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 Friday, January 31, 2003 

Moneghetti slams selection process

by Len Johnson

Distance great Steve Moneghetti has savagely criticised the selection process for this year's world cross-country championships, saying it ignored the traditions of the event and did nothing for distance running development.
Moneghetti, Australia's greatest-ever performer in 28 years' participation in the world event, said the selection created a perception of bias.

Several athletes who would not have been automatic selections had been picked after being exempted from the trial to attend a national training camp in South Africa organised by the national distance coach, Said Aouita, he said. Not all competitors in the trial were aware exemptions had been granted.

Complete article on The Age website
Posted at 09:22     [Perma-Link]

Moneghetti slams selection process

by Len Johnson

Distance great Steve Moneghetti has savagely criticised the selection process for this year's world cross-country championships, saying it ignored the traditions of the event and did nothing for distance running development.
Moneghetti, Australia's greatest-ever performer in 28 years' participation in the world event, said the selection created a perception of bias.

Several athletes who would not have been automatic selections had been picked after being exempted from the trial to attend a national training camp in South Africa organised by the national distance coach, Said Aouita, he said. Not all competitors in the trial were aware exemptions had been granted.

Three of the exempted athletes - men's national cross-country champion Mark Thompson, and Commonwealth Games distance representatives Michael and Susie Power - were selected by Athletics Australia earlier this week. All have been named subject to performance tests. Craig Mottram, who missed the trial due to injury, was also named in the team, subject to fitness.

Senior men's and women's teams have been named only for the four-kilometre shortcourse races at the championships, to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 29-30.

The men's team will not go unless two of Mottram, Thompson and Michael Power meet their fitness/performance conditions.

If the men's team ultimately does not go, the only one of the six events at the titles in which Australia will field a team is the senior women's short race.

No teams or individuals have been selected to run the traditional long races that comprised the entire program from the time the International Association of Athletics Federations inaugurated the world championships in 1973 until 1998, when the shortcourse events were added.

The selection is in apparent line with a renewed emphasis on middle-distance running marked by last year's controversial appointment of Aouita as national coach.

Moneghetti said it appeared a decision had been taken before the trial (held in Melbourne on January 23) that no teams would go in the longer event.

He said the men's trial result - Commonwealth Games 10,000 metres representatives Brett Cartwright and Dean Cavuoto were first and second with marathoner Rod De Highden third - indicated a team for the long race would have been viable.

"The world cross-country is an integral part of Australian distance running,'' Moneghetti said. "To develop our distance runners, we need to send teams, particularly in the 12 kilometres (and eight kilometres for senior women).''

Athletics Australia chief of selectors David Culbert said that selection of teams was dictated by the availability of the best athletes. The two best men - Mottram and Power - and the best woman, Benita Johnson, wanted to run the short race.

Asked whether the men's trial result and the fact Mottram was in doubt had been taken into account, Culbert said it was still felt a shortcourse team would perform better.

Moneghetti said the fact that the athletes granted exemption for the camp were all from the Aouita group created at least a perception of special treatment. He said that athletes training elsewhere, such as at Falls Creek, would not expect exemption.

Culbert said the selection panel was prepared to allow national coaches to run their programs.

Article from Posted at 09:20     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, January 30, 2003 

Larry's on the run to make wish come true


LONG distance runner Larry Burtt has been pounding the roads around Alice Springs to train for a 2000km ultra marathon to help wishes come true for sick children.

Larry will run from Ayers Rock to Darwin to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Since 1985, the self-funded charity has granted about 3000 wishes to young Australians with life threatening illnesses.

South Australian Larry said: ``Make-a-Wish does not have a branch in the Territory yet but there are plans to open one. We just want to raise awareness in the area, as well as raise money for the foundation.''

Larry is already a familiar face in town after working tirelessly over the past few weeks, visiting pubs and hotels, to raise funds.

He is impressed by the town's generosity: ``People in Alice Springs have been great. In the big cities, it can be hard raising money, but not here.''

He has secured several key sponsors for the televised run but Larry said: ``We are still looking for more. Their names will go all over the crew vehicle.''

Felt good

The 2000km journey will be the longest the fitness trainer has ever run.

He raised money for Make-a-Wish by running from Adelaide to Melbourne with a world ultra marathon record holder.

Larry said: ``When I reached Melbourne, I felt so good, I could have carried all the way to Sydney.''

It was then he decided to run from Ayers Rock to Darwin.

Though running alone for the majority of the journey, Larry wants locals to join him on certain legs.

He leaves Ayers Rock Resort on April 26 and expects to arrive in Alice Springs on May 3 for the Bangtail Muster on May 5.

He will leave Alice Springs the next day and is due to arrive in Darwin on June 1.

Article from the Centralian Advocate
Posted at 09:12     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, January 29, 2003 

Big day out on fun run

About 1000 Territorians dragged themselves out of bed before breakfast yesterday just to go for a run.

They were participating in the annual Australia Day Fun Run/Walk which kicked off from Darwin High School at 7am.

While renowned Territory runner Stephen Blake headed the more serious striders, the stragglers came in all shapes and sizes -- on bikes, rollerblades, in prams and with dogs.

Some chose to take on the 2km run, while others chose to tackle the more gruelling 5km circuit.

And, being a fun run, Australia Day Council executive director Katrina Fong Lim said there was no winner or prizes.

Except, that is, for Palmerston's Miles Hindle.

Mr Hindle won a $1000 Argyle diamond draw in which all participants were automatically entered.

Article from the Northern Territory News
Posted at 09:23     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, January 28, 2003 

TV Coverage For Telstra A Series Athletics

Athletics Australia has contracted SBS and Eurocam as the Host Broadcaster for the Telstra A-Series and Telstra A-Championships. Television cameras from Australian Networks are encouraged to attend All Telstra A-series meets to record competition and interviews. There will be designated camera positions for each meet to record both competition and interviews.

Eurocam will produce packages to be aired by SBS Television and Fox Sports (Televised meets and air dates TBA). Following each meet, Eurocam will also make available vision of the meet, for news purposes. Athletics Australia and Eurocam will advise when and where vision will be available following each meet.
Posted at 23:49     [Perma-Link]

Strong Australian Team To Contest World Cross Country Championships

Following the results of the Australian selection trials for the World Cross Country Championships in Bundoora last week, Athletics Australia announces the following selections for the World Cross Country Championships, to be held in Lausanne Switzerland (March 29-30).

