Thursday, November 8, 2012


Not quite the 11th of the 11th, but close enough, and with the Howitzer amid the RSL roses, the perfect venue to anticipate Armistice day, and our first outing in wet trenches.

Early runners at Ron's Magdala to Macquarie mind game got back with dryish tees (as did the very late brigade), but most of the 'time gentlemen please' crowd copped a right old soaking last night, and went temporarily deaf during one particularly loud thunderclap, that also had patrons at the Ryde club leaping to attention - and casting around for their 303's. I guess after five fine evenings we were due for a wet nappy, but this had no dampening effect on proceedings - with over 230 flogsters (220 entries plus groupies) working the wet weather tyres as they chased the widely spread enemy in a toughie from the senior Amigo.

This was our first event back at 'The Road' for some time, and early portents looked good - great parking, shelter, plenty of signage, and a purposeful Garingal crew at the ready to relieve you of the Banjo. Ron had done a bit of council genuflecting, but got us in there nicely, with the early O crowd snaffling all the adjacent car spots - much to the chagrin of the later arriving baseball juniors. The expansive grassy fields adjacent to the cliff lines and bush make this a great SSS assembly spot - a 'picture' as Aunty Eunice would say.

So, after struggling with the loose change, a smiling Barbara 'The Grand Canyon' Junghans, handed over an A4 sheet of a landscape persuasion. The clue sheet, in a Garingal reposte at recent Bennelong excellence, displayed a side colour to the three scoring groups - ominously featuring a pinky red for the big points. Perhaps anticipating the result on tame city bodies of the Puff-O-meter, and Ron's cruel intentions.

These intentions were soon revealed, with a wide spread east/west that included a generous dollop in the grounds of Macquarie Hospital. Whoa! This looks way big, and nothing like last week. I guessed we were well into 12K territory and probably looking at the low to (maybe) mid fives. Early string twirling seemed to only get these gadget evangelicals half way across the map - especially if they liked the green pea soup offerings north and south of the start. And after Glebe, who wouldn't want the light wafting of eucalypt on lower leg to be part of the experience.

Looking closely at the course, we see a tidy ton south, and almost the same numbers standing to attention in the north. A lovely distraction was #11 almost under the bridge, and #1 on the thicket down by the river. Get 'em later seemed the go, as most runners took off up the slope to #20 on the rock face, and then south on the bush tracks, or mounted the APC and made uphill bitumen their early choice. You can see this start in two distinctive loopings, although 'The Trouser' began by doing both at once (!) and even embracing miss distraction pants - working 20,11,23 (I think he ignored #2 of which more later).

The southern bush beginning meant a hundred in the bag before lights out, and also allowed the old soldiers an evening to remember, by going 19,18. This opened up 29 and a nice duck and weave to 17,8,16 and the interior. Larry, not being a military historian like Pork Pie, went 19,17 - causing great consternation in the VC bar. General Merchant will be having words.

The northern beginning felt much like the Awaba Burn, with no relief from the uphill flog until the elusive bush track opposite the RSL appeared, and the chance to add 23,24,12 and escape to the trench like street grids. On the way, Ronny had deployed #2 behind a small group of houses that, on the west side, had spread their gardens into the crown land. This confused many, probably including the residents, as cunning running types descended and ascended unsure of their running rights, but desparate to add a tenner to meagre totals.

There were well defined loops if you had the petrol, with 30,25,13,26 (ignore #3) bringing on the northern hospital appointment, and 18,29,5,15 doing the same in the south. For most, the middle course of 17,8,16 to 6,14 etc was more within means, and provided a nice clockwise route to a finish via 30/23, or if that had been the beginning, then an anti clock one home via the bush. In the hospital, 27,9,14,6 worked for those on a tight timetable, with the 4,28,7 loop further south seemingly in the too hard basket - unless you were one of those that ignored the green stuff and flew west in a sort of rubber band constriction. 'The Pantalooney' was onesuch, thoroughly working the daks there as though remembering the Sprint event from last March and wanting to see that open door one more time! He takes home a tidy 360 for thinking like this. Not bad Johnny, not bad at all.

David Noble felt the pull of the RSL in his kidney shaped route, working a southern start, then 18,29,17 north across the small creek ($10 on the pokies while passing) and up to 30, then 25,13,10,12,24,23,2 (the garden route),11 and home for a tidy 370 in 44 odd. Nice one also.

I think the 15,5 duo looked lonely types (the 'Stargazer' left them out), and also maybe #10. It's hard to settle on a single lonely pot - #4 in the hospital maybe, #1?? A good spread as I have mentioned, rather like the vegies in Ron's baking dish. All in all, a top night. And for a few, a night to remember. Snuggle up as Pork Pie fingers the ration card and lets off a bit of adulatory steam.

I'll firstly dispose of the winners, happily reporting a couple of Junior scores and a sensation in the OW's. Off the HSC leash, we find JM's 'The Mattrass' in fine fettle and with no sign of the Tassie foot prob - carding 430 in forty two minutes. In JW, we note a new fillie in Charlotte 'The Culvert' Culver working the branch line brick work for 300 in 44.51 - tidy timing from this often wondrous piece of railway infrastructure. In the Subs, Aidan has kicked ass with 420, a good fifty on from 'The Doughnut', while Maddy Chan's 200 is good enough to secure her the hundred in SJW.

