TAMWORTH RUNNING FESTIVAL
PAST winners dominated the podium at the Tamworth running festival yesterday as over 1000 people turned up to compete across all events.
Last year’s 10km race winner Ben Malby returned to Tamworth where he grew up to win the first ever half marathon event in a time of 1.16.37.
Stepping up from the 10km to the 22.1km event might seem a little severe, but Malby only counts that kind of distance as a section in his usual races.
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Malby is an ultra-marathon runner who was using the race as training for the Glasshouse 100km event, but was also doing it in honour of Daniel Halpin, a friend who passed away earlier in the year.
“I was hoping to go a bit quicker but enjoyed the speed of the flat course – Daniel kept me going” Malby said.
“It is always good to come home and race, as well as catch up with friends and family. I will be back for sure.”
The winner said he lost well over a minute in time over the last few kilometres when the community walkers hit the track and caused some confusion and congestion.
“That can happen anywhere on any course, it wasn’t a big problem but it is not ideal,” Malby said.
Malby is hoping to complete the 100km Glasshouse course in under 10 hours.
The one-time Tamworth High student who now resides on the Gold Coast said the next three weeks will involve some committed training and long runs to prepare.
The women’s half marathon was supposed to be a showdown between three local girls, Zoe Radford, Kelly Moore and Mia Cottrell-Dormer, but no one suspected Newcastle’s Celia Sullohern would be there at the end.
Sullohern ran a blistering race to come in third overall and beat Tamworth favourite Zoe Radford by over eight minutes in a time of 1.21.23.
Moore was not far behind Radford to claim third.
Sullohern is a cross country runner who normally specialises in 10km events, although decided to run the half marathon “to stretch the legs out a bit.”
She is now heading to Canberra to apply for a university placement, although while she is there she will compete in the Canberra Times 10km race.
“It was a bit crowded on the way back in, although I did get some good encouragement from the other runners which always helps, I had a great time,” Sullohern said.
Hugh Williams came back to Tamworth to win the Tamworth Ten for the third time, after previously taking the title in 2008 and 2009.
Another young gun Megan Isbester set a cracking pace around the 10 km course and cruised to victory in the women s race, after doing the same in last year’s 5km event.
A Tamworth duo won the 5km events with Mitch Salter and Emma Heeney flying past the post, Salter made short work of the new course completing the race in 18 minutes flat.
The Northern Daily Leader Dash for Cash finished off the day, with good-sized fields across all age groups.
Keeping to the theme of the day, Jake Hazel won the 60m race in the 16-39 year old group, defending the crown he won last year in style. Hazel just pipped Mitch Draper and Jason Meier.
The women’s event was taken out by Lia Mills, who beat Arna Jarrett and Emma Poetschka past the post.
Luke Klasen and Ella Heeney took out the under 15s, while David Barnett and Alison Rumble flew down the oval to win the 40 years events.