Chairman of selectors, Dave Culbert, confirms the quality of the team selected:

"We are confident both short course teams are the best chance for Australia to achieve a top 8 performance. With Benita Johnson, Craig Mottram and Susie Power all requesting to focus on the short course events, and with no other athletes qualified for the long course, we are certain the short course teams will be competitive" Culbert Said.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:59     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, January 26, 2003 

Heartfelt help for Deek

The Sun Heral newspaper [Sunday 26th Jan 2003, p103] reports that Japanese Olympic officials are considering replacing Robert De Castella's gold medal from the 1981 Fukuoka Marathon, lost will all his possessions in the Canberra fires. Boston Marathon organisers are considering doing the same.
Posted at 23:27     [Perma-Link]

Clinics aimed at running beginners

by Craig Baxter

EVER resolved to get fit and not quite taken the plunge?

The Townsville Road Runners hope to change that with a new series of running clinics for beginners next month.

Road Runners president Brian Armit said the aim of the three-week series of clinics was to introduce people of all ages and abilities to running in a friendly, non-demanding environment.

``There's that many people out there who I think want to make the step into running -- walkers and people who jog around the park with their mates -- but who probably feel they'll be a bit out of place because they'll be too slow or don't have the right gear,'' Armit said.

``This is basically to offer these people a bit of encouragement and get them started in running.''

Armit said accredited coaches would accompany newcomers on a course of some 3-4km on and near The Strand.

``Some people might run for a minute then walk for a minute, while others might run for five minutes and then have a bit of a spell,'' Armit said.

Armit said the early morning clinics would include instruction on matters such as stretching and running hills.

It was hoped some ``graduates'' of the beginners clinics would go on to take part in the Road Runners' fun run series, which begins in March.

The first clinic will be held on Saturday, February 8 at 6am. It will be followed by sessions on February 15 and 22.

For more information, phone Brian Armit on 0408 060908.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin

Posted at 17:09     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, January 24, 2003 

Victorian Country Athletics Championships Postponed

Based on advice from the local authorities in Albury/Wodonga, the Victorian Country Athletics Championships scheduled to be held in Albury this weekend have been postponed until a date to be determined.

Athletics Victoria sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to athletes, officials and spectators but the health and safety of all concerned is of paramount importance.


Posted at 09:10     [Perma-Link]

McCann to head fun run field


COMMONWEALTH Games marathon gold medallist Kerryn McCann will headline the diverse field that will start the Seaside Fun Run at Mollymook on February 9.
The Coledale mum will be joined by competitors from India's Triathlon Academy and a strong contingent of Illawarra and South Coast runners of all abilities in the 10km event that is part of the annual Ulladulla Summer Games.

McCann will be chasing the race record held by 1998 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Heather Turland, whose time of 34m 52sec will present the elite runners in the field with a tough test.

The February 9 fun run is part of the week of activities that have been planned during the Summer Games.

The Aristocrat Women's Golf Classic will be played at Mollymook on the same weekend.

Defending champion Gina Scott will be tested by fellow New Zealander's Renee Fowler and Brenda Ormsby during the 36-hole event.

Scott fired rounds of 71 and 75 to claim last year's event on the daunting Hilltop layout.

The tournament will serve as a valuable lead-up to the Ladies Masters and Australian Women's Open.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury
Posted at 08:59     [Perma-Link]

Joggers On Patrol

Police keep in trim while fighting crime

Manly Police have discovered a way to keep fit while helping to reduce crime on the beach. Police officers are being encouraged to go jogging while on duty wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "Manly Police".

Senior officers say the police presence on the sand has helped reduce beach crime by a third. "It's also about being flexible in the workplace" local commander Superintendent Steve Cullen said. "If there's not much happening and we have sufficient resources, then they can throw on a shirt and a hat and go for a run."

The Manly command has become a haven for health as officers keep fit and deter local crooks. The scheme's success has already sparked interest from beach police commands that face similar crime problems.

The voluntary patrols are split jointly between work and lunch time each day. "We always make sure they have a notepad and a mobile phone and the cars are informed where they are, so that if they need help it's there quickly," Supt Cullen said.

The patrols have been enthusiastically embraced by the officers, who are also finding themselves becoming one of the area's tourist attractions. "A lot of people are saying its fantastic to see us out" Leading Senior Constable Maryanne Hargreaves said "We're a real deterrent for thieves. It's also someting that's different for us. It makes you enjoy your day much more."

Manly crime manager Inspector Luke Freudenstein implemented a health and fitness regime 12 months ago, encouraging officers to take part in boxing classes each morning. He and Supt Cullen saw the jogging patrols as a natural progression. "We thought it was something that was different" Supt Cullen said "If it increases morale, and the community like it and it works - and without a doubt, it works -then its actually good. A lot of people come up to us and say its wonderful to see us out and about. We're more approachable. The people can see the police around, and we know the crooks are also sitting back watching them out there."

The patrol has proved so successful - as many as 9 officers are jogging at different times each day - that it will be continued during winter.

This article first appeared in the Sunday Telegraph on 19-Jan-2003, by Rhett Watson
Posted at 08:06     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, January 23, 2003 

Canberra Marathon Runners To Support Fire Appeal

See Media Release Here
Posted at 13:20     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, January 22, 2003 

Survey on athletes using gels, bars & powders

D&M Research are looking for athletes that "train hard and use gels, bars or powders" to complete a survey. All people that qualify to complete the survey will go into a draw to win a year's supply of energy bars (defined as 384 energy bars in total worth $1300).

Check out:

(Note: the survey is nothing to do with CoolRunning).
Posted at 23:15     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, January 21, 2003 

Other Canberra Runners Lose All In Fires

Ken Eynon, Executive Director of ACT Athletics, has advised that Canberra running identity Brian Lenton and wife Linda also lost everything. Brian and Linda had only just returned to Canberra from being evacuated from Thredbo on Friday where they had been organising National Running Week for the 23rd year in succession. NRW has been attended by thousands of runners and their families over the years and at last Wednesday's NRW dinner Brian and Linda earned a standing ovation as Legends of Running Week being inducted by Brian turned the tables in praising Brian and Linda for the huge contribution they
had made year after year. Brian and Linda were also awarded the inaugural life membership of the Australian Mountain Running Association for organising mountain running events in Thredbo over the last 30 years. Brian is also a life member and former President of the ACT Cross Country Club. Brian is the author of many books on running and lived in the house closest to Deek's Drive in Stromlo Forest.

During the 1980s Brian's house on Dixon Drive, Holder became a running mecca every Sunday morning as up to 80 runners from the Clohessy and Telford camps and from the local Canberra running community joined in the long 22 mile (or shorter versions) training developed as the Sunday staple by Rob DeCastella when he arrived in Canberra in 1981. Brian's house was a shrine of running memorabilia. Even a visit to the loo was a memorable experience as the walls were decorated by posters signed by
such luminaries as Rod Dixon, Deek, and Alberto Salazar. Other rooms contained many hundreds of books and running magazines and other priceless running memorabilia, including a much prized Dutch clog presented to Brian from Deek after Brian went for a midnight 2hr 8min run after watching Deek win the Rotterdam marathon in a sprint from Carlos Lopes.

