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 Tuesday, April 30, 2002 

Kerryn McCann - Only Australian at World Half Marathon Champs

Australian 10,000m champion and leading contender for Commonwealth Games marathon gold medal, NSWIS's Kerryn McCann will be Australia's only competitor at the 2002 IAAF World Half Marathon Championship in Brussels, Belgium, on May 5.

McCann is a serious chance for a medal having recorded the 9th fastest half marathon ever of 67.48 when setting the Australian record in Tokyo in 2000.

The road to victory won't be easy though, McCann facing stiff competition from a strong Kenyan contingent, and also the Russians, Romanians and Japanese squads.

More information at
Posted at 18:01     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, April 29, 2002 

Samantha Hughes wins Brisbane Half Marathon

Australia's 3rd ranked female marathon runner, the Gold Coast's Samantha Hughes, easily won the Brisbane
Half Marathon title in cool, blustery conditions in Brisbane today.

Hughes, the current Australian Half Marathon Champion, took the lead at the 2-kilometre mark and was a comfortable winner from Claudine Smythe, with Helen Tolhurst-Verity in third place.

Hughes excelled over the windy 21.1-km course taking an early lead and never being headed.

"I won this race in 2000 and to come back today and win was a thrill. My time was fairly slow but I'll take the win. It's my mum's birthday tomorrow and she said all she wanted was for me to win - I guess that means I don't have to buy her a present!," she said.

Hughes packed racing schedule includes the Sydney Half Marathon in May, the Gold Coast Marathon in July, the Noosa Half Marathon in September and the New York Marathon in November.

Media Inquiries to:
Brendon Sinclair, Manager, Mobile: 0404 0307 65

More at
Posted at 12:55     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, April 26, 2002 

Commonwealth Games athletics team announced

A competitive squad of more than 80 male and female Australian track and field athletes have been appointed to the 2002 Australian Commonwealth Games Team. They will be part of the largest Australian Commonwealth Games Team ever which will compete in Manchester at the Games being held 25 July to 4 August.

Athletics Australia (AA) has nominated a group of athletes which show a mixture of experience and youth. The team includes a number of 1994 and 1998 Games gold medallists as well as up-and-coming Australian national junior champions and record holders. Australia won 32 medals in track and field competition in Malaysia in 1998.

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) has agreed with AA to modify the selection criteria to allow for athletes selected in the team to be entered in individual events where places exist. This is only to occur if athletes in the team achieve an outstanding performance as determined by team management prior to the entry cut-off date for the Games.

Note : Marathon teams to be announced 5th May

The full list of athletes selected is on the Athletics Australia website at
Posted at 01:40     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, April 21, 2002 

Obituary For Frank McCaffrey

This was passed to CoolRunning by Athletics Australia - Frank for many years was the driving force behind the now-defunct "Fun Runner" magazine that covered Sydney and NSW during running's Boom Years


The grandfather of running for fun and fitness was buried last month in Sydney. Frank McCaffrey, who died on Tuesday 19 March at the good old age of 82, had succumbed to a stroke. He had been fit and well, racing and running long distances, including marathons, until well into his seventies.

Frank left a legacy of love and friendship as well as service to many, several dozen of whom were at the graveside when his body was buried at Botany Cemetery. The service was arranged by one of his closest and dearest friends, Margaret (Ricardo) Beardslee, who herself has been an outstanding competitive runner. Among the speakers was Greg Welch, Australia's most accomplished triathlete, the only person to have won all four of the world's major triathlons: the World Olympic Distance Championship (1990), the World Duathlon Championship (1993), the Hawaii Ironman (1994) and the World Long Distance Championship (1996). Greg spoke of the many sides of the man who was his mentor, enabling someone of smallish stature, like Greg, to achieve outstanding results and even greatness in what is one of the world's most difficult sporting disciplines.

Fitness became the basis of Frank McCaffrey's life at a relatively young age. He took up running longer distances as a teenager, and it served him well. Both of McCaffrey's parents succumbed to strokes at relatively young ages, his mother at 45 and his father at 61. Whether his habits, not only of running but also walking, cycling and swimming, as well as an essentially good diet, strongly vegetarian but including the occasional meat pie and a few beers, prolonged his life is hard to say, but Frank believed they worked well for him.

