This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010
For more info about Australian Ultra Runners' Association click here
2002 Coastal Classic Ultra 12 Hour Track Event
(incorporating A.U.R.A 100 km Track Championships)January 5th & 6th 2002, near Gosford, NSW
Race Director's Report
Race Report from Canberra
Full Results & Split times - EXCEL FORMAT ONLY
What happpened in 2001 ?
* (f) Indicates Female
The 5th annual Coastal Classic was held on Saturday 5 January 2002 at Gosford, NSW. With bushfires all around the state the organisers and their families spent the days leading up to The Classic fielding calls from concerned participants. We were able to confirm that The Classic was going ahead & their safety was assured.
The Classic commenced at 7:30 pm, the field quickly sorting itself out. There was the 1st time ultra athletes testing themselves against the old hands and themselves.
Trevor Fairhurst set the early running pace daring the others to match him or eat his proverable dust. The other athletes settled into their schedules preplanned or otherwise.
In our walking division Carol Baird, the proven ultra athlete & multiple Australian record holder against the young gun Alex Crawford multiple NSW race walking Champion with seasoned campaigner Robin Whyte former Australian 50 km race walking Champion keeping the pair honest.
Trevor Fairhurst a London to Brighton competitor found that no one could or would match his early pace. Trevor settled down the pace. He ensured that he changed his tops at frequent intervals and also that he had enough nourishment throughout The Classic. What made Trevor's effort more outstanding was that he didn't have a support crew, he did it all himself. This is true also of other athletes, it gives the athlete time away from life's worries for a short time anyway.
Tony Collins our resident dentist & ultra legend pulled up lame and was the 1st to have to withdraw. However Tony retained his perfect record of competing in all Classics.
Alan Staples, who has competed in all five Classics worked himself through the field from 8th place in the early hours to pip Bob Fickel for 2nd place with Bob coming 3rd. Bob in a kind & thoughtful gesture offered some fruit he had extra to competitors and support crew, The Classic has that camaraderie.
Trevor Fairhurst, Alan Staples and Bob Fickel also finished 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the A.U.R.A 100 km Track Championships held in conjunction with The Classic.
Meanwhile in The Classic's walking division Alex Crawford had maintained the upper hand over Carol Baird, these are the positions they maintained to the finish with Robin Whyte finishing a solid 3rd.
Best support crew again went to Nick Draytons. They lost their usual location but still made their presence felt in a positive way.
Highest fund raiser, was local Judy Brown.
In conclusion the Classic was another outstanding success. We like to thank all volunteers, spectators, athlete's crews and competitors for making our event, The Classic.
Paul Thompson & Frank Overton
Val Chesterton is one of my favourite athletes. Although Val is the W60 Australian Pole Vault record holder and worthy recipient of the December ACT Masters Sportstar award she maintains a fun and friendliness attitude to athletics. A key behind the scenes worker for the ACTVAC as a member of the social and competition committees, Val is also an excellent friend, motivator and training partner for many club members.
When Val informed me she was in earnest training for the Gosford event I immediately offered my services as trackside assistant. With the experienced guidance of Carol Baird and Robin Whyte she was well prepared for the event completing many long training walks around Burley Billabong. Robin predicted Val was capable of achieving a race distance of 50 miles (actually a tad over 80k however Robin still talks and walks miles). He produced an excellent lap by lap schedule, which proved to be invaluable as a motivating tool during the night.
The event commenced at 7.30 on a very pleasant Saturday evening (pleasant for spectators, helpers and officials but extremely humid for the competitors). The race was conducted on an adequate grass track; the field comprised 14 runners and 10 walkers. Carol as race record holder was aiming for a third consecutive victory. Robin, also the race record holder was keen to retain his title after placing second last year. Lachlan Wilkinson was attempting to improve upon a PB of 86k. Val was aiming to enjoy and survive the race and achieve her 80k goal.
The first 2 hours of the race was mostly uneventful with competitors maintaining a steady pace although many runners resorted to periods of walking probably preferring to conserve energy due to the humidity. All ACT walkers were either on or ahead of schedule feeling comfortable.
Our four walkers all went through bad patches at some stage of the race. Chucker Chesterton was first to succumb, causing likely irreparable damage to an area of grass in lane 6. She obviously reacted badly to a combination of overly sweet drinks and food including a sports bar which tasted like a chalky dog biscuit. Val slowed her pace and was well behind schedule at the 4 hour mark.
Carol, although never reducing her walking pace, was forced to stop frequently to carry out stretching excersises to relieve tightness she felt was caused by the humid conditions. Robin and Lachlan both experienced periods when their pace was reduced by up to a minute a lap. Robin recovered somewhat and was walking stongly during the latter period of the race. We on the sideline were gravely concerned when Lachlan emitted a series of loud grunts and moans. Our fears were allayed when his wife Annette explained he was merely singing.
To amuse myself during the early hours of the morning I commenced playing my harmonica. Other helpers and many competitors were also amused. I continued with my limited repertoire of tunes. Probably due to the sad looking plight of many extremely fatigued and injured runners (mostly the younger ones) staggering and stumbling around the track the only tune that would stay in my head was the "Last Post". I wisely retired the harmonica.
By drinking only a combination of soft drink and water with the gas removed and eating light cheese Val recovered. After about the 5 hour mark each 10k split was completed faster than the previous 10k. Val achieved her goal of 80 k's with 15 minutes to spare. After passing the 50 mile mark (467 metres further) she relaxed and produced her 3 fastest laps of the entire 12 hour period. Although extremely weary, she was ecstatic at achieving her goal comfortably and still of sound mind and body. Val walked a total of 81.802k for 2nd female. A very commendable effort.
Carol, although falling just short of her race record, retained her title with a distance of 96.065k. The male winner finished less than a kilometre in front of Carol and was nicknamed "The Shadow" due to persistently using Carol as a pacemaker in the latter half of the race, much to the annoyance of Carol.
Robin did not have one of his better races and claimed it is the worst he has felt during a race. Still, he was satisfied to have completed 91.834k to place 2nd. Lachlan's 85.402k enabled him to place 3rd in a field of seven men. As usual all ACT competitors were successful in the barrel draw.
The event was very well conducted. Many friendly and good spirited members of the local athletics club were present for the duration performing all necessary roles such as lapscoring and serving in the kiosk.
Well done Val, Carol, Lachlan and Robin. As a mark of their dedication and enthusiasm all recovered sufficiently to compete at the track the following Thursday.