White Train goes up hill and down dale

Lardner Park, Warragul

handhMelbourne University Athletics Club cross country runners had a strong day of racing at Lardner Park Warragul, on Saturday, 8th May, for Round 2 of Athletics Victoria’s XCR ’10 season.  Swapping the usual White Train (as the MUAC winter team is known) for a bus, more than twenty athletes met in Parkville on a crisp and sunny Saturday morning for a trip to the countryside to engage in a spot of cross country running.

Harry Smithers and Hari Konchada contested the 4km U20 race over the challenging course, with Smithers claiming 5th position, and Konchada taming the hills to come 13th.

In the Open Men’s 8km race, Zac Newman, in great shape after a summer of ‘money running’ on the professional circuit, was the first member of the White Train home, running 27:54 to take 35th place, followed by surf carnival veteran and beach running expert David Ulbrick in 61st.  The Men’s Division Two team was completed by Hamish Beaumont (75th), Men’s Team Captain David Paroissien (79th) and middle distance specialists Alex Kaiser (92nd) and Tim Thomas (141st).  MUAC’s second team, contesting Division Three, was made up of Richard Dutton, Ben Franzi, Jordan Mayston, Tony Brain and Paul Kennedy.  Matt Luo showed that a stint in Sydney has not hampered his running prowess, striding around the 8km course.

vrjmThe final event of the day, the Open Women’s race, over 4km, saw a tightly packed bunch of Melbourne University women dashing up hill and down dale.  Out in front was Women’s Captain Sarah Emons coming 21st in 15:54, despite her pre-race claim of having an aversion to hills.  Close behind was Australian Orienteering representative and fence jumping specialist Jas Neve in 30th (16:20) with milliseconds only separating orienteer Vanessa Round (37th), mileage maven Julie McNamara (38th), and Al Bryant Smith (39th).

MUAC is one of only 3 clubs in Victoria with women’s teams in the top two divisions and the club’s depth of talent was on show on Saturday, with Winter Manager Kate Scarlett (43rd), Ilka Barr (45th) and recent import Johanna Ziegel (60th) not far behind.  Sarah Castelino (78th) and Wendy Grace Williams (111th) had strong races and will be looking forward to the Sandown 10km road race, next on the XCR ’10 calendar, and the chance to run personal bests.

After the race, the members of the White Train enjoyed a sumptuous repast in the MUAC marquee and indulged in a modicum of gossiping before getting on the bus for a relaxing journey back to Parkville.