Born near Belfast in Northern Ireland in 1919, Frank developed an early love for the outdoors. Coming from a poor family of five children, he became apprenticed as a shipyard driller on the River Mersey near Liverpool, Lancashire. Frank's meagre earnings of just seventeen shillings and sixpence a week were less than adequate to meet his most basic needs of board and lodging, sharing a bed with two others and numerous bedbugs. He soon left and sought to become a Customs and Excise clerk, for which he would have to study and pass exams. A serious bout of flu which caused him to miss the exams led to McCaffrey deciding to join the Royal Navy, mainly because of the advance pay he received whilst awaiting the call-up to serve his country at the start of World War Two. It was whilst doing the mandatory six weeks training course that McCaffrey discovered his special talent for running and beating many of his mates and peers. Every Wednesday everyone at the Pembrey training station in Wales would have to participate in a five-mile run, and Frank usually found himself amongst the leading few at the finish.

On the same day war was declared, Frank's father died and he left home forever. He went first to a naval air station called Ford, near Arundel Castle in beautiful Sussex. It was here that the young Northern Irishman first tasted what war was about when the Luftwaffe paid them a visit. At the end of this first experience of action 34 of his fellow servicemen lay dead, two of his best mates amongst them. His girlfriend went missing, presumably dead. He never saw her again and seldom spoke about her, but her memory must have been strong and long, for Frank never married.

Soon he was engaged in action again, this time serving on an aircraft carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 1941, along with many of his shipmates and other Allied service people, he found himself on the island of Crete awaiting the arrival of the Germans, who would promptly take them all prisoners.

In his autobiography With The Sun On My Back, published privately in 1996 and still a collector's item for fitness and running fanatics, Frank describes what followed. He and the other POWs were forced to do the dirty work, removing debris in 100-degree heat in summer and freezing cold in winter. From Crete they were taken to Salonica. One day, he writes, he reached the front of the line for food only to find a horse's eye floating in the red-coloured liquid. He dumped the full bowl and returned to quarters still starving, hungry and thirsty. Bugs in their sleeping bags, really no more than a bunch of rolled-up rags, drove most of them to sleep outside on the hard, rough concrete, until their drunken German captors came in late at night, barking orders for them to get back inside. Finally the POWs were assembled into their different nationalities to be sent on to other camps. With the command "All Jews on parade," McCaffrey saw what he said was the optimum of courage as each smiled, shook hands with friends, then moved to the left of the podium as ordered.

Berlin was Frank's next destination. Six years earlier, when they were both still teenagers, he and his younger brother had hitchhiked, walked, and taken trains and ferries to watch the Olympic Games. He marvelled at the distance races, particularly the marathon won by the Korean Kitei Son, representing Japan which was, like Germany to many other countries, its conquering nation. Now, in 1942, he was in Berlin and actually in the Olympic Stadium again, this time however as a cleaner, removing rubbish after an international soccer match had been played before big crowds. Finding the stadium curator McCaffrey told, in his faltering German, of how he had been in Berlin in 1936. The kindly old curator took Frank aside and gave him not only an apple and a sandwich but also a Berlin Olympics badge, which Frank cherished and wore proudly until it was stolen at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, where he was a minor official.

Fifty-four years after being in Berlin for the Olympics, in 1990, a still young-in-body Frank McCaffrey went back to Berlin for his second attempt (the first was in 1986) and first actual finish in the popular Berlin Marathon. Little did the other finishers imagine this mild and meek, almost shy old man's history and relationship with Berlin.

There was another remarkable link to the past. In 1943, a POW bus Frank was riding in stopped at traffic lights outside the Deutsche Oper (German Opera House) and he gazed enviously at women wearing superb gowns and plenty of jewellery accompanying German officers smoking and drinking during the intermission. The opera then was Wagner's Die Meistersinger, an enormous production lasting five hours. Forty-seven years later, when training for the 1990 Berlin Marathon, McCaffrey jogged past the new Deutsche Oper, there to see advertised the very same opera, Die Meistersinger. Rushing back to his hotel, he found the few dollars to purchase a ticket and went to the production the following evening.

