As in 2007, Mallee 12
2008 became the Steve Moneghetti show despite the best efforts of our most talented Mallee runners and a gun field of athletes from out of town. For almost a kilometre it looked like Mona might have his hands full with Ian Brade and Bert Pelgrim matching strides and looking comfortable, and talented Melbournians Anthony Rule and Damian Gauci cruising in their shadows. But as the morning warmed, Mona cast a dismissive look over both shoulders and soon turned it into a race for second.
Amongst the girls, emerging local star Georgie Whitehead again had her hands full with June Petrie from the Yarra Valley, and a cast of talented youngsters from the region. Narelle Pollock from Swan Hill, Sandy Beach from SA, and our own Gabby Phillips contributed to the speed-fest at the front of the girl pack.
Meanwhile, endless personal battles evolved back-stage with some fine racing amongst the junior and veteran athletes, and some combative mischief in the 4km walk crowd. Few had the speed to match Lou & Sophie the Clowns over one lap, despite suspicions that they may have cut the course? The results of our investigation are pending.
But without labouring the point, many came to see the Mona show and the great man didn't disappoint with a new race record of 37:44, two minutes clear of Anthony Rule who ran something close to a perfect race for second, catching and passing Ian Brade in the closing charge to our Station Homestead finish line.
Georgie Whitehead maintained her perfect M12
record with a comfortable victory over June Petrie and a hard-finishing Narelle Pollock.
Outstanding local juniors, Ellie Fraser and Lucy Collihole grabbed remarkable podium finishes in the Under 18 girls race, with Jesse Vallance and Rohan Broadhead finding Damian Gauci a tough target in the Under 18 boys.
The veteran men and women featured prominently in the overall placings, with Bert Pelgrim carving up the 12km looped course in 42:26 and an ageless Livinia Petrie stunning some of the younger girls with her 54:05.
A quality field, another perfect Mallee Day, and a classy escort of 4km walkers that included Olympic bronze medal boxer Kevin Hogarth and a beast that many believed to be a bear, provides a snapshot of 2008 Mallee 12
. The event was in every sense a colossal success and will raise around $1500 for Mildura Life Savers and a further $200 for the captive breeding program of the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect at Melbourne Zoo!
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 energy and commitment. We can't wait to load the starting gun (well, the ATLAS truck horn!) for 2009 Mallee 12
and hope you will once again be part of the action.
Big growth in numbers suggests the race will fill quickly in 2009. See you on the startline.
:: All images courtesy Stacey Merlin (Sunraysia Daily)