Thursday, November 27, 2008

Drama (and great running) at Hunts Creek!

Despite another (!) overcast and cool evening, 170 odd punters managed to find steer the Tuza west to Carlingford and the elusive Hunts Creek. Here they found Michael Roylance 'Lot' in charge of his first ever course, and what a ripper it turned out to be. First glance is often rewarding, and this proved to be the case. A tempting spread, tighter than previous outings, but still including the excellent bush/bike tracks and the outlier park to the North for the hill climbers. Larry's 'hand' assessment method of course length gave Michael a ten. There were lots of route options, and the best scorers worked the linkages better than the circle crew - none better than Gordon 'The Blue Engine' in SVM (of which more in a mo).

But firstly, Pork needs to report that Big Foot Generalissimo Andrew Lumsden had a bad fall early on his course, dislocating his shoulder and doing a bit of other damage. Janet Morris gave up her run to go for help, and eventually Andrew was retrieved - and is now hopefully recuperating and ok. A sobering moment for Andy, and a timely reminder for us all to be careful - especially in the bush areas and creeks. Big thanks to Janet, who ended up on the finish desk helping out the remaining 'Feet' crew.

Another very reportable item from last night has to be Garingal President Tony 'The Big Apple' Hill's impersonation of Zola Budd! Tony apparently forgot his running shoes, but, not to be outdone, he took off anyway - completing a very creditable 360 points bare foot! Amazing stuff.

And now to the scoring. Glenn took the lollies with the lot in just under 43 minutes, again piping the excellent 590 point run from Michael 'Nothings' Free (soon Michael, soon!). It seemed that the mastery blokes were the ones with the pedal down last night - Shane Henry 570, Peter Annetts 560 - with no Andrew, Mounty or other OM's on the dias. The Veteran Men also had a ball, with Larry and Melvyn Cox 'Icks' 550 point outings grabbing a hundred points each in the absence of missing superstar, Michael 'Slow Hand' Burton.

Other good scoring was from 'Los Trio Ringbarkas' (Gordon, Graeme and Steve) all liking the sound of 520 points, and from Wendy 'Chicago' Stevenson pulling the same tally in MW - an excellent run from Wendy, and well clear of fellow MW Susan Login '& Tonic' with 480 and Allison Lilley and Karin's 470. In the Junior ranks, Huon Wilson posted an imposing 510, well ahead of swimming star Ben, on 450 points. The Legends also took the eye, with Tim Cox looking good early (420 points and ahead of Mal Gledhill's 400), only to be gathered in on the turn by, first, Ron 'Fire' Junghans (430), and then Tearaway Ted spoiling the party with an excellent 450. And speaking of the Legends, last night saw the welcome return to the series of Barry Cole 'Porter'- one of our great supporters over many years. Baz has been injured but managed to get the walking frame oiled up for a nice and comfortable 140 points to open his account. Ted needs to start worrying!

Also great to see Anne Stewart out again with map in hand in SVW.

Looking at the routes taken, there seemed to be a majority heading east via #1, 10, 14 to the creek, with less going clockwise via #20. Simple looks were common, but as I said earlier, probably not optimal. The puzzle was how to work the big eastern 30 pointers and make 22/23 and the remote 21 chew a bit of graphite. Gordon Wilson ran what is now known as the 'Porpoise with Purpose' - a beautiful curving 'U' shaped course that killed the old Porkster and his simple outer loop. Gordy went east to the high 25/24/16/26 and the looped lower to the creek for 22/7/30/2/19 before once again floating north to 23 and the final fly home via 18/3/21/11/15/20. Brilliant stuff, and an excellent indication of what fun there was to be had at 'The Creek'.

Next week we return south of the harbour/river to Concord, and to the mercy of chief results guru, Dave McKenna. Dave is sure to get the old 'puffometer' working as we charge the harbourside parks, puzzling apartment developments and boardwalks of this great location. Many will remember Dave's excellent run last year on the same map - although this is a new start location. Be there, and bring Granny. Dinner afterwards at the Concord shops is highly recommended.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A fine evening and a perfect course!

Despite predicted rain, event 7 at Sirius Cove was held in almost perfect conditions. Carol and Ken Jacobson might just have produced the run of the season with their excellent course setting and optimum control spread around this scenic and fantastic location. We have not started here for several seasons (using Mosman Bay instead), but the concensus was that Sirius was the better possie. Lots of hill work required, some of it resembling the winding streets seen in movies around San Francisco, but lots of compensating interest in the pathways, over-bridges and parks - not to forget the great harbour views and outlooks.