Opera was Frank's other major passion, along with classical music (which he called "real" music). He had a collection of the best and most famous composers as well as some obscure - if still delightful - ones. As he did with athletics, running and fitness, Frank would introduce his friends, and especially young kids, to his music. He himself had learnt by listening to his mother playing the piano, which he also did quite well. Frank could also sing, something he often did spontaneously.

The years as a prisoner of war might have broken many men, but not Frank McCaffrey. One of his fondest memories of that time was the friendship he formed with a flamboyant Australian POW named Ralph Devlin. Devlin, according to McCaffrey, could swim like the proverbial fish and often used to swim a deep channel and then run some 600 yards on the other side to a haystack where he would make love with a blonde Polish lass. On one occasion Devlin, stripped naked, stood on top of a high pole above the channel and yelled to the other prisoners, "Okay, you Poms, watch this. This is how we do it back in Australia." Then he dived and surfaced to swim past the point allowed, with the German guards yelling for him to stop. Ralph Devlin was shot dead by a German civilian guard after an argument in which he was defending a sick POW whom the German was forcing to work. Two days after this the Russians arrived and liberated the emaciated POWs - except for Devlin, of course.

Two years after the war ended, Frank arrived in Australia aboard the British aircraft carrier "Glory" which was doing a goodwill tour of the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. Shortly after arrival, he heard an announcement on the ship's PA system: "Leading air mechanic McCaffrey report to the gangway for a visitor." The visitor turned out to be his dead Aussie mate Ralph Devlin's older brother, whose parents had heard all about Ralph and Frank's friendship as prisoners of war and wanted to hear from him exactly how their beloved son had died. With tears in his eyes, Frank told them what a wonderful soldier and a credit to Australia their son had been. A firm friendship was formed with the Devlin family which would last throughout the rest of Frank's life.

When the New South Wales Veterans Athletics Club was formed in 1968, Frank met yet another Devlin. Fred Devlin was Ralph's younger brother and himself a keen runner. He had twin boys, both of whom would become competitive runners like their father. Warren and David Devlin would later compete fiercely with another set of twins, David and Wayne Brennan. The Brennans became members of the Western Suburbs Athletics Club, of which Frank was an older and influential member. The Brennans both accepted scholarships to the University of Houston in Texas, partly through Frank's contacts and influence, even if he always refused to take any credit, saying they had done it themselves. David Brennan today is an assistant professor at the School of Medicine at Bailor University in Texas. He is also director of the Houston International Running Centre, helping injured athletes - including the great American Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis. His brother Wayne is a dedicated and devoted worker with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, where he is an archaeologist and also still a solid runner. At the funeral, Wayne sang a moving solo in tribute to the man to whom both brothers looked for motivation and direction in their lives, almost a third parent.

Nowra (NSW) was where Frank chose to start his new life in Australia. He worked there as a newsagent but before long became involved in organising fitness events, mainly running. He founded the Nowra Athletics Club helped by a former Sydney runner named Rod Gibb, to whom, typically, he gave all credit for the club's foundation. Rod spoke stirringly about his mentor and old mate at the funeral. He told of what Frank always insisted about athletics, that the athlete - any athlete - was what it really was all about. Yet his enthusiasm and readiness to approach the big names led to the Nowra AAC becoming one of the leading such clubs anywhere in Australia. Within one year the club, with Frank and Rod Gibb at the helm, held two of the major athletics events in Australia, the state road relay championships and the Nowra Open athletics meeting. Many of the greats of Australian athletics of the past came to this country town to take part, including Olympians like Betty Cuthbert, Dave Power and Alby Thomas, and others like Peter Vassella (400 metres finalist, Tokyo 1964), Warwick Selvey (Commonwealth Games gold medal discus thrower, Perth 1962) and Dave Prince (double Commonwealth Games silver medal hurdler and later to become president of Athletics Australia).