The losses by Deek, Brian and Linda are really heart wrenching.

In the orienteering community, Liz Abbott, a former Australian champion and world veteran silver medallist only a few months ago, and her husband Bruce Bowen, lived just up the road from Brian facing the Stromlo Forest plantation and also lost everything. Wayne Gregson, another well known Canberra orienteer living in Duffy, lost everything as well.
Posted at 08:43     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, January 20, 2003 

We will rebuild, says Deek

Champion marathon runner Robert De Castella has vowed to rebuild after losing his home and sporting trophies in the Canberra firestorm.

"Even though it's a horrific tragedy, I refuse to let something like this get us down," he told Channel 9 today. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done. We've started compiling pages and pages of things that we need to do to rebuild our lives."

Mr De Castella made a desperate dash from a coastal holiday on Saturday night to find his Canberra home razed to the ground.

Only the charred remains of medals and melted-down cups and trophies remained from his illustrious marathon career.

"Unfortunately, I had a beautiful sort of display room in my office with cabinets and sort of glass things stacked with trophies and photos and certificates and all that sort of stuff and obviously that's all gone," he said.

"Really it's pretty much a pile of junk at the moment. I guess that's the hard thing, to know that what was hopefully going to be something that I could leave my kids and grandkids and show them what their old man used to do, is pretty much gone. Now it's a matter of, I guess, sitting around and telling a few stories."

Mr De Castella said all the family had left was what they took on their beach holiday.

"We are in a much better situation than a lot of people. I can't imagine the tragedy for families who lost loved ones or who haven't had their houses insured. It's absolutely devastating. Something like this is just a tragedy beyond words."

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 17:48     [Perma-Link]

What makes Peter run


PETER Peronis sat in the gutter at the 35km point of a Sydney marathon.
His head was down, his running mate was encouraging him to get up, the blind man's stick he uses to run with his mate was in the gutter at his feet.

A television journalist saw him and hurried across for a comment, microphone extended.

'I'm at the 35km mark and I'm about to speak to one tired runner,' the journalist said to the camera.

He swung the microphone around to the blind man and uttered the words:

'How do you feel?'

'I'm #%! %*$, what do you reckon? I'm absolutely &%#$.'

The piece didn't go to air.

Peter Peronis, of Terrigal, finished the final 7km of the marathon with running mate and Central Coast NSW Fire Brigade superintendent Keith King.

It wasn't his first marathon and it wasn't his best, but he finished what he started.

He runs despite regular blood-letting from falls.

'You just do it. You just find ways to do things,'

he says.

'Unfortunately what you're trying to do is be like everyone else, but I don't think that's a healthy way to be.'

Peter's blindness is the result of the sort of odds dramatists use to drive the great tragedies.

He lost his left eye when he was 16 and working at a small shipbuilding company.

Nine years later he lost his right eye in a second accident at another small shipbuilding company.

'In the first one I was with two fellows who would drink at lunchtime,' Peronis said.

'One of them thought it would be fun to throw bits of wood at me.'

Peronis was just a kid, and fearful. He ducked behind a bench and avoided some of the throws. But not one.

'He was very remorseful, this idiot.

'It was a burning, hurting feeling.

'They sat me down because I was carrying on a bit. My mother came and took me to the eye hospital.'

The next day he was told the loss of sight was permanent.

'I was very conscious of it. At that age (16) losing your eye ... you're young and you want to look all right.'

He spent a week in hospital and returned to his job.

'I thought I was weak by not going back. I hated that fellow every day,' he says.

'He felt bad, I know, but I hated it.'

It was 1968, in the years before multi-million dollar compensation payouts.

He received about $5000 compensation.

He stayed for a while, worked with several other shipbuilders, and moved to Sydney to a yacht-building company when he was 20.

He married and lived a relatively straightforward life until the age of 25 when he lost his sight completely in a second industrial incident.

'I remember being on the stretcher as they carried me out to the ambulance and it was raining on me,' he says.

'I remember being at the hospital, waiting for an x-ray, knowing I was blind, and the nurse was cruel. I remember that quite distinctly.'

Peronis had been operating a spindle moulder, a piece of machinery like a bench saw.

'I was wearing a visor and I was chocking a piece of timber against the blade.

'It's funny how things work out. I'd done the same procedure before but the blade was changed. It made all the difference.'

A small piece of timber flew from the blade with such force that it broke his cheekbone and destroyed his right eye.

'If it had been a bit higher it would have killed me.

'From the second I did it, I knew I was blind. I knew I'd done it.'

He spent a short time in hospital and several months living with an aunt.

He moved to Manly with his wife while she finished her physiotherapy degree and started work.

'For four years I sat in a flat and did nothing. I didn't do anything to help myself. It was the start of the downfall of my marriage. I was probably pretty bad.'

He remembers a childhood where he felt his life was 'really up to me'.

'I don't remember my mother ever saying brush your teeth. I grew up thinking whatever happens to me is down to me.'

A strong memory is being out on a small dinghy by himself at the age of 10 and thinking: 'This is fantastic. I'm free. I'm away from everyone.'

The child who liked being on his own turned in on himself in that Manly unit.

'I think you die a bit. I think you die to emotional things,' Peronis says. 'Emotion means pain, I suppose.

'You start feeling sorry for yourself and that doesn't help anyone. You get hardened to survive.

'There's no room for emotion in the situation I live in. It's a case of you either survive without emotion or you don't - and I don't want to be like that you know.'

He moved to Saratoga in 1982 and with a compensation payout bought several commercial properties. His three children, aged 19, 16 and 13, were born.

Peronis started running at Saratoga, by holding a stick attached to a pushbike ridden by his wife.

They would run around the block, a distance of about 3km, and 'I thought I was pretty good'.

The jump from 3km to marathons was the result of a chance phone call for car repairs.

'I rang a few places and then I got on to one fellow, and I just liked the way he spoke. I liked his manner.

'It was a long way out of my way but I had time on my hands.'

At Central Coast Auto Electrics at West Gosford he met Terrigal Trotters founder Kevin Andrews.

'I was wearing shorts and running shoes because I thought of myself as a runner,' Peronis says.

'He said to me do you wear those for show or do you run?' I said I run. He said do you want to do a fun run, and we went from there.

'That was the start of my running career.'

They ran the Gosford to Terrigal City to Surf in 1983 in 47min 12sec.

