48 Team Result 1. Frankston 75:43 2. BOX HILL 75:59 3. Sandringham 90:04 Division 7 Team 1 Leg Runner Lap 1 Lap 2 Total 1 Michael Bourne 11:16 11:16 22:32 2 Scott Boxshall 11:47 12:07 23:54 3 Bill Dyer 11:16 11:45 23:01 4 Lachlan Aspinall 10:39 10:57 21:36 Team 2 Leg Runner Lap 1 Lap 2 Total 1 Barry Whittle 12:19 12:35 24:54 2 Adam Pepper 12:43 13:47 26:30 3 David Featherston 11:57 12:19 24:16 4 Brett Nuske 13:20 14:02 27:22 Team Result 1. BOX HILL 1 91:03 2. Williamstown 95:15 3. Knox 98:31 4. Ballarat YCW 99:05 5. Collingwood 100:50 6. BOX HILL 2 103:22 Junior Team Under 20 Leg Runner Lap 1 Lap 2 Total 1 Ruben Arunasalam 10:22 11:23 21:45 2 Navin Arunasalam 10:23 10:51 21:14 3 Duayne Christou 10:13 10:33 20:46 Team Result: 1. Doncaster 60:58 2. Knox 63:30 3. BOX HILL 63:45 Women Division 1 Leg Runner Total 1 Fiona Turner 23:42 2 Sarah Grahame 22:57 3 Amanda Harper 24:51 4 Rachel Johnson 23:43 Team Result 1. Knox 88:48 2. Sandringham 92:08 3. Eureka 94:27 4. BOX HILL 95:14 Division 2 Leg Runner Total 1 Heidi Riordan 24:36 2 Megan Sloane 25:57 3 George Davies 26:15 Team Result 10. BOX HILL Division 3 Leg Runner Total 1 Inge Watson 29:15 2 Kerry Putt 28:51 3 Harriet Hodgkinson 26:19 Team Result 8. BOX HILL Under 20 Leg Runner Lap 1 Ali Wilson 11:30 2 Sarah Cant 11:20 3 Kate Wall 11:53 Team Result: 1. Frankston 32:42 2. BOX HILL 34:43 3. Knox 35:49