When he left Nowra (some say to avoid being chased into marriage) Frank joined the Western Suburbs AAC, where he became involved with and often helped people like triathlete Greg Welch, Commonwealth Games 5000 metres gold medallist (Auckland, NZ, 1990) Andrew Lloyd, and great road and City to Surf runners like Danny Boltz, Quentin Morley and the Brennan twins, among so many more. Giving, of his time, money and other material things, as well as encouraging and helping others, regardless of ability or achievements, was what Frank McCaffrey was always all about.

When we started Fun Runner magazine in 1979, at the beginning of the jogging and running boom, Frank was our first choice and flattered us by agreeing to become our Roving Editor and the real face, as well as force, behind what would eventually become the bible of running for fun and fitness in Australia. Frank really made this magazine and at the same time fun running, not only in New South Wales but all around Australia. Everywhere he went with his Volkswagen van with the name of his column "On the Run" emblazoned on its side, people flocked to see and hear this wonderfully entertaining man who could outrun many who were decades younger than himself. He became almost a cult figure but never lost any of his humility.

Frank travelled the world running in some of the most famous and popular people's marathons, including, besides Berlin (three times), New York (five times), London, San Francisco and, of course, Fun Runner's own Sydney Marathon. The Sydney City to Surf was another favourite event, as was the San Francisco Bay to Breakers. How he managed to travel so much on such a small income, mainly just his veterans and seniors pensions, was always a mystery, but it seemed that Frank could exist on the proverbial smell of an oily rag.

Another major interest was with the Christina Noble Foundation, which raises funds for helping to look after destitute, sick and especially blind children in Vietnam. Frank met Christina at the home of the late, great ophthalmic surgeon, Professor Fred Hollows, himself another fanatical fun runner and marathon racer. On going to Saigon shortly after their meeting, he visited Christina at her modest home where he saw for himself her kind and caring work with these impoverished Vietnamese children. In his autobiography he tells of hearing a wonderful version of the Ave Maria played by two blind boys aged fifteen, one of whom then played Beethoven's Fur Elise, which Frank swore was one of the best he'd ever heard and left him with tears in his eyes.

Vale, Frank. You fought the good fight, ran the race of life extremely well, and left us all a fine legacy - one which we would do well to try to emulate, each in our own way.

Copyright Mike Agostini 2002
Posted at 14:49     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, April 11, 2002 

International runners to take on Simpson Desert

A team of international runners is taking on one of the world's harshest deserts in a test of endurance for the Year of the Outback. Athletes from 10 different countries are taking part in what is being touted as the toughest marathon race ever to be held in Australia.

Setting off from the Alka Seltzer Bore in South Australia, the Simpson Desert Challenge is following the French Line, 379 kilometres across the desert, crossing more than 1000 sand dunes and finishing at the Birdsville Hotel around April 16.

Organisers will produce a documentary about the challenge, featuring the runners on their journey, testing the boundaries of human endurance and raising awareness that more than 70 per cent of Australia is in fact, desert.

More information at
Posted at 21:45     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, April 10, 2002 

McCormack & Bentley Win Forster Ironman

NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) triathlete Chris McCormack won the Forster Australian Ironman Triathlon race held on Sunday (April 7). The grueling event consisted of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run.

Already selected in the Australian Commonwealth Games team, McCormack was crowned the Australian champion for the Ironman distance, finishing the race in eight hours 24 minutes and 50 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Oliver Bernhard and Queenslander Jason Shortis.

Another NSWIS triathlete, Belinda Granger was third in the women’s event, finishing in nine hours, 37 minutes and 23 seconds. The top two places went to Canadians Lisa Bentley and Heather Fuhr. However, as the first Australian in the race, Granger was also crowned the Australian champion.

Chris McCormack website
Forster Results
Australian Ironman website
Posted at 02:41     [Perma-Link]

Records tumble in annual Fitness Five Fun Run

Former Australian representative Liz Miller notched up a hat-trick of wins in the annual Kembla Joggers Fitness Five race through the streets of Wollongong yesterday. For the third year in a row, Miller romped away with the open women's title - her time of 16m22s set a new course record. Sydney runner Belinda Martin was well back in second place, and Helensburgh 19-year-old Erin Hargrave finished third after completing the 5km course in a time of 18m precisely.