'A good time,' Peronis says.

They ran their first marathon together at Canberra in 1984.

'That was an achievement to do that. Your first marathon. It's a big thing.'

Peronis has broken an arm while running. Blood loss from falls is regular.

He has slammed into letterboxes because of novice running partners and fallen into creeks.

Why does he keep doing it?

'I don't understand it. I don't think there's an answer to why you run.

'The choices are to sit down and die or fight to the end, and running's fighting to the end.'

Do you enjoy the social side of running?

'I'm not a sociable person, but I think it's really important that you have some friends.

'Runners are honest and they're a nice bunch of people.

'I like listening to what people say, the lighthearted stuff that goes on.

'It makes you laugh. I think that's what makes it good.'

A few years ago he travelled to Vietnam with two running mates.

'Part way through we had a blue and we went our own ways.'

So there he was, in Vietnam, alone, in a motel.

'I was confident where I was that I'd manage all right,' he says.

'The people were lovely. Had I been more confident in myself I probably would have stayed for longer. I might still be there.'

He went to Vietnam for no other reason that it was 'something to do'.

'If there's no reason not to do something, then you should just do it I think.That's a good way to be I suppose.'

Which brings us to the donkey.

'I went to buy a washing machine and a fridge second hand in the mid 1980s.

'We drove to Peats Ridge in a Kombi to get the washing machine and the fridge and they had some donkeys as well.

'There was one called Nicolette. This little baby, she was only eight months old, and she came over to me. She was interested in me.

'We never had any pets. We had a cat I think.

'I had this dreamy idea of riding my donkey and a cart around Saratoga.'

There's no room for emotion in the situation I live in. It's a case of you either survive without emotion or you don't - and I don't want to be like that you know.

He cannot remember if the Kombi returned with the donkey, the washing machine and the fridge, or if there were two trips.

But he remembers the donkey came home first.

'The donkey went in the van with her head sticking between the front seats.'

Nicolette lived in the backyard for nearly seven years.

'I learnt a lot about myself from Nicolette.

'She was very tolerant. I used to sit there with her on the ground.

'They don't want much, animals. You'd give her a carrot and an apple and she was happy. I used to ride her and take her for walks in the street like a dog. How dumb must I have looked?'

He was forced to sell her when Nicolette outgrew the yard and had to be moved to another property.

'The whole point of having her was to have her daily.

'In the end I was only visiting her once a week. I had to sell her. I didn't want to.'

He has never had another pet.

'I can't stand animals.'

Peronis will never have a guide dog.

'I'm not going to have a dog lead me around. I'll never do that.

'In my warped way of thinking it means I'll need an animal to help me live my life.

'What it gets down to is I don't want to be seen as blind. If you walk with a guide dog basically it sticks out if you do.'

But what if the flip side is you keep walking into poles?

'It's the price I'll pay.'

He has a partner, Deborah, and counts himself a very lucky man because of it.

'I don't see. Right. That's it. The only downside.

'I try and do everything that's not related to being blind because I don't want to be blind. It's annoying.'

He is frustrated by small situations that remind him of a time when he wasn't blind.

He has built a timber dinghy and a coffee table and has started a second coffee table.

'I get frustrated when I'm working at the bench and I put something down and I can't find it only 10 or 15 seconds later. That really frustrates me.

'Being blind has numbed things in me.

'You don't get anywhere near the same enjoyment of things.

'I can't look at beautiful views and yachts and things I used to enjoy.

'I used to walk down to the wharf everyday and see the same boat and I'd think, that's a beautiful boat.'

Music helps.

'I started to listen to classical music before I was blind.

'It gives you that emotional feeling I said I'd lost. Music brings that back to you.'

After a recent run he sat on a wall at Terrigal and shook his head.

'You know what? I've been blind for longer than I could see. Imagine that.'

Article from the Newcastle Herald
Posted at 13:12     [Perma-Link]

De Castella loses memorabilia of his top-class athletics career


Former world marathon champion Robert de Castella was conducting a search last night for his dog Miko, whom he hopes has escaped the fire which destroyed his Chapman home along with the medals, trophies and memorabilia from an outstanding athletics career.

'I have spoken to neighbours who think they saw Miko running down a street, so we are keeping our hopes up,' he said.

Mr de Castella was at the South Coast with his fiance, and children from his first marriage, when he heard his house, in Lincoln Close, was threatened by fire. 'By the time we got back last night the place was incinerated, just a smoking ruin,' he said.

'All of my memorabilia from the 10 or 15 years of running, all of my medals . . . we scoured through some of the ashes this morning and found a few charred remnants of medals and things but certainly all of the certificates and photos and press clippings have well and truly gone.

'It's a bit of a tragedy but . . . thank God we're all safe.'

Also destroyed was a Porsche 944 car which he bought with his first major pay-day in sport after winning the 1986 Boston Marathon, and an Aprilia RSV Mille motorbike, on which he loved to tour eastern Australia with a group of friends.

Destroyed are records for his business, SmartStart, which analyses and issues reports on children's fitness at primary and secondary levels. Mr de Castella has long been concerned at deteriorating fitness levels in children and he hopes his program will expand nation-wide, and eventually overseas. 'Luckily I have some software back-up stored elsewhere, so I won't be quite beginning from scratch,' he said.

However, by far the biggest losses are the records of his past achievements as the greatest distance runner this country has produced, and one of the finest of all time.

Yesterday he was quick to stress his misery had been repeated hundreds of times across Canberra. 'I'm just one of many who have suffered with these fires,' he said. 'People have been absolutely wonderful and we have already had two offers of accommodation.'

Last night the secretary of the Olympians Club of the ACT, Robin Poke, said the club would coordinate a drive to replace some of Mr de Castella's memorabilia with items held by other people. 'I have newspaper cuttings, videos and films and he is welcome to them,' Mr Poke said.

'Deek is a former Australian of the Year and an outstanding ambassador for Canberra. We can't give him back the physical things he has lost, but we may be able to rebuild some of the memories.'

Article from the Canberra Times

Posted at 13:10     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, January 19, 2003 

De Castella loses all in Canberra fires

All Robert De Castella has to show from his decade-long marathon career is the charred remnants of a few medals. De Castella lost his home, office and all his possessions when a ferocious firestorm ripped through Chapman and other suburbs in the national capital yesterday.

While his family was safe, the dual Commonwealth Games medallist's dog was missing. The family spent today carrying out a desperate search of Canberra, hoping their pet hadn't been killed in the blazes.

The De Castellas were on the NSW south coast when they were told fires had reached suburban Canberra.

