This weekend saw the fourth running of the Berry Long Run, in what looked initially to be some rather wet and windy weather. Indeed, the drive up from Melbourne at 5:30am race morning didn’t bode well as the rain lashed down towards the wonderfully named, Lerderderg State Forest. But as the light appeared, so did the rain disappear from the radar and for the most part (if you finished by around 3pm), it stayed dry. This yellow shiny thing also appeared in the sky at some points throughout the day as well.
In what was a small, but might I say, pretty competitive 70km field, race favourite Dion Finocchiaro lived up to the pre race hype with a stunning win in a new course record time of 5hrs 58mins, besting the previous record by some 15 minutes. This was despite the lead group heading off left instead of right on the very first turn of the course.
This meant a bit of a conga line for around 5-6kms as runners wound their way along the beautiful, but rather wet single track that follows the gorge, before breaking out into some easy fire trail and for the 70km runners, the out and back.
Second in the men’s 70km race was Andy Turner, who finished in 6hrs 50mins, along with Simon Neale who finished in 6hrs 56mins.
In the ladies 70km, it was back to back wins for Nicole Vaughan, who ran a very solid 7hrs 49mins, with Martine Nield second in 8hrs 16mins and Trish Yates in third in 8hrs 25mins.
In the 40km race, it was all about Kellie Emmerson who blew the entire field away to win the ladies race and post the fastest time of the day, securing her victory in 3hrs 47mins ahead of her big trip over to France in a few weeks.
Second in the ladies race was Melissa Marshall in 4hrs 39mins and third was Eilis McCarthy in 5hrs 15mins. In the men’s race, a nice win for Chris Smith in 4hrs 14mins with Simon Ferraro just behind him in 4hrs 15mins and Gabor Jakus in third in 4hrs 23mins.
As mentioned last week, there’s a big few weeks of racing coming up both at home and overseas. Towards the backend of this week, the Run Larapinta stage race kicks off, and we’ll be covering a preview on that as well as looking ahead to the likes of UTMB and all the various races that sit within it, along with a number of races at home; namely the Surf Coast Century, GNW Ultras and the Glasshouse 100s.
Also in the mix is the Coastal High 50km, a very popular race up in Queensland, so stay tuned for some big race coverage and previews in the coming weeks.