Southern Sydney 24 Hour Ultra Race, 5-6 June 2021
With our first ever race report for the Southern Sydney 24 Hour Ultra Race Event, It has taken me a few days to fully take in the whole race weekend and to be able to put it all together.
This race was born to avoid Sydney losing an ultra event that has been part of the running scene and community for a lot of years. This starts with going back 2 years, and hearing that Sri Chinmoy who had successfully run the race in Campbelltown, Sydney for so many years, was moving their 24 hour event to Canberra to be incorporated with the 48hr that is traditionally run in March. This had left Sydney without a 24 hour track event on the running calendar. It was important to keep it going. Out of this the Southern Sydney 24 Hour Ultra was born. The race was developed over the last 12 months, and with a new name, line up of races and also location up at the Barden Ridge Athletic Track, the event was created.
The event was kept at the same time of year with it traditionally being at the start of June, and with Sydney putting on its glamorous weather, the race weekend had arrived.
As dawn broke over a stunning day up at Barden Ridge, the runners started to arrive one by one ready for their race with their setups and enthusiasm to get out on the track to enjoy a perfect weekend of racing.
The new line up consisted of 6 races being hosted over the weekend, the main race being the 24 hour, and also traditionally a 12 hour and 6 hour race. To compliment the 3 timed races we also included a small field for a 100km race, a night marathon and for the Sunday a new addition of a 3 hour race to support the main event and bring home the runners with a new lease of life.
24 Hour Race
The main race being the 24 hour competing in lanes 1 & 2, started on the Saturday at 10am, and continued through to 10am Sunday for the finish.
This race proved to be very popular as soon as entries opened. It was sold out with the max field of 41 runners before November last year, where it continued with a waitlist as it had massive interest, with the list growing to over 25 runners wanting to join the event.
The field of runners that stood on the start line was a terrific mix of experienced track runners through to people discovering the track for the first time.
The first 3 male places all achieve over 200km. First to finish with an impressive distance of 242.627km was Joe Ward of NSW, competing in his second 24 hour track race, and achieving himself a new PB. Next behind Joe was Dan Symonds from QLD and an Australian Representative, who after maintaining the same gap behind Joe for most of the race, came home with a total of 237.006km. Third place goes to a local runner Adam Keighran, who was running in his first official 24 hour track race after having his previous year’s race cancelled due to Covid, came across the line in an impressive first run total of 203.706km. Fourth place went to Luke Barrett, another local runner who managed to only pick up his entry 1 week earlier off the waitlist, and also a track debut achieving a total of 190.514km.
The females also had an amazing weekend of racing and showcased an impressive list of results. The Winner, was a debuting track runner who decided to step straight into the big race and run the 24hr. With her dedication and training Jenny Morris from NSW was able to come home with the win with an impressive total of 186.974km. Not far behind in second place and someone who is no stranger to the track, Sabina Hamity achieved a total of 175.441km, and coming in third place, Vice Hazdovac who achieved greater than a miler on the track with 165.074km. Fourth female went to Niboddhri Christie from the ACT who also picked up an entry only 1 week earlier, and finished with a new PB of 152.621km.
Special mention also goes out to the only 24hr Walker, Linda Christison, who achieved a total of 151.881km walking the 24hr event and placing her 5th female outright in the 24 hour field.
12 Hour Race
This was the first race to kick start the weekend, at 8am Saturday, and running in lanes 3 & 4. There was a field of 21 starters, with 19 running and 2 walking in the event.
The runners produced an outstanding results in this race, with one of the highlights going to the outright male winner Dominic Bullock from NSW. At just 27 years of age and never running over a marathon distance, Dominic managed a staggering total of 146.277km and also achieving a new Australian M25 Age Group record by an impressive 9km (Pending Ratification). Second place went to Scott Connolly with a distance that would often see the win of 126.171km. Taking out the last podium position of third place was Damon Lynch with 116.278km, with his equally impressive race.
For the females, the first place go to Leigh Hawkes, who decided to upgrade from the 6 hour race not long before the event to finish with 97.995km, followed by Leah Weeden in second with 91.617km and rounding out the top 3 places went to Lyndal Maloney with 86.283km. All 3 places were close together throughout the race, with the placings being anyone guess. They were all awe inspiring, and kept the race full of energy over the 12 hours.
6 Hour Race
The 6 hour race which started at 12pm, sharing lanes 3 & 4, saw a stellar line up of runners, which produced some amazing performances.
One of the stand out performances for this race goes out to the ever graceful Tia Jones of QLD. Feeling right at home, Tia who has competed for Australia in both the 24hr and 100km distance, took out the win with an impressive 69.774km. Not only achieving the outright win in the race, Tia also went on to breaking 2 Australian W55 Age Group record, in the 6 hour (this being her own record) and less than 2km from the world best performance and 50km (both pending Ratification). Second and not too far behind, and also an Australian 24hr Representative, went to Simone Hayes with a total of 66.188km, this on the back of being at the track from the start to help set up and staying afterwards for the entire event supporting where she could. Rounding out the top 3 went to Dianne Sheedy with 58.216km and racing in the 6 hour for the first time.
The Male, top 3 were all close together. First place going to Baiqi Cheng with a total of 68.517km, followed by another Australian representative Matthew Eckford, who is normally at home in the 24 hour distance, but chose to enjoy the 6 hour with a total of 66.03km. In third place and still very close behind with a strong finish was Glenn Gielissen with 63.429km.
