A slightly overcast day greeted runners for the 8.00 a.m. start of the Victorian Half Marathon course at Burnley next to the Yarra River. The large field took off when the starter fired both chambers. About ten runners separated immediately from the rest of the field with Jason Woolhouse, Geelong, immediately opening up a break on the other athletes in contention. Box Hill was looking well below full strength. With only two athletes in the top 50 we were clearly not going to finish in the first three places.
Andrew White started out very conservatively, and after five kilometres started to move forward past opponents. Not far behind was John Meagher. Adrian Vincent as our third placed athlete, ahead of Steve Griffith and Chris O’Connor, who was running near Nikki Chapple, running in third place in the women’s race, behind Susie Michelsson, Collingwood, and Karen Thorp, Knox.
At the 12 k mark, Woolhouse had extended his lead over the rest of the field to 1 minute and 41 seconds, an unassailable gap. However, Andrew White, the 2007 event champion, had surged to second place (38:48), running side by side with Nathan Hartigan of Ballarat Harriers. Both runners looked composed. Magnus Michelsson, Collingwood, was fourth 19 seconds in arrears. Ben Toomey, Knox and Paul Eason, Ballarat Harriers, were next, followed by John Meagher (39:58) running stride for stride with Rod De Highden, Doncaster.
Steve Griffin was the next Box Hill athlete through the 12 k mark in 60th position, three places ahead of Adrian Vincent, with Chris O’Connor ten places further back in 73rd position. Box Hill’s Division 1 team was in around sixth place, behind Geelong, the leaders, Melbourne University, Doncaster, APS, Collingwood and possibly Knox.
The Box Hill women had a full team on the course. Nikki Chapple was making very good progress and had moved forward to be in second place, and soon after unleashed a burst that propelled her to the lead and she drew away from Susie Michelsson. Rachel Johnson was running sensibly further back in the field and Talitha Crawford was running in a group about twelve minutes further back.
Other Box Hill athletes running included Matt Coloe, Bill Dyer, Paul Boxshall, Scott Boxshall, Adam Pepper, Andrew Tunne and Dave Stevens. Jason Woolhouse maintained his lead to the finish, winning the race in 66 m. 13 seconds. Andrew White drew clear from Hartigan to place second in 68:16, ahead of his opponent by nine seconds. John Meagher placed 16th in 71:40. Other Division 1 team members were Steve Griffin, 58th in 77:46, Adrian Vincent, 86th in 80:47 and Chris O’Connor in 81:41.
Box Hill overtook APS and Knox late in the race.
Nikki Chapple won the Women’s race in 74:37, well ahead of Susie Michelsson, second and Lisa Dick, Ringwood, third who eclipsed Karen Thorp in the concluding section of the race. Rachel Johnson plugged on for 13th place and with Talitha Crawford completing the team. Box Hill women’s team claimed 3rd place, its best result for the year to date.
Place Club Times 1. Jason Woolhouse Geelong 66:13 2. Andrew White Box Hill 68:16 3. Nathan Hartigan Ballarat 68:25 4. Ben Toomey Knox 68:56 5. Magnus Michelsson C'wood 69:10 6. Peter Eason Ballarat 69:31 15. John Meagher Box Hill 71:41 55. Steve Griffin Box Hill 77:48 78. Adrian Vincent Box Hill 80:48 90. Chris O’Connor Box Hill 81:41 133. Matt Coloe Box Hill 85:29 155. Bill Dyer Box Hill 87:38 180. Paul Boxshall Box Hill 90:47 237. Adam Pepper Box Hill 100:12 254. Andrew Tunne Box Hill 107:23 258. Dave Stevens Box Hill 109:36 Men’s Division 1 Results 1. Geelong 79 2. Doncaster 171 3. Collingwood 206 4. Box Hill 240 5. APS 249 =6 Knox 268 =6 Sandringham 268 Men’s Division 3 Results 1. Melbourne Uni 277 2. Coburg 378 3. Sandringham 486 4. APS 505 5. Knox 611 6. Collingwood 625 7. Keilor St Bernards 656 8. Ballarat City 684 9. Box Hill 705 Men’s 40+ Results 1. APS United 20 2. Athletics Waverley 41 3. Malvern Harriers 51 4. Box Hill 62 Women Individual Results 1. Nikki Chapple Box Hill 74:37 2. Susie Michelsson Collingwood 78:32 3. Lisa Dick Ringwood 79:19 4. Karen Thorp Knox 79:36 13. Rachel Johnson Box Hill 84:10 48. Talitha Crawford Box Hill 98:56 Women’s Team Results 1. Knox 44 2. Glenhuntly 46 3. Box Hill 62