Thursday, February 17, 2011


A 200 plus crowd turned up to probably the smallest assembly venue yet seen in the Summer Series, to be confronted with nice gardens, great views, and an area now known as the 'Tilley Terror'. Alan 'The Executioner' Tilley was our mapper and course setter in this brand new venue - a venue where the brown contour lines gave competitors a certain sinking feeling as the A4 was exchanged for the usual tenner. 'Blimey' was the word, looks like a touch of heavy breathing coming up.

And heavy breathing proved to be the order of the day with virtually no level running on offer. The map took in a fantastic and steep area previously unknown to most runners. From the starts high point on Mona Vale Road, the area fell away south and east to the two major creek lines and the bat colony, and even included (for the train buffs) Gordon Station. There was some respite in the north where the area south of the St Ives shops was included, although this still saw the hand of the brown line scribbler at work. It looked awesome stuff, fun on the downhill, but a killer on the return.

So what had big Al in store for us?

First impressions were a two pack course. Good groupings and loops available in the north for a high two collection, with more points but more petrol needed in the south. For many you needed to figure the overlap to score, although few believed we were looking at 600 points here. There was a distinct hole heading south, with the 14 to 7 leg possibly one of the longest flogs in SSS history - especially telling if doing this uphill! The north looked a better bet for most, with a stream of runners beginning with the 1,21,19 script (something nice about beginning with number one). This gave access to some of the St Ives points, and a couple of return options - 9,6,17,12,8,25 before the 18,20,10 final worked, as did the wider 17,6,4,29,16,8 run. Those doing the wider loop lost time around #29, where the green seemed to confuse the side paths and the high point seemed further south. The points made any hesitation worthwhile none the less.

For those working north with a little more in the kitbag, the 23,2,24 group in the middle of the map appealed, with a nice finish up to 14 and home. Adding 27 also had fans, although the run home from the transformer box here was more demanding (Pork Pie took eight and a half from here (via 14) with the last stretch up MV Road seemingly a million miles long. Heavy breathing indeed!).

The south fans generally began down via long drop lodge and paused for a bit of steam train spotting at #30. The return saw some nice track work in collecting 26,22,3 and 13 before the middle stuff and points, or should we say contours, north and home. Many runners refused to look at their watches at this point, stumbling on in a sort of blurred genuflection as they plugged uphill - singing quietly 'cool, clear water', and hoping to 'keep-a moving Sam...'.

One thing on show to the southern runners was the flying fox bridge downstream from #26. Apparently this is a great spot to watch the evening exodus of the bats from this famous colony.

So, a steep one, but from all reports, a good one. Thanks Alan and the WHO team for a great night on the lungs. The spread of scores tells a tale here, with, I suspect, a high proportion of 'late backs'. Could be a record in this department methinks. And how about Dave 'The Machine' Hegarty putting on 570 points! Unbelievable stuff from one of our ace series athletes, and one of a number of runners that ran the lot (a la Glenn) but were late home. Mark Schaefer and Mike Burton are in this grouping, with 'Close' home plus six and 'The Pint' plus seven. It was interesting to be alongside the results board and observing the hushed tones as returning 300 and 400 runners were transfixed by the 570 from 'The Hedge'.

Well, we are not all that good, but did we have fun. You betcha! And none more so than our legends. Hard to play favourites here, but how about Bev 'Baby Powder' Johnson upholding traditions with a perfect zero, and enjoying the accolades of more mortal rivals Bryony (250), Sue 'I'll never park on a hill again' Thommo (230) and Janet Morris - in the garage with 180. But wait, coming through with best Cessnock coal, seems to be June 'The Steam Engine' Stanley with 270 points. June, and her good mate Bruce, both had their safety valves screaming at 270psi in recording this fine result, although young Bruce couldn't match June's gold - pipped in the LM's by 'The Chip Heater' with 330, and maybe Ron 'The Lumberjack' Junghans (a late returnee). Other LM's to note were Dave 'Feet Up On The' Dash 'Board' with 310 to head Teddy (300) and Tim Cox with 290. Eric 'The Viking' Smith enjoyed the hills for 260, as did Barry 'Hands On' Hanlon - working a loop for 220. Heiko was there, and may have scored here - but not posted as the Squire was being poured I'm afraid.

At the other end of the age scale, our juniors must have found the hills tougher than recent form suggests - with Aidan Dawson running the lot for 440 (a time of 60.20), a shade in front of Huon Wilson 'Parking' and Matty Hill with 430/420 - both well back from their open peers. I didn't record the 'Balmain Bug', but got Chris Yuan up on the board with 280 and Luke Petterson with 260. Chris must have run late, because the early northern pots were taken at fast pace (he flew past me on the 19-9 leg), and he should have been up for a 400 score. In the JW's, Michele wrapped a tidy 380 and looked to be 'on', although PP didn't see Rachael Noble's score. Presume another close encounter.

