More than 500 runners took up the challenge of participating in the four event adult program of a 42.2km Marathon, a 21.1km Half-Marathon, a 10km Run and a 5km Run, along with the junior events from 300m to 2000m (for 5 to 13 years) starting at Trial Bay Gaol, South West Rocks.
This year saw a new course developed to keep the runners off the main roads, using footpaths and walkways around South West Rocks from the Gaol to Horseshoe Bay and around the Back Creek area, using a 14km loop running three laps to achieve the 42km distance and a lesser loop of 10.5km for the half marathon to achieve the 21km and a 5km loop for the 10km run with turnarounds for each race along the same course.
No competitor was more than 7km from the start, making backup and drinks stations safer and more efficient to maintain, and great for spectators with multiple sightings of the athletes.
The original course 37 years ago ran from Kempsey to the Gaol a distance of 42.2km, this was later changed to start from the Gaol and run the 21.1km to the Hat Head turnoff along the South West Rocks Road. This was logistically difficult to service the runners and maintain safety on the road, so the new course gave spectators a better chance to follow the competitors and was safer for both competitors and volunteers.
William Blanch from Redfern ran his very first Marathon of 42.2km and won the event from a reduced starting field of only 29 in a time of 3:14:59, following in second place was Mark Hope from Greenpoint in 03:18:26 with third place taken by Thomas Robertson from Bateau Bay in a time of 03:19:20.
The first female to finish was Claire Bradshaw from Bonny Hills winning in a time of 03:26:43, followed by Kirby Clarke from Drummoyne in a time of 03:38:41 with, Maxine Langley from Nambucca Heads in a time of 04:05:12 in third. First local Macleay Valley residents were Kylie Robinson from South West Rocks in a time of 04:12:26 with Andrew Kirby from Hat Head in 04:13:05.
The Half Marathon was won by Reece Edwards from Canberra from a starting field of 101 with a time of 1:12:56, followed by Gary Mullins from Mosman in second place with a time of 1:18:25, with Phill Dernee from Old Bar placed 3rd in a time of 01:27:34.
The female division was won by Jess Marsh from Frenchs Forrest in a time of 1:35:32, followed by Stephanie Chamberlain from Cremorne Point in 01:38:35, with Natalie Angel from Port Macquarie third in a time of 01:38:48. The fastest local Macleay Valley residents were Doug Tovey from South West Rocks in 01:36:47 followed by Wendy Olden from Kempsey in 01:42:14.
The 10km run was won by Charlie Brooks from Springfield from a starting field of 195, in a time of 0:34:24 followed by Christopher Fuchs from Kincumber in a time of 0:34:55 with Thomas Merkus from King Creek in third place in 0:36:27.
The female division was won by Ellie Mathot from Terrigal in a time of 0:44:06 followed by Jo McGoldrick from Turners Flat in a time of 0:44:56 with Nikki Watton from Laurieton third in 0:45:14. The first local Macleay Valley residents, male and female were Shaun Fraser from Collombatti in 0:37:43 and Jo McGoldrick from Turners Flat in 0:44:56.
The 5km Run saw a field of 78 competitors with Thomas Fletcher from Kempsey winning in a time of 00:18:49, followed by Daniel Williams from Nambucca Heads in 00:19:02 in second place, with Grant Armessen from Bellingen 3rd in 00:19:45.
First Female was Caitlin Fuchs from Kincumber in a time of 00:21:20 with second place female going to Liana Williams from Port Macquarie in 00:21:21 and Sue Reddie from Firefly third in a time of 00:24:23. The First local Macleay valley residents were Thomas Fletcher from Kempsey in a time of 00:18:49 and Georgina Everson from South West Rocks in 00:30:01.
The Coastline Junior Events of four races for five to 13 years saw over 100 children participating, in varying distances from 300m to 2000m on the beach, but they all received finishers medals and had better access to the many random draws on offer.
The best represented club was the Terrigal Trotters followed by The Plodders from Port Macquarie second; the another Port Macquarie club The Port Pacers third, with the Hat Head Hammerheads a close fourth. All proceeds go to community groups who help marshal and run the event.
Full results available via link go to results on www.trialbaytri.com.au or “Google” South West Rocks Running Festival, results 2018.