Whilst numbers were slightly down on the past two years, a still very healthy turnout of nearly 160 people braved the hot conditions to take part in the 9th Annual Farm to Pub at Willaura.
Mercifully there was some cloud cover to provide some respite from the hot conditions, and the southerly breeze in the face of runners was only gentle and not too much of an impediment like the full-blown fan in 2009.
16.4km Farm to Pub
If you’re ever getting married or selling a house, do it on Farm to Pub day (in the morning so you can still compete!) as it never rains on Farm to Pub day!! The mudlarks out there wait in vain for a rain affected Sandy Lane, as in 2012 the old girl again was at her hot, dry and dusty best. It was going to be a tough day at the office.
Shannon Wolf had the honour of being first to leave the farm for the pub at 5pm. She quickly settled into a groove and held the lead as she paused at the 4km mark for a drink. She looked to be in control and not letting Sandy Lane getting the better of her as she powered over the remants of where the famous sand dunes once stood, and as she reached the 8.2km mark, she was still in the lead. Still travelling strong, already half way home- could she hang on for an all the way victory?
Behind her things were yet to sort themselves out, with the front-markers still holding off the backmarkers. Most had kept their original starting positions, but there was a few who were making ground. Moyston export and now Bendigo resident Jim Marshall was out to better brother Bruce’s from 2011, no easy task given he was faced with much harder conditions than the gentle defences Sandy Lane put up last year. The handicapper lined the Marshall brothers up and down, and didn’t like Jim’s chances. He backed in Bruce’s time to win by some margin. Starting in 13th, by half-way he’d already worked his way to 4th and was within just under 8 minutes of the leader.
Wolf was still clinging to the lead as she turned for home at the 11.4km drinks station. Her lead over Marshall was down to 2 minutes by now, but her form was still strong and she was fighting to hang on. Less than one minute further back was Sarah Heard, who was competing in her 4th Farm to Pub, and was in her strongest position yet, within 3 minutes of the leader with just 5km to go.
However spurred on by the chase of his brother’s time, Jim Marshall powered away in the final 5km to reach the Pub first and add his name to the illustrious Farm to Pub honour roll, with the added bonus of beating Bruce’s time by nearly 2 minutes. Over to you in 2013 Bruce…mouth-watering battle awaits between them next year.
Horsham export Joseph van Dyk, the number 1 member of the powerful van Dyk Farm to Pub stable (several runners entered on the day), flew like the wind in the final 5km to claim 2nd, after having been 13th at halfway and 6th on the turn. Whilst Julian Harvey closed hard late as well to round out the podium finishers, just passing Sarah Heard late in the race.
Amy & Lynden Brewis (perennial local top performers) finished in 5th & 6th, whilst Sarah Wals in her 5th attempt finally cracked the top ten finishing in 7th. Tim Frampton (24th – 8th) and Scott Carey (17th – 9th) were other back markers to swamp the tiring front markers on Yarram Gap Rd. Great Western’s (and Winning Post regular contributor!) Keith Lofthouse rounded out the top 10.
Back in the pack David Staehr went too hard too early, and whilst his quickest time of 58:55 was super slick, it was slower than last year.
Wayne Aitken claimed the Gerald McCarthy Trophy (King/Queen of Sandy Lane – lowest average time over past three years) from previous King Tim Frampton, a great reward for consistency.
A future King was found, with Josh Boreland, not yet 12 years old, completing the course in an astonishing 97:25. Well done Josh, super impressive!!
Unlucky runner was Kieran Ryan, who as a late entrant was ineligible for line honours. He flew over the course, amazingly outperforming his estimated time by nearly 30 minutes!
8.2km Half Farm to Pub
56yo local man Mark Bryant flew off the front mark to claim the 8.2km Half Farm to Pub. The frontmarkers dominated the race, with Therese Hucker holding off Pat Millear in the battle for 2nd.Whilst Jim Marshall’s wife Suzie Joyce nearly made it a historic double, finishing in 4th. Backmarker Tim Brady was a surprise omission from the Top 10, until it was later found out that once he caught partner Angela Booth, the gentleman stayed with his girl to the finish line. The other big battle saw great NOBSPC rivals Brendan Wills and Brendan Sheehan battled it out down Main St, with Wills prevailing by 3 seconds. Sonya Colbert from Nhill reaped the rewards from what must have been strong training to run the quickest time, which was 4 minutes better than her time last year.
