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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Winning the annual Clifford Street race runs in the family

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2017 Clifford Street champions Sonya Tennant and daughter Ruby Spires.

For the first time in ten years a mother-and-daughter combination has won the female trophies at the Fastest Runner in Clifford Street race, held in South Golden Beach in early December.

Roughly 60 local residents from around the area gathered to compete or participate, with half deciding to watch or officiate, while the other half was made up of the more competitive.

The ‘athletes’ ranged in age from two years to 52 years.

Given the broad range of ages that compete together in the race there is an impromptu handicap start; the younger and smaller you are the closer to the finish line you do start. The fit and nimble teenagers along with the delusional and fat middle-agers all start at the back on the corner of Elizabeth Avenue.

The 200 metres to the finish line can appear like a blur to some of the less fit.

The one and only rule of the Fastest Runner in Clifford Street race is that you are not to run over, stampede or maim any of the smaller runners in front of you in your desperate surge for local infamy.

But eventual fastest male winner Justin Farrell self-inflicted a maiming two metres before the finish line via a kook lunge head first across the chalked line.

With skin off his hands, elbows and knees, the 41-year-old Justin admitted to succumbing to the strange peptides floating in his system after several decades of not running at all.

Sonya Tennant and daughter Ruby Spires (5) were the proud and ecstatic winners of the female silverware.

Eight-year-old Billie from Elizabeth Street looked very likely to take out the fastest girl trophy this year with a slight lead five metres short of the finish line but was distracted by the pretty flowers growing in the garden of the house just short of the line.

This gave a very determined Ruby the opportunity to hit the lead and cross the line first.

There was a great flux of youth crossing the line in the next few seconds. Millimetres separated many of them; however, a clear-cut winner in the fastest boy division was nine-year-old Ben McCallum. Ben is a regular trainer with the Byron Bay Runners Club, and proud dad Jeff acknowledged that Ben may have inherited his fast genes from his South African mother Peta.

The race is set and won within a few minutes but what lasts longer is the community spirit, fun and enjoyment that a diverse range of neighbours near and far can have on a quiet and quick Sunday arvo in the neighbourhood.

No animals or small children were hurt in the running of the race.

Maybe someone in your street wants to organise your own fastest runner or craziest skipper or jumpiest jelly bean. Who knows: you may just enjoy it.

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