It is always satisfying to pull off a perfect course, and Andy Hill getting the lot but 24 seconds late bought home the bacon. Mounty also popped a 590 into the satchel in slightly different fashion - missing a ten, but back a touch early. Both great scores, and indicative of the elusive 'perfect' course.

Looking at the course we see many starting options. Beginning up to #22 before a western sweep had many adherents, including Gail and the Girls, Mike 'The Long Macchiato' Hanratty and a host of Knox boys. The bolder play south to #1 and then upsey to #21 was less popular, many planning to cover off this eastern bag on the way home. The other big exit was via #2 and 23/15 before going for the scenic outlook at 30 and working 16/24 before a touch of Mossman Wharf commuter avoidance. These runners then added pots on the Cremorne Point run and the enjoyable amble back over the footbridge between #27 and #25, a very rewarding section. All in all, plenty of route choice and good scoring available even to some of our slower runners. My early punt on the lonely pot would go to #19, although I'm not sure if many made the 20/29/17 loop (Mounty/Andy notwithstanding).

As I said, some good scoring. Noted by Pork Pie as he chewed the tipping pencil were: Richard Green pulling a 570, Michael Burton and Glenn bagging 560, and Peter 'The Bird Cage' Annetts playing 500. Michael Free's excellent 550 fell an agonising ten points short of Glenn's 560, putting off for another week the chance for 'The Sofa' to nab the man in yellow. It will happen, maybe at Hunts. Also noted, were Sister Wendy with a splendid 440, clear of Gil and Sibylle's 420 apiece, and the leading woman. In the older mares, Sue 'Don't Argue' Thomson was breathing fire for a sensational 360 and would be up there with this (Angela and Dale may have outscored, but not before I left for the obligatory evening 'social gathering' at the Beuna Vista!). The Pork also noted an amazing 410 from Deb Noble, and Steve Flick 'Pass' taking the SVM lollies over Ian Cameron and Gordon Wilson 'Parking' (450 to 440).

Others standing out in fluoro silks were Heiko's 390 to pip Ron (370) in the Legends, and a baby free outing from Andy Simpson for 440. And who cannot but applaud the wonderfully pregnant Tracy Bluett taking home 280 from her walk. Trace has only four weeks to go, but great to see her enjoying the course.

Not sure of the attendance, but it looked in the 180/200 area, and boosted by a bevy of young Knox boys. many ran as individuals, and others in small teams - typically tearing along to the pot vacinity and then searching or waiting for Mike Hanratty to find it for them! All good experience, and we hope to see them back - their teacher/coach seemed very enthused.

Next week we move west again to Carlingford and Mike Roylance's run at Hunts Creek. Those that know the area will fondly remember the bike track and bush path running beside the creek - and the waterfall! Good stuff to look forward to, and for those that are coming from the south/west, there is a public bus option - bus 548 from Parramatta Station along Pennant Hills Road to Westminster Ave, North Rocks.

One final point, Pork Pie finally managed to produce the first edition of the cryptic Summer Series 'Form Guide' This is a good look at the form of early series stars and conveys other series news and gossip. It is, or will be shortly, posted to the web site as a pdf, and can be printed if need be. There will also be more copies available at Hunts. And for those completely puzzled by some of the cryptic nick names - did you get the clue for Sue 'John Laws' Davis being her first name. Change the S to 2 and you get 2UE, where Laws worked for many years! I know, I know, there is no telling how his mind works. Hope you get all the others.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Manns Point - what a view!

A beautiful evening at Greenwich saw over 200 punters once again on the burst from this most sublime assembly location. Michael 'Horseradish' Halmy was in charge and produced another widely spread course on this map. Despite the full 600 being well out of reach, there was plenty of action and choices to be made as runners flew up the 'pinch' questioning their earlier decisions to go west to #26/27 or east to the dastardly temptations of #25/30/29 etc.

16, 26 and 27 on the western option posed their own small conundrum - especially the reverse pull back up the slope after 16 to grab 26 or an in-out from the north route following 16 to 27/7 (Andrew Hill option). The east to #25 option then held runners in the dread clutches of the slow Gore Cove track to try and recover via 30 and 29, before re-gathering their skirts across the top of the course. The east definitely was slower and hurt many of the fancied nags.

As always, the well trained stallions and mares held up, with Mounty pipping the field by a head for 530 points, a shade in front of Andrew and Richard Green on 520. Mounty and Andy began together but separated mid course when they took different routes to the west top, Mounty forgetting #26 in the process! Glenn 'In Yellow' ran his traditional full bottle for a 9 minute penalty to 510, the same as Michael 'Life's not a' Burton score in Vets (Michael records this as his 100th consecutive win in the SSS Vets category - an amazing record).