Damon Harris registered a runaway victory in the open men's event, finishing in 14m46s, also a record-breaking time.

Wollongong competitor Russell Chin, who had raced in Melbourne only three days earlier, was next across the line 20 seconds after Harris.

Canadian international Matt Kerr, who has based himself in Wollongong, picked up third place with a time of 15m25s.

Kembla Joggers junior member Chris McDonald was one of the standout performers of the event. The talented 12-year-old, who finished second at this year's National Cross Country Championships, completed the course in 18m11s. McDonald not only won the under 15s division, but he also beat home about 95 per cent of the entire field.

More than 500 competitors ran and walked the circuit, making the most of the favourable weather conditions. The event raised more than $3000 for the Wollongong Hospital Oncology Ward.

This article originally appeared in the Illawarra Mercury Newspaper
Race Results can be found on the Race Website
Posted at 02:02     [Perma-Link]

Canberra Ace Wins SkyTower Vertical Challenge

Canberra's Paul Crake has finished only one second behind world mountain running champion Jonathon Wyatt in the Auckland SkyTower Vertical Challenge stair race last Saturday. Crake ran a personal best by 25 seconds and caught the front-running Wyatt with a few flights of stairs to go but was unable to pass him.

More info on Sky Tower Chapllenge at, More photos of the run at

Afterwards Crake did a controlled free fall jump from the top, 192 metres below to the ground. His next challenge is to defend his Australian mountain running title on Mt Buffalo in Victoria on Sunday 21 April. His strongest opposition is expected to come from his North Canberra Gungahlin Athletics Club team mate, David Osmond, who won the ACT mountain running championship in February.

Late entries for the championships are still being accepted. See entry details on
Posted at 01:35     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, April 07, 2002 

Top Joggers line-up for Fitness Five

An estimated 700 runners and walkers of varying abilities will line-up for the Fitness Five Fun Run on Sunday 7th April.For most, this in itself will be test enough but for 25 Kembla Joggers members it will be a prelude to the Canberra Marathon. The run will incorporate the Kembla Joggers' marathon championships.

"The Kembla Joggers caters for all manner of runner,'' KJ publicity officer Raf Moriana said yesterday. The Fitness Five will attract the likes of Canadian steeple chase champion Matt Kerr as well as Illawarra speedsters Russell Chin and Ben Dubois, who will do battle with David Byrne and Liz Miller. It will also offer Kerr, Chin and Dubois an opportunity to gauge each other's form leading into the winter season.

Reigning champion Neil Barnett has no intention of giving up the trophy he won last year in his debut marathon. On that day Barnett's discipline shone through as the rest of the field faltered around him. Barnett's time of 2.52.10 was an excellent effort for his maiden marathon. Andrew Godsman and Chris Richards again present his main threat. Last time Godsman and Richards hit what is commonly known as "the wall'' late in the race allowing Barnett's discipline to win through. But as is often the case disappointment can drive one to greater things.

Since that race Godsman has run 2.48.58 in finishing 27th at the Melbourne Marathon and backed up the next week to win the Fitzroy Falls Marathon.

Richards also has the runs on the board with a superb 11th place in last year's Sydney Marathon, just being piped by Olympian Steve Monaghetti.

The Fitness Five run begins from Crown St, adjacent to the Performing Arts Centre, which is where to register. Registration is from 7am with the race starting 8.30am. Runners head east along Crown St, left at the WIN Entertainment Centre to North Wollongong Surf Club via Cliff Rd and back to Crown St.

This article originally appeared in the Illawarra Mercury Newspaper
Posted at 08:25     [Perma-Link]

Athletics International Trust Grants - 2002

The Athletics International Trust are pleased to announce that Grants will be available again this year, and invite athletes and other eligible parties to apply. Athletes who are engaged in Track and Field events which are official events at the Olympic Games organised by the IOC, and others engaged in the coaching promotion or sponsorship of such athletes are eligible. Applications close on 30 April 2002. More information and application forms are available for download from :
Posted at 08:15     [Perma-Link]

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