The top score on the night was 540 - shared by Steve Ryan and Richard Green, who both worked home with only seconds to spare. Stevie 'Wonder' is singing for the OM choir, while 'The King' is of course, MM. 'Westpac' and 'The Hills Hoist' were ten back, with all stations Glenny, adrift another ten (after going nine over in one of his greatest runs). The ladies posted differing scores, with 'Fletcher, Forbes &' Gill Fowler designing 500 sensational points in OW to go twenty clear of Catherine and Wendy. Mary Fein had six seconds in hand with her 430 MW win. Dropping, much like the tummy and chin line, we still see superb running from our vets, supers and legends. In the V's, it's welcome back to Michael Burton with a clear 510 point win, and 5th place on the night. The long nights under the Chilean sky have not diminished our Coogee star it seems. In VW, Linda 'The Spaniad' Sesta took time off after lunch with her winning 360 being run with over two minutes to spare! Also, how about a round of applause for the SV's and L's - Hawthorne and Flick (430/390) and and Heftner and Waugh (300/230). All four going hard in their whites, and holding their ends without the need for the drive shot.

The Immortals are once again on show, and on fire, with Sue and Heiko taking the lollies - again. 'The Hitchhiker' returning with a claret knee - but not from the bush, he fell over the low fence at #30!! Such are the perils of running SSS with Seniors Card issue glasses. The walkers went well in rounding off our winners, Jim Merchant 'Of Jimmy Blacksmith' thirty points over for 290, and Michelle 'On Wheels' Povah twenty back, but also after going over. Might be the brakes need servicing Michelle.

I think I should also highlight the tail end Charlies - and can report a superb outing from our youngest entrant - possibly ever, with Kari 'The Swamp-hen' Marsh ( three years old!) working the damp sedges for 60 points under the guiding hand of granddad Terry Bluett. I think the route was 20,2,11,1 and home in 24 minutes! A star in the making. Also, let's here it for equal 221 place, with Gail Barr and Ian McKenzie sharing minus twenty - Ian after enjoying 620 minutes on the battlefield for the lot, and taking our prize for the longest on course (something I earlier thought might have gone to 'The Life Of' Brian Brannigan with his 67.17 flog and 260 reward). There were a few others over the ten mark, possibly rendered motionless for a period by the thunderclap.

Great to see Connie at her first SSS outing, and also Andrew Graham arriving and stripping for action as the rego desk was closing. AG dumped the bike, stripped and bipped into action in very short order - the Garingal till reluctant to forgoe any last coppers. Running the finger down the list, we also note some of our early setters in action - with Pierre 'The Tumbrill' Francois waving the tri-colour for 450 in OM, 'The Venetian Blind' and Dan 'The Ensemble' Dohle sharing 410's, and Wazza Selby - still walking the knee, but managing to probe the checkpoints with gloved finger and put 260 runs on the board.

Our biggest sub group were the sixteen nags that pulled 290 points, the most ambitious stallion amongst them being 'Tearaway' Teddy Mulherin working home in 50.03, and sadly seeing his hard earned 350 dwindle as a result. Great to see Ted with us again, one of our greatest supporters. Others that worked the 300 less 10 score, were a quartet of OW's - Peter de Lissa, 'Medium' Clare Murphy, Celine 'In Waltz Time' Samba, and Trudy 'On The' Krajenbrink. I also note Rob '007' Spry, Lloyd 'Lobby & The Coloured Balls' Gledhill and Nick 'Sushi' Eales amongst this gang of sixteen, and enjoying the early Beatles tune as they rode home on sweaty ponies. All other scores were multiple sharings, with the first solo post being Viv and Robyn in 199th place on 190 points (just above Bryony 'Double Shot' Cox's 200 in 35 and her first flat white this season).

In the 300 club we find John 'The Horse Whisperer' Murby (45.06) and Subbie Sam Rogers (45.54). In the 200's Robyn Dunlop 'Illow' rested comfortably after a short 39.32 outing, whereas Malcolm 'TV' Ramsay went wider and copped 140 off for his channel changing. Angus & Heidi went hand in hand for 100 points, Fergus 'The Fungus' Dixon had the oxygen mask on for 400, and Jeremy 'The Hen House' Fowler had plenty of shell grit in hand with 500. All stars of the Sydney Summer Series, and Pork Pie fancies with a bullet!

Splitting the difference we find Eric 'The Eel' Charpentier swimming hard for 450 in OM, Chris Cunningham 'S Gap' a long way from home with 350 in VM, Megan 'The Vegan' Brown holding 250 cans of Nutoline in VW, and Lesley Cox walking in a tidy 150 in the hotly contested walking women's land army. Ahhh, there are many more great stories and scores from yesterday's race - just like these ones! I could go on....

To conclude then, a top evening, a huge evening, and our first damp track. Who handled the wet, who went bush, who went to hospital! Check out all the scores as they get posted to the well thumbed Results page sometime soon. They could be there already.

So thanks to 'The Christmas Tree' and crew for a great evening. Next week sees the Big Feet display their wares for the first time this season - at Beecroft/Cheltenham, another old favourite, and one that offers a good mix of bush track running and street /park work. The added bonus is running under and over the M2 motorway, weird and fun. Sue Davis is our setter, and has been known to extract the truth with her rack work. Be there to experience the torture and the glory as the feet work pink and black into the top pocket (Rosscoe in a mystical reference to Whispering Ted Lowe - sadly missed, but not much to do with Big Foot). Mmmmm, must be getting late!

1 comment:

the unknown runner said...

It was Magdala park to Macquarie Hospital if you were fast. I could not quite make it! 20-22-19-21-17-8-16-3-25-10-12-24-23-30-11 for 330 pts

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