Arthur heads field
PAUL Arthur led in the classiest men's field in the 15 years of the annual Poolside Water World Great Ocean Run while Julie Allen won the women's race by over 40 minutes.
Arthur from the Central Coast stamped his authority on the race by the time he had reached Corindi.
At one time his lead over a field which included five previous male winners was estimated at 20 minutes.
Despite losing his way a couple of times in the later stages and nearly getting swept out to sea at Moonee the former winner of the prestigious City to Surf still had just under eleven minutes over previous winners Andrew Thompson and Ray Wareham who tied for second.
Two other runners, former winner Michael Smart from Invergowrie and event debutant Matt Bourke, also broke through the four hour barrier in what were sometimes trying conditions.
Runners had been greeted by a distinct lack of beach at Red Rock for the 8am start making the early kilometres very difficult indeed.
As the tide became kinder the breeze became a headwind making the long stretches like Moonee Beach as much a battle as the soft yielding going on Sapphire and Korora beaches.
And then there were the creeks, many running strong and deep after the recent rain.
Several runners detoured round a couple of the more forbidding crossings trading security for time and distance.
The women's winner who was holidaying at Korora after completing the equally arduous Six Foot Track trail ultramarathon negotiated the crossings adeptly enough to street the field in her first attempt at the Water World event.
Second place went to another first-timer Emma Moylan with previous winner Angie Grattan cruising to third.
Grattan who runs in barefeet was coming back from several injuries including two dog bites incurred while pursuing her employment as a postie.
Another barefoot runner was the sprightly Keith Everson from Yamba who completed the full journey this time after sampling a slice of it last year.
First local male was Jim Bennington who reached the Jetty in 4.19.11 to fill seventh place.
The female field was down a bit on previous years with no local women starting this time.
At least three who have run previously sat out the 45 kms of beach, headland and creek crossings.
As the 'war stories' proliferated at the presentation at the Yacht Club thanks was expressed to the volunteers who 'personned' the aid stations en route and who dispensed food and drink at the finish.
The organisers from the W.R.A.T.S. particularly expressed their gratitude to Eric Markham from the Gold Coast Runners and Dennis French from the Tweed Twin Towns Runners for their organization of the northern invasion each year and to Poolside Water World for its continued sponsorship, now in its tenth year.
Male: Paul Arthur 3.33.52, 1; Ray Wareham & Andrew Thompson 3.44.48, =2; Michael Smart 3.52.27, 4; Matt Bourke 3.57.47, 5; Bruce Cook 4.06.11, 6; Jim Bennington 4.19.11, 7; Peter O'Sullivan 4.40.26, 8; Wayne Gregory 4.40.57, 9; Richard Willis & Bob Beer 4.49.41, =10; Tony Kean 5.02.16, 12; Rod Ladyman 5.05.01, 13; Peter McKenzie 5.16.44, 14; Ashley Knauth 5.17.01, 15; Paul Cooper 5.21.31, 16; Peter Gardiner 5.24.04, 17; Chris Cohen 5.31.36, 18; Daryl Bancroft 5.40.03, 19; Paul Chamberlain 5.45.08, 20; Steve Tesic 5.54.48, 21; David Casey 5.59.09, 22; Peter Moore 6.00.39, 23; Geoff Kopittke 6.23.56, 24; Ross Donald 6.39.22, 25; Bob Jones 6.45.00, 26; Russell Forrestal & Robert Asher 7.48.29, =27; Peter Gray 7.57.32, 29; Keith Everson 8.07.41, 30; Tom Holbut 8.27.41, 31; Dennis French 8.45.23, 32; Jason Evans 9.53.45, 33.
Female: Julie Allen 5.04.24, 1; Emma Moylan 5.45.02, 2; Angie Grattan 6.01.31, 3; Lyn Campbell 7.13.19, 4; Coral Asher 8.05.12, 5; Elly Friend 8.19.32, 6; Robyn Evans 9.53.45, 7.