As part of the 6 hour race there were 2 very special entrants who were competing as walkers. Heather Lee at 94 years of age achieved an amazing 26.358km and Margrit Smith at 86 years of age achieving 17.138km completed their 6 hour races with such inspiration. They both had inspired everyone out on the track last weekend. It certainly shows that age is no barrier and with a positive outlook you’re able to achieve anything.
3 Hour Race
The 3 hour race was the only Sunday starting race, with the runners bracing a very chilly morning and heading out onto the track as the day was breaking with a new lease of energy for all the 24 hour runners who were now into their last hours of their endurance performances. This race had the second biggest field of runners, with so many local community members and dominated by the ladies, coming to enjoy the atmosphere and support this event.
The male’s race started out with 4 of the runners all pushing each other along, until our first place winner Jason Keane broke free to put some laps on them and finish with an ultra distance of 42.335km, and achieving a sub 3hr marathon result.
In second place Jeremy Francis, who just fell short of achieving the distance of a marathon, but still ended with an impressive 41.62km. Rounding out the top 3 position was fellow Aussie Runner Podcast member Geoff Millar finishing less than 1km behind with 40.847km. The fourth person in that initial group Scott Richmond, who was instrumental with all the race designs, cruised home with a total of 35.605km.
Top 3 female finishes had a fantastic race, all finishing within less than 600m of each other, with first place going to Sarah Grealy with 33.176km. Second place to Angela Chew with 32.586km and just a mere 35m behind was third place finisher Sally Hinchey with 32.551km, and enjoying her first outing on the track.
Rounding out the line-up of races at the event were 2 distances races, with a 100km race starting at the same time as the 24hr runners and a night marathon starting at 9pm at night at the completion of the 6hr and 12hr races.
The 100km race saw a small field of only 9 runners start as they shared lanes 1 & 2 with the 24hr runners. But they didn’t disappoint with all 9 runners putting on a great race.
The finishers were spread out over time, but it was humbling to see that they all hung around supporting the remaining runners in their race after they had finished their distances.
As a race director, it was truly humbling to see all finishers staying to support their fellow competitors to the finish.
Men first place go to Soonchul Shin who is familiar to the track with an impressive time of 9:45:27. Second place went to Rene Collins with 11:52:48, who then braved the cold after his race to cheer on the third place finisher Taehyuk Lim in a time of 12:19:10.
Women first place went to Mary Creagan with a time of 12:47:09, followed by second place Tilsa Collings in a time of 13:49:50 and rounding out the top 3 was Morakot Murphy with a time of 15:18:54.
The night marathon which started at 9pm, after both the shorter distances of the 12hr and 6hr races had finished, and was a great motivator to the 24 hour runners who had been running for 11 hours by then and were heading into the later hours of the evening. Their energy was a great lift of spirits for all the runners out there. Despite the late start we still had an impressive field of 30 runners on the start line.
The Male finishers went to first place Ian Richards with a great time of 3:13:07, followed by Andrew Tillman in second place with 3:43:37 and Rick Patzold rounding out the top 3 places with a time of 3:49:11. It was so great to see all waiting around in the cool of the night to congratulate each other.
The female finishers were, first place Karin Tappouras with a time of 4:34:35, second place to Tracie Scarlett-Arundell in a time of 4:38:15 and rounding out the top 3 positions went to someone who prefers running marathons on the road and trails but needs no introduction Jane Trumper with a time of 4:53:55.
For the marathon there were some very special runners at the event this year. 2 legends of the marathon world with a combined total of over 600 marathons between them, were Bob Fickle who completed his 290th marathon in a time of 5:53:52, and even more impressive was Ray James, completing his 334th Marathon in a time 6:25:08, and crossing the line alongside Wayne Gregory, who wanted to show his support and respect to one of the legends in the running community.
Another special mention goes out to Frank Dearn who at 88 years old, was looking to complete his marathon distance and possible become Australia’s oldest Marathon finisher. Supported by Glenn & Belinda Lockwood and Kathy Johnsun, and starting at a special time of 8am with the 12 hour runners, to allow the best time available to complete the distance. Unfortunately due to the cold setting in after 10hrs out on the track, Frank decided to retire, but not without achieving 35.3km and inspiring so many throughout the day in the other races.
What an amazing first running of the Southern Sydney 24 Hour event brought to you by Ultra Running NSW!! There were so many stories and great performances by everyone on the day. We wish we could share them all, but it goes without saying that every runner that competed at the event over the weekend in all the races that were held was just so very special, and have given us great memories of the inaugural running of this event.
Lastly, it goes without saying that to be able to run an event of this magnitude, it would not happen without the amazing team behind the scenes giving up their time to support and help out throughout the whole weekend. All the volunteers were as inspiring as all the runners and without them, the event would not have been what it was. From all the runners, crew, support and definitely the team behind the race, we say a massive “Thank you” to each and every one of you, and we hope to build on these relationships into the future.
There are 2 very special mentions that we would like to give, with the first to Penny Redfern, for her never ending energy over the whole weekend carrying out all the support roles that are required to make this event happen and without, we would never have been able to pull of such a great event for all the runners.
Secondly to our professional timer, Martin Fryer from Flyer Ultra timing, who provided single handed, the most accurate timing system of any event. With all the tireless hours that Martin puts in, behind the scenes, allowing for a flawless recording of all competitors times and distances over all the events.
We would just like to finish off 2021 with saying “Thank You” to every runner, crew, volunteer and supporter for being a part an amazing weekend of racing that has left some great lasting memories for everyone.
We have already starting organising for 2022, and will have all the new details out for everyone in the near future. But for now, rest, recover and reflect.
For full results of all the races, head on over to My Race Results by selecting the link below.
Ultra Running NSW