Big guns, pistols and shots fired as MUAC starts winter

Round 1 XCR’15:Jells Park Cross Country Relays


The White Train steamed into Jells Park on Saturday 18th April for the season opener for the XCR15 series. Overnight rain had cleared (perfectly forecasted by MUAC’s senior meteorologist), leaving the racing surface soft in places but generally firm. A record breaking 44 MUAC athletes powered round the hilly course with 9 newbies, Andy Buchanan, Fred Smithers, Sam Tymms, Yohan Philip, Charlie Blanch, Ella Trimboli, Julia Atkins, Sarah Jackson and Marie Parsons, along with a return to Australia and MUCA racing for Alex Bull. The Premier ladies, after a motivational speech by captain Ellen Schaef, were led out by Amanda Paulin who stormed round the 6km course in 21.53 (5th fasted time of the day) handing over to Sarah McSweeney in 2nd. McSweeney (22.55) brought the team up to 1st place, passing on to debutante Sarah Jackson (23.48), Alex Bull (25.09) with captain Schaef (24.09) bringing the team home in a solid 5th place. The MUAC 2nd ladies team (Claire Boulange, Martine Botha, Gen Blanch and Ella Trimboli) grabbed bronze in the Division 3 and the 3rd ladies team (Sarah James, Julia Atkins and Marie Parsons) not to be outdone, romped home to victory in Division 5 by almost 3 minutes.

In a stacked Premier Men division, including Olympians, World Championship and World XC representatives, MUAC were led out by the mighty Andy Buchanan in his 1st outing for the White Train. Buchanan flew around the course in 18.21 bringing the team in in 2nd, ahead of the long femured National 800m and 1500m champion Jeff Riseley, passing on to captain Nick Earl. Earl (19.20) struggled around, holding on to 3rd position, followed by Zac Newman (19.37) moving the boys back up to 2nd. The race was finished off by fast finishing Max Ueda (20.34), Yohan Philip (21.32) and Sam Blake (20.12) bringing the team home in a respectable 6th place. Other notable performances included debutantes Fred Smithers (20.36) and Charlie Blanch (20.57) who will be fighting for a Premier spot in the upcoming races! Thanks goes out to volunteers (Pistol) Pete Gaukrodger and Philip van Dueren and our canine supporters Ruby and Simba. The race was followed by afternoon tea in the park and an evening of dinner at Vietnamese restaurant Cafe 58 and entertainment (courtesy of the waiter challenging president Beaumont to shot downing competition, where there were definitely no winners!). Next stop for the White Train is Lardner Park on Saturday 9th May where president Beaumont will be donning the legendary Kirwan bin liner track pants and deciding who the next victim will be!