This year the Cross Country Relay meeting was held at Jells Park. We entered four senior men’s teams, a 40+ men’s team, an Under 20 men’s team, three senior women’s teams, an Under women’s 20 team and an Under 18 women’s team. Box Hill is graded in Division1, 3, and 5 in the Senior Men’s competition, and can enter teams in the Division 7 overflow competition. In the Senior Women’s competition, Box Hill his grade in Division 1, 2 and 3.
In the 2006 Cross Country Relay meeting, Box Hill placed fourth after winning a Bronze medal the year before. The time we recorded this year would have been good enough to win the race last year, when Glenhuntly recorded 115:06 to win be 10 seconds from Geelong Regional Centre. The venue has changed a number of times in recent years, from Brimbank Park, to Werribee, Yarra Bend and now Jells Park. The course was a challenging 3000 m loop with significant uphill sections which are very testing.
Matt Coloe was our first runner and he began our quest to win the race by moving into the leading group. There were several Division 2 teams at the front of the field, including Mentone and Essendon. Matt maintained third position overall, and running up the last rise prior to doubling back towards the downhill section leading to the changeover point her briefly took the lead in his first lap. However in the next 800 metres, three runners strode past him and he appeared to be in equal second position of the Division 1 runners. The exertion of getting to the front showed later in his second lap and he was overtaken by the Geelong, Knox and Sandringham runners, and later in the second circuit the Glenhuntly and Doncaster athletes also just forced their way in front of him, but only one second in front. Matt’s performance was thirty seconds faster than we ran in the first leg last year and put us in close contention with other top teams.
Alan Craigie took off confidently, and quickly picked up the Sandringham and Knox runners. At the conclusion of his first lap, he had also moved slightly ahead of Glenhuntly’s second runner. This brought Box ill through to third position, 14 seconds behind Doncaster. Geelong held a commanding 39 second lead over the rest of the field. At the conclusion of the second leg, Geelong were still 39 seconds clear of Doncaster, and Alan Craigie, running with excellent cadence maintained third position, 27 seconds behind, and, importantly, had a break of 13 seconds over Glenhuntly. Alan ran the excellent time of 18 m. 55, a fine effort.
Chris Hamer (recent Australian representative in the World Cross Country Championships in Kenya) was our next runner off, and maintained Box Hill’s position as well as increasing the lead over Glenhuntly. At the conclusion of the third leg, Geelong had a race-winning break over the rest of the field, after Mark Tucker ran a brilliant leg in 17:39, (with Lee Troop still to run in the last leg) with Doncaster nearly two minutes behind. The only questions to be resolved were could Box Hill bridge the gap and take second place and could Glenhuntly get back on level terms with Box Hill.
Steve Dinneen raced away looking very strong and recorded our fastest leg time (18:45). Geelong had increased their lead over both Doncaster and Box Hill. Doncaster moved further ahead of Box Hill to hold a 61 second lead over our team, but Steve had managed to increase the lead for third place over Glenhuntly to 71 seconds, which appeared to ensure that we would at least claim the Bronze medal. Steve looks certain to have an excellent Winter season on the basis of his recent form.
Andrew White was next up and ran a solid and dependable leg, recording 19 minutes on the running watch. The leading clubs maintained their positions in the fifth leg with a 47 second gap between Box Hill and Glenhuntly.
Lee Troop was Geelong’s final runner, so there was some interest in how fast he would run. Daniel Clark set of for Box Hill chasing Adrian Patti from Doncaster, 1:50 in arrears. Troop recorded the fast time of 17 m. 48. Daniel reduced Doncaster’s lead by 43 seconds to 1:07 and increased the lead over Glenhuntly to 1:37, ensuring that the Bronze medal was awarded to Box Hill. Daniel recorded the time of 18:59 on the running watch.
Frankston got off to a huge lead in the first two legs of Division 3 but ran out of runners. Box Hill led Geelong’s second team opening up a big lead. Barry Lynch ran a very fast first leg (19:32) and was followed by Adrian Vincent, now recovered from surgery, who also ran a fine time (19:42). Paul Boxshall (20:01), Sam Dipnall (19:53) and Dale Bickham continued to the line to win the event. A late charge by Geelong failed to catch Box Hill and we held on to win by 18 seconds.
Our team of Chris Wall, Andrew Robinson, John Vaitkunas and John Morris excelled in the conditions quickly establishing an unbeatable lead and held the leading position to the end of the race.
The Under 20 team placed second to win the Silver medal. Navin Arunasalam, Alex Dioretes and Steve Kelly ran strongly. Steve Kelly ran a time (18:56) which would have stood up as an excellent Section 1 performance. There was confusion at the presentation ceremony, and Box Hill were not invited to receive their team placing medals. We expect that these will be forwarded to the club by mail.
|Division 1||Ist Leg||2nd Leg||Total||Leader||B.H. Time||Position|
|Matt Coloe||9:12||10:04||19:16||18:30 (Geel)||19:16||6th|
|Alan Craigie||9:16||9:39||18:55||38:05 (Geel)||38:11||3rd|
|Chris Hamer||9:29||9:39||19:08||54:44 (Geel)||57:19||3rd|
|Steve Dineen||9:23||9:2||18:45||73:00 (Geel)||76:04||3rd|
|Andrew White||9:17||9:43||19:00||92:06 (Geel)||95:04||3rd|
|Daniel Clark||9:14||9:45||18:59||109:54 (Geel)||114:03||3rd|
1. Box Hill
2. Box Hill
|3. Box Hill|
|3. Box Hill|
3. Box Hill
Harriet Hodgkinson 12:55
Helen McCrae 11:54
Kim Poon-Hornet 13:20