More on Canberra Bushfires here
Posted at 22:24     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, January 16, 2003 

Record Numbers Tackle Runner's World Portsea Twilight

The heat of the day did little to deter around 2000 participants and 500 spectators from attending the Runner's World Portsea Twilight on Saturday 11th January. The event, held on the second Saturday in January, has been staged for four years with significant growth in participant numbers and status during this time.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 09:25     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, January 15, 2003 

No match for Ken

LIFE will never pass by Ken Matchett.

And that is because the determined 81-year-old just keeps running right along with it.

The Montrose marvel is one of only 20 Australians in a population of about 20 million people to have run more than 100 competition marathons.

A widower and great-grandfather, Mr Matchett trains daily, jogging between 10-15km in single stretches. But it is in the Tattersalls Australia Day fun run/walk that he has gained popular fame.

Mr Matchett has grabbed first place in the

over-75s class twice in the past two years.

And he is confident he will make it a hat-trick this year when he tackles the 6km course around the Royal Botanic Gardens on January 23.

Mr Matchett will don his custom-made singlet. It reads: ``There's Life After 80.''

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 09:13     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, January 14, 2003 

Athletes Flee Fires

Some of Australia's finest distance runners have had to prematurely curtail the annual altitude camp at Falls Creek due to the onset of bush fires in the Alpine region.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 17:26     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, January 13, 2003 

Veteran's marathon victory Upcher defies the heat


DESCRIBED by race organiser Haydyn Nielsen as an evergreen, Cadbury Marathon winner Janet Upcher said she felt more deciduous than evergreen midway through yesterday's race.

But the tough 56-year-old made it consecutive wins as men's winner Colin Oliver took his fourth win in the race at Claremont yesterday.

After winning the 2002 race Upcher had declared she had run her last marathon, but came back for another try and another triumph.

``I decided to come back this year because it's such a wonderful event and so well organised,'' Upcher said.

``Haydyn described me as an evergreen on Saturday but after about 20km in the warm sun I was definitely looking and feeling like a deciduous.''

Upcher ran a few minutes slower than last year but finished in a very respectable time of 3h21m26s for the 42.2km ordeal.

She said she realised second-placed fellow Hobart runner Jacqui Guy was finishing strongly and it spurred her on to the finish.

Guy ran 3m25.13s and Lisa Wilson, from Canberra, was third in 3h28m1s.

The women's half-marathon was closely contested with Burnie's Karen Reeves winning in 1h32m17s from local Debbie Pauna-Reece (1.32.46) and Devonport visitor Margie Taylor (1.33.04).

Oliver was well outside his race record of 2h23m but recent ultra-marathon training may have deadened his speed a little.

The 33-year-old thanked his coach of 16 years, Albert Johnson, for sticking by him.

``We've been together for a long time, since I was a young teenager,'' said Oliver, who recently broke the Bruny Island 64km race record.

Oliver recorded 2h33m44s; second was John Jago, who has run dozens of marathons and half-marathons over the years.

Jago ran his usual solid race for a time of 2h43m and Victorian Mal Grimmett was a further three minutes astern.

Melbourne runner Pete Knight won the men's half-marathon in 1h11m25s.

Knight finished well clear of local Gerry Oldfield, last year's marathon winner, who recorded 1h13m19s.

Third was former top Tasmanian distance runner Chris French, now living in Mackay (Qld), in 1h15m18s.

Joint race directors Nielsen and Nigel Hyland said they were pleased with total entries of about 200 in the marathon, half-marathon and walks section, sponsored by Cadbury for the past 20 years.

Article from The Mercury
Posted at 09:00     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, January 10, 2003 

Boundary runner bids for big one


PAUL Bidgood runs a half-marathon every Saturday during the football season. So, Sunday's Cadbury Marathon should not be too much of a chore.

The 30-year-old Bidgood reckons after about 15 years as a distance runner it's time for the ultimate test.

``I've always had plans to run a marathon one day but injuries and other problems always intervened,'' the Hobart City Council cadet building surveyor said.

``I won't push myself too hard in the frst half and I should get through it -- I've done plenty of training.''

At least Bidgood won't have to suffer insults from footy supporters with the race run around the near deserted streets in the post-dawn period, starting at 6am.

Bidgood started running in his mid-teens and was a promising steeplechaser before stress fractures halted his track career.

``I decided last year to have a crack at the marathon before I get any older or get any more injuries,'' he aid.

Bidgood was the coach of the southern boundary umpires last year but has decided to return to umpiring this season.

It has been estimated a football boundary umpire at senior level covers about 20km during a match.

As for Sunday's challenge, he is shooting for a time of under 2h48m, which will put him well up in the field.

The annual marathon and half-marathon have been supplemented by a section for social joggers and walkers wanting to try their luck. They will start at 5am, the marathoners at 6am and the half marathon field at 7am.

The races start and finish is at the Cadbury factory gates at Claremont.

Article from The Mercury

Posted at 09:33     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, January 09, 2003 

Mackevicius Takes Out Ryders Eyewear Mile Series

Massive crowds greeted some of Australia's top runners for the three race Ryders Eyewear Mile Series in Perth last weekend. The series aims to promote and develop middle distance running in Western Australia and the tight multi lap courses in busy cafe' precincts, proved a perfect setting for some fantastic middle distance running.

In a dramatic finish to the Kicks Fitness Club Herb Elliot Mile, 2001 National and South East Asian 1500m Champion Clint Mackevicius (VIC), out sprinted Alistair Stevenson (QLD) to take out the series title. Herb Elliot was on hand to start the event and hand out series prizes to the winners.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 08:58     [Perma-Link]

Celebrate with dash


WORLD triathlon champion Emma Carney will get Australia Day festivities off to a fast start.

The Australia Day ambassador will launch the Australia Day Fun Run/Walk on Thursday, January 23.

Everyone from babies to the elderly take to the picturesque tan track around the Royal Botanic Gardens in a friendly, family affair, ending with a giant barbecue.

As patron, Carney said she enjoyed the course at a jog so she could take in the sights and atmosphere.

``Because it is a twilight event, you can come and join in after work and it is a good time for families,'' she said.

Race director John Craven has promised entrants a T-shirt on completion and medallions and trophies will be awarded in classes.

Enrol to walk or run by contact ing organisers on 5224 2466.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 08:56     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, January 08, 2003 

Fun run: Vin breathes easier after race win

PRE-RACE favourite Vin McCarthy yesterday produced one of his slowest runs in the Surf `T' Surf Fun Run-Walk - but still had time up his sleeve.

The 33-year-old Coburg athlete clocked 34 minutes, four seconds to win by more than a minute from Warrnambool entrant Clinton Hall.

It was his second victory in the 10km run, backing up a 1999 triumph.