Other excellent outings that took the fancy of correspondent 'Pork Pie', were Ian 'The Gladstone Bag' Cameron shading Steve Flick to take the SVM with 410, Juniors Jess Campbell and Huon slapping an excellent 370 on the table, Sue 'Log Cabin' Login flying for 410, and Ron 'Pinus Radiata' Junghans holding off Ted by 10 points in the Legends.

Also of note was Andy Simpson's excellent score of minus 80 points! Andy of course is on daddy duties here and inventing a new sport - slow O! Beautiful stuff, and good to see the Big Foot kids early O training tradition is alive and well.

Also of great note was the unbelievable performance of junior Ben Tumminello and mate Arthur who SWAM (!!) back from #10 (I'd say certainly the 'lonely pot' award) on Berry Island to #11 to conclude their run! Many will remember the reverse of this some years ago when a competitor swam in the other direction, mobile phone in his map bag! Although I'm not sure what you would be running with a phone for (clock??). The dripping, and grinning, Ben and Art were a sight to behold handing in their cards - just as well they were the plastic variety. Ben scored 350 by the way.

All in all, another fun evening on the volleys with lots of good competition and scoring. Sue Thomson running her 'book' for 280, Michael Free cursing a dropped twenty for 470 and Robin Cameron 'Song' claiming in the VW's with 'The Heff' out to paddock. Also great to see Alice 'The Enforcer' Prudhoe charging along - one of our previous stars returning for a bit more elbow work in the back straight.

Next week we return after some years to Little Sirius Cove. Ken and Carol are sure to have dreamed up an excursion to remember in another of Sydney's great harbourside locations. This is where Tom Roberts and the other Heidelberg School artists set up camp many years ago, and the idyl will no doubt inspire serious 'out-performance' (if not 'artistic-performance') from all SSS runners. Start getting excited, 'cause it's going to be a ripper. Be there!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A belated event report, but better late than never!

Last weeks SSS outing at Parramatta saw 166 runners on the charge in this delightful new venue. Lyn and Nev had set a riverside 'out and back' style course, that, at around 8.5 klms, looked a touch short for the fast men. This proved to be the case, with a trio of runners going under the 45, but gave good scoring to most others. Even though it looked 'doo-able' for the flyers, there were a few areas that sucked up time for the unwary - the track to #24 and the 'vegetation' route from #25 to #18 being amongst them.

Despite the world cup match giving the parking a bit more fun than intended, there was a great roll up with good running in all age classes. Huon 'Pine' pulled off his 5th straight win in the Junior Men, Jess Campbell grabbed her second ton in JW, Richard Green managed to pip Andrew for the lollies in OM, Joanna 'Sin' Sinclair grabbed a win in OW in her second appearance trackside this season, and Glenn once again out-pointed the young daddies in Masters Men. Gathering his wheezy breath Pork Pie continues.... Sibylle ran on strongly in MW to win in a very tight field, Michael 'It's No' Burton continued in the Vets, Karin went down to well weighted Robin Cameron in VW, Steve, Graeme and myself managed to hit the line together in SVM, Carol and 'Over Hill &' Dale shared the ton in SVW, and the Ron/Ted daily double rewarded in the old goats category - the Legends! Lots of other good running and scoring of course - just go to the results listing.

I sometimes ponder on the 'lonely pot' and thought that #8 might have been it here. There seemed to be plenty of runners everywhere else on the course, with many going the whole hog up to the mysteriously located #28. Running the river was the fun stuff, great along from #5 to #1 and 21 and on the other side to #6 and #10. We will be back!

Tomorrow we return to Manns Point at Greenwich, the location of our biggest ever roll up (around 265 odd two years ago). Lets see if we can better that as we enjoy Michael 'The Executioner' Halmy's course on what should be a great and fine day. Great running and interesting history in this spectacular location. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A quick note before (!) the event.

Looks like a fine arvo for Lynn and Nev's frolic at Parramatta - thank heavens. Presume most have heard about the parking problems and extended hours (see note elsewhere on this site).

I'm getting in early because I'll be away till next Tuesday, and the usual scandalous race report will have to wait till then. I can only presume that we will have an excellent turn out to what to most, will be a new venue. Gail and the girls will be there, Michael 'Phar Lap' Free will be there, Ian 'Mad Dog' Miller will be there - there has even been an early sighting of Elvis on the jog! Should be fun - running along the river and negotiating a bit of CBD stuff and local history.

Pork Pie has the HB on the chew and hopes to get the first issue of the SSS Guide out next week. We are off to a good start, so expect to see lots of 'sensational's' and 'exceptional's' as the old goat trawls through the race stats searching for yet more impossible to understand nick names. Be very afraid!

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