16.4km Farm to Pub Ride
The Heard family continued their first class record in this category, with Cooper Heard reaching the Pub first, holding off Mandy Heard by less than one minute. Strathmore’s Olivia Turville rounded out the top 3. Fraser Heard for the second year in a row had the fastest time. Word has it that from the Heard property at Brenley that plans are already underway for the sire of Cooper & Fraser, Anthony, to make it 3 in a row for the family next year. Should this be the case officials will name the race in the families honour!!!
The Other Side
- Not for the first time a runner was caught “Short” on the course.Who? I’ve already given a hint!!
- A well respected lawyer apparently regrets his choice of Maccas for lunch on race day….and has asked that toilets be installed at the half-way start to save him running for the trees up the road before his run
- There was drama around the finishing time of Therese Hucker.Long into the night Hucker was casting doubt on her finishing time and the integrity of the “bearded man” finishing judge. After a comprehensive investigation the “bearded man” was cleared (he did an exemplary job) and it was found Hucker was wearing the wrong number…school girl error Therese!!
- Not for the first time, John Wals has already “un-retired” and likely to be back next year….told you so….
Through the entry fees, raffles, auction and donations, the Farm to Pub raised over $6000 for Beyond Blue this year (exact amount confirmed in coming weeks once all donations etc are finalised), taking the total to over $33k in the past six years!
One of the winners of the ‘Mens Health – 6 month subscription’ didn’t actually get their voucher with the magazine and their name wasn’t written down on the raffle prize winners list, if this was you please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and Phil will send it out.
- Phil & Caz Joyce. The heart and soul of the event. I say it every year, but you wouldn’t believe the time & effort they put in on and before the day.
- Phil adds – I’d like to especially thank Caz as my Executive Assistant for all her hard work in securing the sponsors for the raffle and showbags as well as organising everything to do with the show bags and the raffle, she was previously my Personal Assistant but has been promoted due to her great work.
- All our generous sponsors who donated goods free of charge for the raffle of for the showbags.
- Christian’s Bus Company and Tim Frampton. This service is invaluable and we’d be lost without this continuing substantial support.
- Our regular support bus driver Mark Rankin, who fills in for Tim allowing him to run! Then follows up with handing out showbags.
- Maureen Brady for organising the portaloo for the Farm and the drinks station helpers; Favourite Uncle James Brady, Kate Pitcher, Kiara Pitcher, Greg, Sally & Bec Hinchliffe.
- Denis Hitchens and 13th Beach Marketing for again producing the high quality banner
- Dominic McCarthy for acting as official starter, and his role model, Simon Joyce acting as ½ distance starter
- Simon “Bearded Man” Harwood for acting as finishing judge, ably supported by photographers Tessa Maguire and Simone.
- The Protagonist for again amusing us with his annual writing piece (The Protagonist would like to thank Nick Joyce for his help)
- Our long-time (since 2007) first-aid officer in Doug Ware
- The Willaura Pub for their first class hospitality and support
- The Willaura Lions Club for putting on the BBQ
- The local & farm papers for helping promote the event
- Those who travelled far and wide and made sacrifices to compete/help out
- Chris Cotter for organising the race bibs
- Alex Heard & friends for helping guide runners across the 5-ways crossing
- Mark Hand, Janifer Dooley, Peter Eales, Eileen Brady, Debbie Williams, Nick Joyce & the Boreland family for all their help at the finish line – handing out showbags and drinks for the volunteers
- Chris Hosking & Michael Steer for helping get the Gatorade & Cool Ridge to the pub
- Ron Williams for his courier service in getting the sponsors prizes, showbag items, donations and other infrastructure needed for the day to the event.
- Ararat Rural City Council for providing the road signs to slow the traffic on the course and the bollards/flags for the finish line area.
- Des Joyce for picking up the signs from the council and returning them
- McKinnis’ for helping pack the showbags
- Heritage Meats in Geelong West for providing everything for a charity BBQ conducted (ran by Phil & Caz) on Pakington St in Geelong West on the 4th of Feb which more than covered the insurance for the event.
- Blanket thank-you to those I’ve no doubt missed!
- Thanks to those who took pics on the day. If you could either email to the gmail account, or mail on a CD to Damien Joyce, Level 5, 111 Cecil St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205
Next year (Saturday 16th of Feb 2013) will be the 10th running of the event. It’s a big milestone, so we want it to be a big celebration. So keep the date free, bring your friends, bring your family, spread the word through Sandy Lane on Facebook and let’s make it the greatest Farm to Pub yet!!