Jenny Dowie, on the comeback trail from an achilles injury, also clocked one of her slowest race times of 40.50 to claim a seventh women's title.

Suffering from asthma in the race build-up, McCarthy said chest tightness restricted his freedom of movement in the first half of the race.

"Maybe my lungs were feeling the pressure without Melbourne pollution," he laughed. "The air is too clean.

"It was pretty tough. I was never really running comfortably." McCarthy had set himself a pre-race goal to better 32 minutes but wasn't disappointed with his performance.

"Nevertheless it was good to be able to get through it and have another win, even though the time was a bit slow by other winning standards," he said.

"At the end of the day it was just good to take part. I enjoy the atmosphere - the community feel of it."

McCarthy and Hall singled out from the start, running side by side up Pertobe Road. McCarthy surged at the war memorial, opening the beginnings of a buffer which extended to 78 seconds at the race finish.

Hall held on for second in 35.22, his best finish after running fourth last year. Jason Leishman, of Warrnambool, was third in 35.40.

Despite a top-three finish, Hall said football remained his number one sporting priority.

"It's hard with footy," he said. "You can't combine the two.

"I was pretty happy with the run. Time wise it was probably a few seconds quicker than last year.

"He (McCarthy) broke me up Bostock Street. He's a good runner - a real good runner."

Hall, a Hampden league representative wingman, is in the midst of a transfer from South Warrnambool to Terang-Mortlake.

McCarthy, formerly of Warrnambool, was having his 20th consecutive start in yesterday's Surf 'T' Surf.

He remains a strong supporter of athletic events in the south-west, including the Koroit to Warrnambool Half Marathon.

Benign weather conditions attracted 538 entries for the run and a six-kilometre walk, up 18 on last year.

"We couldn't have wished for a better day," enthused organising committee member Chris Quigley.

Dowie survives late challenge as competitive instincts kick in

A RECORD seventh victory wasn't in Warrnambool runner Jenny Dowie's pre-race plans yesterday as she lined up at the start of the Surf 'T' Surf Fun Run-Walk.

Easing back into competition after an achilles tendon injury, Dowie wanted a relaxed 10km outing away from the cut and thrust of the leading contenders.

Back as far as sixth early, she was unperturbed when younger entrants Fiona Turner, of Allansford, and Hayley Cook, of Warrnambool, led by more than 500 metres.

But as the race developed Dowie reeled in the leaders and when the field turned from Gladstone Street into Otway Road her competitive senses switched on.

"I found myself in an unexpected position today," she reflected.

"With those girls so far in front I was quite happy to be sitting back in third position.

"As it got closer to halfway I started to get them in my sights. Then the old competitive instincts kicked in.

"When I hit the front I couldn't help myself. I was wanting to win but concerned about my leg."

Dowie opened a break of 80 metres on Turner, which the pursuer cut to three metres at the finish line.

The close finish surprised Dowie, who was unaware of Turner's late surge until she overheard the call of race announcer Lyndsay Hill approaching the finish.

Her time of 40 minutes, 50 seconds was among the slowest of her wins, which date back to 1984.

Last year's winner Birgit Schuckmann finished third.

Dowie and Judy McDowall, of Childers Cove, shared the race record with six wins apiece before yesterday.

McDowall was a late withdrawal with a lower leg injury. She plans to have scans this week but suspects a stress fracture.

Turner, a fourth year arts-science student at Monash University, was contesting the run for the first time.

A member of Box Hill Athletics Club, she is a specialist 1500m track runner.

Turner said she led for the first six kilometres and despite being caught and headed by Dowie, kept trying in the run to the line.

Article from The Standard
Posted at 09:29     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, January 06, 2003 

Alice Masters broke new ground

WHEN Alice Springs hosted Australia's first Masters Games in October 1986 it was only the second event of its kind in the world.

The games had arrived in the Red Centre as part of a Northern Territory Government led initiative to promote tourism within the region during what was depicted as a quieter time of the year.

And despite great initial excitement, a low number of registrations looked like jeopardising the event.

But eventually locals rallied to the cause and almost 1000 competitors took part in 22 sporting competitions such as basketball, athletics, touch football, rugby union, swimming, cycling and indoor cricket.

Former Olympic Games swimming champion Dawn Fraser began her long term association with the Alice Springs Masters Games as promotion's officer where she also competed in several events.

Fraser is now patron of the Alice Springs Masters Games.


Cycling legend Sir Hubert Opperman opened the 1986 Masters Games in a glittering ceremony at Traeger Park which featured the athletes march, a martial arts demonstration and six parachutists dropping on to the arena.

Earlier, a motorcade had driven Masters Games luminaries, including NT Chief Minister Steve Hatton and Alice Springs Mayor Leslie Oldfield, to the oval in classic cars.

Fraser took time out from official duties to break an Australian record in the 45-49 years 200m individual medley (3.23.82) -- shaving almost three seconds off the previous record.

Two world records and five other Australian records also tumbled during the week long event from October 18-25.

Victorian Frances Vorrath set two new world records for the 70-74 years age group in the 100m backstroke and the 200m breastroke.

Australian records were also broken by Myrtle Wright in the 75-79 years 400m freestyle (9.42.15) and Marion Dutton in the 65-69 years 100m butterfly (2.05.74).

Local rider Ken McDonald, 46, broke the Australian record for 45-49 years in the 200m at the Dalgety Road Velodrome (12.46) taking a one tenth of a second off the previous time, although the flying 200m was not a medal event.


In an age far removed from that of personal computers and mobile phones, a two-way radio system relayed messages to and from various sporting venues.

Results were then given to in-puters who fed information into computers.

There were 72 volunteers working as ambassadors, while 200 sporting officials and sports medicos also gave up their time.

The eldest competitor in 1986 was Kate Smith from Melbourne, who was one of 18 members of the Blind Bowlers' Association who competed for the first time against sighted bowlers.

The games closed with 300 runners competing in the Masters Fun Run.

Local runners dominated the field with Terry Bell winning the 10km race (38.06), while Richard Meadows (19.31) took out the 5km.

After the event, it was discovered that race officials has marked out the track incorrectly.

Each competititor had run an extra kilometre.

The closing ceremony took place at Anzac Oval and featured a rugby union match between the Australian Barbarians and an Alice Springs Invitational XV.

Many stars have participated at the Alice Springs Masters Games including former Olympian John Landy -- now Governor of Victoria, rugby union hero Mark Ella and former Test cricket captain Ian Chappell.

Article from the Centralian Advocate
Posted at 14:12     [Perma-Link]

Hot Seat with Neil Barnett


NEIL BARNETT, 34, president Kembla Joggers.
Kembla Joggers is one of the largest and most respected running clubs in Australia.