The opens were more spread than usual, with, apart from Dave and Mark, good top ten runners dropping to the threes and fours on the night. Tommy 'The Rock Opera' Joss maybe the best of them with 450, well clear of Stephen 'Pecked' Cossell on 410, Steve 'The Whale' Shepherd with 380 and Matty Bell one out, one back on 360. Matt 'South' Shields ran 340 after a hard day at the mill, but will improve with a pint of Newcastle Brown. In the fillies, Lisa Grant looked the goods with 440, and clear air to Claire Winnick on 400. Again we see an enormous spread of scoring here, with many fancies well back. For instance, Sharon Lambert's 350, Malin 'The Model Train' Andersson with 340, Anne-Marie Hegarty's 320 and Clare Murphy with 300 would all normally be much closer. The hills I guess. I also note Annalisa Meryment ten bob back with 290 in the same open grouping.

Maybe the masters were closer. Richard Green was back from NZ, although his score was not noted at 'press time'. Probably a good one knowing the King. Pete Annetts scored 430, but was headed by Pete 'The Farmer' Fallows (470) and Anto Petterson (440). Shane Henry had a bob each way on 400, with other masters runners cascading lower into the threes. Gary Farebrother was in form with 370 to pip Martin 'Plate' Conway and Gregor Riese with 330 apiece, and a 340 from Tom Landon-Smith. Good to see Tommy and Allena up from Canberra and AROC duties, and joining in the summer series fun. Cath 'Port' Chalmers worked the scottish heritage for a strong 440 in the masters women group - a shade in front of Mary Fein on 430. Both stronger scores than their open peers. Also noted was Linda 'The Vauxhall' Sesta working the column shift for 380 to place in front of Barbara Hill's 360. Barbara knows the area, being a local, but must have gone over time on her return run - no doubt cursing the brown lines as she ascended to heaven, and the finish banner (yes, there was one!).

So, the masters were widely spread. How about the vets? Closer perhaps, especially if we discount Michael 'The Bee' Burton. Jimmy 'Vincent' McLean looked good with 460, to hold the cards from Tony Hill's 420 and Pete Hibberd's 410. Mal Bradley would be up there, as should have been Eoin 'The Slot Machine' Rothery - pocketing loose change and only a 360 return (same as 'The Battery') on the night. ER must have gone wide as he is usually a four - or a five. Graeme 'Come in Flight 1203' Dawson and Larry 'Walk Right Back' Weiss were stronger with 390's, but finishing like all Everly Brothers songs, with a tear in their eyes. Four hundreds next week boys!

The girls missed the reporting biro. Well almost. I've got Karin in the hybrid with 350, Lisa emitting 300 kelvins and Ruth Jacka 'Holyoake' working the Wairarapa electorate for 110. Wendy was seen taking off towards #1, but..... While I'm on this side of the ledger, Dale T was noted with 210 and Cheryl with 70. Not sure who else fronted in the SV's here, the SVW's I mean. In the old goats category we again see quite a spread of scoring. Wazza for instance pulled away at the turn to card 450 (!!), with rival Gordy well back with 330. Probably as bigger a gap as we have seen between these two stallions. Ian Cameron ran a strong 410 to probably be the best of the rest, although Meester Leethgow had a late run and may have pointed. Rosscoe was a 370, Paul 'Lights Out' Prudhoe ran on for a modest 330, and Steve Dunlop worked the tyre lever for 320. I also have a note here saying Jimmy 'The' Forbes 'Hotel' was shouting the bar after pencilling 310, and taking a ton away from Ross 'The Editor' Duker (210).

In the power walkers category, I note that demon of the track, Gail 'The Nostrils' Barr, back on the grass with a strong 210 points to shade Baby Sinclair and handler Jo (200). Not sure if Kath Cox went one better, but husband Mel certainly did - putting on an incredible 300 walking points, to place ahead of Jim Merchant's 280. Come to think of it, this was a bit of a walking map, so maybe the walkers were suited this distance - and on this track. There were plenty of runners in temporary category indecision as they did the returning contour crawl.

As usual, I've left plenty out. Nathan 'Otto' Dix for instance, working the etching plate for 280. And Paul Every 'Brothers' crooning in harmony with 350 hit singles. Jacqui & Emily ran together, as did their parents. Viv & Robyn had the Normanhurst flag flying as they once again elbowed their way round. And Lynda 'Dinner Ale' Calder with a tidy 270 glasses. Tales aplenty from the Summer Series family on a great night of map sport enjoyment. Thanks again AT.

Next week we are off to Olympic Park for round 21. This should be a real cracker, and a complete contrast to The Pymble Puffometer - being virtually flat. I'm presuming we get a larger map than the Sprint O one, although I think the scale might still be big. One of the classic features will be the' Brick-pit Ring', but it might be OOB. I did hear that there was to be no running on the ring - a shame as this would have been a hoot. Nevertheless, lots to look forward to here as the Big Feet tangle with ours. I guess also a Sportident outing, so bring your e-stick. It's going to be fantastic!

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