Fun run proves a family affair
By GREG WHITE
NEW Year's day proved memorable for one visiting family when brothers Jos and Ben Hoetjes finished first and third in the Coffs Blinds and Awnings Fun Run at the 87th annual Sawtell Fun Day.
Older brother Jos ran the 5.5km course from First Avenue to the Reserve in 17 minutes 50.96 seconds, almost three seconds slower than last year's record run.
"The family has been here for three weeks and I've spent the time training for triathlons," Jos said.
"I only entered the event at the last moment to see if the fitness was kicking in."
Splitting the brothers across the finish line was 2006 runner-up Jason Harrison who bettered his best time by almost 30 seconds.
"That was fantastic and I'm not a bit disappointed about finishing second again," Jason said.
"I need to go a bit quicker next time and I'll keep coming back trying to win."
Cloudy conditions kept the temperatures down but runners still found the humidity oppressive.
Harrison lead the field out of First Avenue with local protege Wade O'Malley hot on his heels.
The 13-year-old O'Malley, who last month ran the fastest 1500m time in Australia for his age group, finished sixth overall.
"I managed to catch them after about one kilometre when we came back behind the main street shops," winner Jos said. "I've been in the race a couple of times but that was the best run."
First female across the line, Melissa Bulloch, was finally back on her pedestal.
"I missed the race last year and it's good to be back," she said.
A humble reaction considering Bulloch has started in the race 'about 10 times' and has never been beaten by another runner.
Ten-time winner Geoffrey Bruce was missing from the list of 88 finishers and breaking his astonishing record will have to wait at least another year.