The club is best known for the Illawarra's largest fun run, The Fitness Five, as well as road racing and track events.

The group stresses a non-elitist approach to running and consequently attracts joggers from all age groups and fitness levels.

If you could be anybody in the world, who would it be?

Bill Gates. I would have great fun redistributing his wealth to those in society who need it much more.

What three things do you love most about Australia?

Its remoteness from the rest of the world, its freedom of democracy, and its brilliant landscapes.

What's the last sport you played?

Running of course. Hockey at school was my last team sport.

What is your ideal holiday destination?

Anywhere where the cares of the world are the last thing on your mind. Having said that, some of my best holidays have been on home soil.

Have you ever lived outside Australia?

Never - Wollongong born and bred.

What three skills would you like to possess?

The ability to speak another language fluently, to be able to bite my tongue in certain situations, and to swim more than 100m without drowning.

What's the most unusual thing you've done in the name of love?

Pardon? You're speaking to perhaps the most unromantic guy in the Gong here. Having said that I am more than happy to accept a bit of therapy from anyone willing to offer it.

Who would you love to have a romantic dinner with?

Always have had a soft spot for the divine Miss Minogue, so I wouldn't say no in the unlikely chance that she were to call.

What is your earliest memory?

I remember well the trauma of attending my first day at child care as a toddler. I don't think everyone else at the child care centre would easily forget it either.

What food do you never want to eat again?

Anything dripping in fat.

Which is better Ford or Holden?

No preference for either really, although I much prefer the Holden look. Since owning my Subaru I've never looked back.

Do you watch the previews on videos or fast forward?

Fast forward usually. Where do all these movies come from that no-one has ever heard of before or even seen in a video store?

What one thing do you always take to the beach?

Apart from my sunnies I never forget my one-litre bottle of water. Two things that stop me getting a chronic headache.

Who is your favourite all-time cricketer?

Without a doubt, Steve Waugh.

Board shorts or speedos?

Board shorts all the way. Not negotiable.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury
Posted at 14:08     [Perma-Link]

The Mad Minute with Susie Power


Manchester Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Susie Power defended her women's 10,000m title in the Telstra Zatopek Classic at Olympic Park on Saturday night, confirming her status as our top distance runner.

Q. How many kilometres do you clock up each week?

A. I've been running a lot more miles than I usually do, maybe around 140-150km. I'm eyeing off a marathon early next year. Whether I run it depends if I can get the training done and if my body holds up to it.

Q. Why punish your body over such long distances?

A. I've often thought about that when I'm out pounding the pavements day in, day out. I seem to have a gift to be able to run and race. Even though there's some days when I hate doing it, I've got the talent, so I may as well see how far I can go.

Q. Does it hurt?

A. It does, but it's mainly a general tiredness that lingers. At times in a long race, you feel like you want to ease off the pressure. It usually happens halfway through, but you've just got to keep going. Then it becomes more of a mental rather than a physical game.

Q. What do you think about when you're running?

A. It depends what sort of session I'm doing. If I'm just going for an easy run, I'll think about what I have to do for the day. But if it's a really hard session, I have to concentrate on what I'm doing.

Q. Do you ever sing songs in your head?

A. Sometimes on the long runs you'll get a song and you just can't get it out of your head. Especially if you've woken up to something on the radio. At the moment it's songs from kids' shows because of my little boy.

Q. It's been said women distance runners perform better after having a baby. Has it been a piece of cake after childbirth for you?

A. I've got to admit it has made a big difference in my career because I've become a lot more focused now. There may be physical advantages in the first year or so. I feel like I was running a lot easier the year straight after having Jai.

Q. Is it more of a challenge chasing the Kenyans on the track or chasing your toddler?

A. No doubt it's chasing around the toddler. He's become a bit of a handful at the moment. I cover twice as many miles by chasing him.

Q. How many pairs of runners do you go through?

A. I've gone through so many shoes. I wear two pairs all the time, so probably every three months I need another two pairs. Running on the pavement wears them out fairly quickly.

Q. Does running give you a ferocious appetite?

A. For sure. But I'm pretty lucky that I don't have to watch it 100 per cent because I'm fairly lean naturally. But when it comes down to a top race, I really have to concentrate on my diet for at least a few weeks.

Q. You missed out on the Sydney Olympics. Are you gearing yourself towards Athens now?

A. At the time of the Sydney Olympics, my mind wasn't really interested in going, I was more focused on starting a family. But now my priorities have changed a little bit and I want to go to the Olympics and run well there. With Sydney, I knew I wasn't going to be in the top five or so, so I thought to myself there's no point in going. Now I'm eyeing top five or a medal at the Athens Olympics.

Article from MX
Posted at 14:04     [Perma-Link]

Fairfax events in Sydney - SMH Half Marathon & Sun-Herald City to Surf

The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon - Sunday 25th May
Entry forms will be available during February. All entrants in the 2002 event will be automatically forwarded an entry form as will those who have applied to the organisers to be sent one (ie do not contact CoolRunning). Entry forms will also be available on the website at the same time. For further information please call 1800 555 514.

The Sun-Herald City to Surf - Sunday 10th August
Entry forms will be available from The Sun-Herald from early June. Website and further information will be provided closer to launch date and the information line is 1800 555 514.
Posted at 11:26     [Perma-Link]

Runner's World Portsea Twilight - Saturday 11th January 2003

The grand master of Australian distance running Steve Moneghetti described the 2002 Runner's World Portsea Twilight, held on 12th January 2002, as one of the toughest races he had been in for some time.

Moneghetti, struggling with a sore achilles at the time, led home a strong field, running a course record for the 6.75km of 20:28, 20 seconds ahead of Grant Schmidlechner with Linton Gloster a further two seconds behind in third.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 10:47     [Perma-Link]

A long-distance victory

by Jane Fraser

BEHIND the scenes during the Sydney Olympic Games were those privileged enough to be appointed as delegates or attaches to various participating countries.

These men and women were given the honour because of their strong links with the country in question, or because they spoke the language. There was some talk of jobs for the boys, but not much.

Some retained the connections, others chose not to. Among many others, Malcolm Fraser, former prime minister and black Africa's greatest Australian, was thought to have agreed to mind the Tanzanian team but this turned out to have been a misunderstanding, so barrister and QC John McCarthy was asked instead. He knew only four things about the small country.

``There was Mt Kilimanjaro,'' he says, ticking the facts off against his fingers. ``I knew they spoke Swahili, that the capital city, Dar Es Salaam, was in the Arab world and that Julius Nyerere had been the president.''

