Record numbers for the White Train at journey ends as Ladies run to Podium

24 September 2009

Cap'n Barks and Kate Scarlett showing off the tough MUAC stickers!

Cap'n Barks and Kate Scarlett showing off the tough MUAC stickers!

XCR09 once again left the best until last, with the final race of the season, the “Tan Relays”, held on a fine Spring morning around the Botanical Gardens next to the Yarra River. Melbourne University fronted record numbers for the sunny event, aided by the addition of a large handful of fast-twitch members of MUAC. The women fielded four full teams, and the men three and a bit – the best MUAC turn out to a XCR relay this season.

The highlight of the day was the Division 1 women racing strongly to claim bronze, and a much-awaited spot on the podium. Despite last minute juggling of teams, Sarah Emons stormed out unfazed on the first leg to run sub-14mins arriving home in 4th place behind the ultra-competitive Knox, Glenhuntly and Box Hill clubs. Undaunted by the pressure of being asked to step up a division just an hour before the start, Kate Scarlett ran strongly to maintain 4th, and Charlotte Curnow ran another speedy sub 14min leg to keep the placing before Sophie ‘Capt’n Barks’ Barker anchored the team home to steal 3rd place from Box Hill just 400m from the finish.

The Division 1 men also posted a handful of super speedy individual runs, with Frank Ciancio running the quickest time of the day for Melbourne Uni (12:11). Tom Gorman and Charlie Sheldon also pushed the pace, both running about 12:30 for the challenging 3.8km loop. Despite their fabulous efforts throughout the season, the men couldn’t quite make the cut, unfortunately finishing just one place too far down the ladder to maintain their Division 1 status for 2010. The claws will be out next

Andy Selby Smith: a picture of concentration

Andy Selby Smith: a picture of concentration

year to get back up to the top rank!

This year the Womens Division 2 and 4 teams were dominated by the fresh faces of anaerobic athletes, with plenty of 100-400m specialists taking up the Tan Relay challenge. The Division 2 girls ran strongly to place 8th, a fine effort given for most of them it was the equivalent of a marathon!  The two Division 4 teams finished 6th and 10th respectively, with many of the team members tackling the relay event for the first time.

Doma Vodanovich led out the Mens Division 3 cohort at a cracking pace, the team finishing in a tidy 6th place, as did the Division 5 team.  The Division 7 team turned out to be an eclectic mix– ever-smiling Hahn Lim gave it his all first up, followed by 400m runner Will Vigors, and anchored with Big Hamish Beaumont ‘taking it easy’ the day before the Sydney Half Marathon. Special mention goes to Hamish for his great efforts in Sydney – 4th in the male 30-34yrs age group, and 10th overall in the National Half Championship, in a swift time of 73:34.

Special mention must also go to the volunteers who graciously lent a hand on Saturday by timekeeping and officiating – Myrella Vlenterie, our Dutch import, Elaine Chan, our resident ‘Hoppy’ and the elusive Andrew ‘Moorey’ Moore and his partner Sandra – so elusive in fact, that when his presence was mentioned at training the following week, Capt’n Barks had no recollection of his appearance, except for a brief glimpse as he sped off in a getaway car at the far side of the gardens…

The Division One winners and place getters

The Division One winners and place getters

Of course the day could only be completed with a record-sized brunch to match the record-sized turn-out. The plethora of goodies was supplemented by some much-deserved celebratory ‘cold ones’ to mark the end of a successful winter season. However, the final ladder standings remain controversial and up in the air, with the Melb Uni Division 1 women finishing with eight less points than Glenhuntly and yet published as equal third!?  A podium finish would be an impressive feat for 2009, so the club will wait with bated breath

Finally, the season has ended with the umpire calling ‘time’ on both the season challenges – the ‘Iron-Brain’ and the ‘Hardcore Chan’. Whilst the Hardcore Chan was decided hands down by Elaine’s effort completing the half marathon with a broken bone in her foot, the Iron-Brain may just be decided in a final winner takes all play-off involving an alley, a big, heavy ball and twelve pins.

As this was the final race for the season, special thankyous must also go out to those who have ensured the season has run so smoothly – it could not have been achieved without dedicated team manager Dave Paroissien (whose presence was sadly missed at the relays, and who has left big shoes to fill in 2010), super coach Tony Brain, Captains Dave Ulbrick and Sophie Barker, and stalwart rug-provider Tim Thomas.

Over and out from the MUAC Train Station for Winter 2009.

Tan Relay Results

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