As dawn broke on our inaugural Mallee 12 race day the Historic Homestead venue began its transformation from cold, misted parkland to busy sporting marketplace. Car lights punched through the thick fog bringing promise of hot food, fresh local produce, and wanted coffee. A team of volunteers turned road and track into a coloured race course.
With the arrival of the sun came the runners. Fast and fit folk lured into town from three states, perhaps by the challenge laid out by our best Mallee runners, maybe drawn by the substantial prize-money on offer, or best of all wanting to enjoy the atmosphere of a great new event that just happened to have Steve and Tanya Moneghetti on the starting grid.
And matching the run crowd for numbers and class were the morning walkers. Radio personalities, hot-rod prams, and some very small legs gave the M12 start line a playful and mischievous look many rows deep. We were race ready.
Then honnnnnk!, and we were away, and away at high speed. Some managed to go close with Mona for the first kilometre but 3 minute km pace was always going to stretch anyone short of elite talent. And so Mona blasted into the distance and a race for second began to unfold. Amongst the men, Tankard, Brade, Dwyer, and Pelgrim were locked in high speed battle but hadn???t counted on being quietly stalked by Adelaide speedster Ray Chester. After locking horns to about 5km, Tankard found a bit extra to create a growing gap on the fast men that would run him into second place behind the great man, Moneghetti. Chester found another gear beyond halfway finishing powerfully to claim third.
In the girls race, stunning young talent Georgie Whitehead raced from the front to hold off a late-closing challenge from June Petrie, with Ang Harris producing something special to claim third overall.
Right through the field outstanding performances came to light on and after race day, but special mention goes to two tenacious young ladies, Jess and Lucy Collihole nailing 12ks at the tender age of nine, Nadia Manly bring junior speed and talent down from Broken Hill, and Di Kelly racing hard and fast after the very recent arrival of her baby. And to Ian Wilson for cracking the hour-'glass' for 12km after years of City to Bay attempts.
To all the walkers, your participation and endeavour has made the Mildura Life Savers $1000 better off.
Our enormous thanks go to a great cast of sponsors, media, supporters, helpers, and race participants. Thanks also to the marketeers and coffee makers, the sausage sizzlers, and soupers. The event success is indebted to your time and commitment. We can't wait to load the starting gun for 2008 Mallee 12 and hope you will once again be part of the action.