In one of life's pleasing coincidences, in the 1920s the founder of Trinity Grammar School in Sydney, George Chambers, had been the first bishop of what was then Central Tanganika. Tanganika and Zanzibar, once a loose floating Muslim state, became Tanzania under Nyerere's leadership. Since then there have been many Trinity families who have worked in Tanzania and this accounts for the fact that the team, comprising four athletes, three of whom were marathon runners, and two officials, stayed at Chambers' house in the grounds of the school between arriving for training in this country and moving into the Olympic village.

In the months before the Sydney Games, the International Olympic Committee was on the nose. Wallowing in bribery scandals, it needed to lift its image and so began an advertising blitz with film footage showing the deeds of Olympians.

This ended with a Hallmark moment from beleaguered president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who exhorted humanity to love and understand, to unite and strengthen. The advertising spiel also had footage provided by Olympic film-maker Bud Greenspan of the marathon in the 1968 Mexico Games and of the man who hobbled into the stadium, his leg bandaged, an hour and a half after Ethiopian Mamo Walde had won.

This was a piece of film which would burn in the minds of sports lovers the world over. His now famous answer to the press when reporters asked why he had not succumbed to the cramps and a bad fall: ``My country didn't send me here to start the race. They sent me to finish,'' made him the symbol of nobility in sport. Of him it was said: ``Today we have seen a young African runner who symbolises the finest in human spirit; a performance which gives true meaning to sport, which lifts sport out of the category of grown men playing sport.''

``But,'' asks McCarthy, ``where was he. Dead? And if not, why wasn't he here, in Sydney?'' Minding his maize, tending his flocks and trying, with not much success, to encourage children to take up the challenge of athletics, marathon runner John Stephen Akhwari was the man the world had forgotten.

His story, opines McCarthy, is the greatest story ever, the story of never quitting and of sport's greatest last-place getter. He is at pains to separate the feat of Akhwari from the unlikely hero of the Sydney Games, Eddie the Eel, who, not to put too unkind a point on it, could barely swim. Akhwari could run, and then some. He was Africa's marathon champion and had been expected to do well in Mexico. In the event, his training, at sea level, did not equip him for the altitude. He was attacked with cramp and had a bad fall.

Akhwari came to the Sydney Olympics and at the closing ceremony was given an award by Samaranch as a living symbol of the Olympic ideal, and it all might have ended there, were it not for those promoting closer ties between Tanzania and Australia.

At this time Tanzanian athletics was in trouble. The runners were not achieving their potential. Ethiopia and Kenya were providing the dernier cri of long-distance runners. Something had to be done, and was.

Australia's greatest trade interest in Tanzania, gold, does not have a popular profile; gold and the mining thereof has always has been hag-ridden by connotations of exploitation.

Up to the plate stepped Philip Green, NSW state director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who approached Samaranch after the games. As a result, the John Stephen Akhwari Athletics Foundation was formed.

This foundation sponsors the training of Tanzanian athletes, under the guidance of Sulieman Nyambui, himself an Olympic runner. In the short time it has been in place, Tanzanian runners have been to Australia last year for the Sydney fun-run known as the City to Surf and the Sydney marathon. Among the runners was John Akhwari's son, Rogarth. In the City to Surf, Tanzanian Stephen Bwire, 22, was narrowly beaten by Finnish runner Jussi Utriainen for first place and fellow Tanzanian Patrick Nyangelo was fifth. Three others -- Marwa Dickson, Disdery Hombo and Samwell Mwera -- came 10th, 16th and 19th respectively.

The Tanzanians blitzed the field in the Sydney marathon. Bwire won, 17-year-old Nyangelo was second and Dickson, 19, came third.

The goal for this year is to set up a training camp for 25 to 30 Tanzanian athletics to train for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

And what of John Akhwari?

Now 63, he finally has been recognised in his own country. Head of his village, he is a man on a mission to build a school and develop the country's future Olympic heroes.

Last year he came back to Australia to promote the Olympic movement.

He was sent to Trinity Grammar, where he did a six-month course in English -- which he could not speak.

``It still isn't great,'' admits McCarthy. ``But it was good enough for him to come to Melbourne, at the end of the year, to speak at the Champions Dinner. There is a continuing strengthening of ties between Tanzania and Australia, a country which otherwise we would have very little knowledge about,'' he says. ``We have had an impact.''

Article from The Australian

Posted at 10:38     [Perma-Link]

Serge hits highways of the world in fight for kids

IT is rare for a tourist visiting Cairns to stay less than 24 hours.

But then Serge Roetheli is by no means your usual tourist.

Starting in his home country of Switzerland on February 13, 2000, Serge has travelled all the way through Europe, made his way across Africa, and trekked through the Middle East and Asia.

And all of this on foot - running.

By the time he arrived in Cairns on Friday, the former Olympic boxer had run 20,913km as part of his Run For Kids project.

The entire journey will take Mr Roetheli and his wife Nicole, who helps plan the journey and rides on motorbike by his side, across five continents in five years, reaching a total of about 35,000km.

Mr Roetheli said the purpose of the run was to bring awareness about the state of children around the world and to help find ways of defending their rights and building support for their cause.

In 2000, Mr Roetheli said he raised about $90,000 as part of the run. He was not too sure how much money had been collected over the past two years, but that amount would more than likely total upward of $180,000.

"We don't just donate to one organisation," Mr Roetheli said.

"We donate to many different types of child organisations, dealing with everything from HIV to education and beyond."

He left Cairns at 6am on Saturday, kicking off the Australian leg of the journey which Mr Roetheli said would take him about six months, and have him run down the east coast through Brisbane and Sydney to Melbourne.

"Australia's the only country I'm yet to run in," Mr Roetheli said before hitting the highway.

"I've just finished running in Asia so I am used to running in these kind of hot conditions. But it's still a challenge."

Given he had not run for more than a fortnight, Mr Roetheli said he would take it easy for the first few weeks - running 20-30km a day, five times a week - instead of his usual 40-50km.

At the age of 47, this is set to be Mr Roetheli's final epic project.

A six-time boxing champion of Switzerland, Mr Roetheli represented his country at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.

In 1982 he hung up his boxing gloves to commit to long distance running.

Article from The Cairns Post
Posted at 10:35     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, January 03, 2003 

Herb Elliot Guest Speaker

Olympic champion and one of the world's greatest middle distance runners, Herb Elliott, is appearing as a guest speaker at a luncheon to fundraise for the Fred Hollows Foundation on 21st January 2003 at Mindarie Hotel, WA. He will talk about "Winning Attitudes". Cost is $40 including two course lunch.

Contact Robyn Smith (09) 9407-7749 for tickets or email
Posted at 08:09     [Perma-Link]

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