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Water World Great Ocean Run24th March 2002, Red Rock to Coff's Jetty Beach & Headland by Race Director Steel Beveridge
Race Director's Report
Melissa Bulloch has numerous major running achievements, including an Australian Marathon Championship bronze medal and an Hawaiian Ironman podium finish, but Sunday was something special, one of those rare feats that become legend. Melissa won the Water World Great Ocean Run. So? She won last year, didn’t she? Yes, but this time she beat everybody, not merely all the women but everybody! What’s more she massacred the women’s record into the bargain. Her time of 3hrs 42mins 19secs took a massive 25 minutes off the old record held by Queenslander Lyn Lewis.
The early leader from those who started at 7.00a.m. at the northern end of Red Rock beach was the indomitable Jim Bennington who had built a 2 minutes lead by Corindi over his nearest rival 18 year old Matthew Clarke from Armidale. Bulloch trailed that pair at that early stage and didn’t catch Bennington until cramps slowed his progress on Sapphire Beach . After briefly regaining the lead through adept use of local knowledge Bennington had to settle for a win in the ‘mere’ male division as Bulloch swept towards a winning margin of six minutes. Clarke held on for the third fastest time with an excellent 4.03.39 debut performance.
Fellow Armidale runner Steve Tremont placed third amongst the men with Tweed Heads’ runner, Bob Beer next some three minutes later. Second woman, for the second year, was the Gold Coast’s Martine Crockett who wisely chose to run her own race rather than chase the runaway from Emerald Heights. Third female was Melissa Bulloch’s sister, Kylie McGrath, who made her debut as an Ultramarathoner most successfully with a sub-five hour performance. Also notable in the field of 44 starters were the performances of two athletes in the 60-64 age group, Tony Kean and Norma Ducker. Kean ran under 5 hours and placed in the first ten (of either gender) and Ducker collected her second fifth place in the women’s field.
Once again the remarkable Beryl Kemp showed at 71 that keeping going is just for the youngsters persevering for 9.14.11 to record her second Water World finish. For the second time Peter McKenzie from Brisbane persuaded one of daughters, Angela Grant this time, to run the 45 kilometres of sand and headland that makes up the Great Ocean Run. The effervescent McKenzie may soon run out of family members willing to join him on "trips down the coast".
The record for the longest journey to the event again went to Peter Gray from Geelong who completed work on Friday, drove to Red Rock on Saturday, ran a personal best time for the event and jumped in the van to drive home again. Needless to add the orgaisers from the W.R.A.T.S. were most pleased with the whole day, praising in particular those who helped with drink stations on the course.