“Blakey” Saves The Day, Claire Scores First VCCL Win and Russell Turns On The Heat

Race sixteen of the Victorian Cross Country League season consisted of a parkrun event with Claire Thiele, racing at Koonwarra in South Gippsland, scoring her first VCCL win. Claire defeated Les Williams (Traralgon) by twenty three seconds with Frog Hollow’s Matt Grant in the third place. With the arrival of new family members, MacKenzie and Lucas in recent years, Claire’s racing appearances are becoming more regular and her form is gradually returning to her previous best. Claire’s best includes a win in the 400m Women’s Camden Classic on the South Australian track circuit. The fastest times for the weekend were Joel Donnar (15:29) and Brigitte Humphreys (18:30).

Race seventeen on the VCCL calendar was a sealed handicap combined with Athletics Victoria’s 15km road race at Lake Wendouree. The winner of the VCCL section was Brigitte Humphreys running a very impressive 58:50 in the extremely blustery conditions from Michael Marantelli (47:54) who ran the fastest time of the day of our club runners. Corey Lawson (55:08) was in third place, fastest of the women was Camilla Whishaw with a great run of 57:48.

The VCCL, down on numbers, were only able to field our division four team for AV points. Desperately short of a fifth runner to complete the team, Gary Blake arose from his sick bed to complete the course and enable the VCCL to finish second and gain enough points to maintain the lead in the division four premiership contest. The team, consisting of Michael Marantelli (47:54), Dan Lawlor (53:38), Craig Harris (58:10), Fraser Murray (68:07) and Gary Blake (83:15) managed to increase their lead on the table as our main competitor, St Stephen’s, failed to make the trip to Ballarat.
VCCL race eighteen was another parkrun event with Russell Johnson, competing at Alpins Weir in Far North Queensland, returning to the winning list after several seasons off the VCCL scene. Russell, who travels far and wide for his parkruns, must be the most travelled competitor with runs also at Mt Helena (WA), Wanneroo (WA) and various venues throughout Victoria. Russell defeated Claire Thiele by twenty seven seconds with Natalie Densley in third place. Fastest times went to Joel Donnar (16:18) and Brigitte Humphreys (18:49).

This Saturday the VCCL competes with Athletics Victoria at Anglesea in the Ekiden Relay. The open divisions of the relay consist of each team competing over various distances which in total are the equivalent of a marathon.

Remember VCCL members can compete at any parkrun venue to be eligible for prize money.

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