Lisa Thompson & Eve Jeffery
The inaugural Herb Elliott Twilight Meet was held last Saturday at the Cavanbah Centre athletic track, hosted by the Byron Bay Runners.
Contested events included the Community and Elite 3,000 metres, shot put, and the Herb Elliott 1,500m for male and female competitors. It was the first Athletics NSW-recognised inter-club event the Byron Bay Runners have hosted.
Club president Caroline Bailey said COVID has really affected community sport. ‘Athletics NSW wanted to get more events into the regions and move away from a metro focus, so we put our hands up to host an event. It was a bit of effort from all our volunteers.’
Racing got underway at 5.45pm with the Community 3,000m event.
Local resident Tim Wallar hit the lead from the gun and never looked back, winning in 11:07:57.
The women’s community event was taken out by local runner Laura Donohoe, who ran a smart race letting the fast starting field go and paced her run perfectly to take the win in 12:29:22. Caroline Bailey (12:56:33) came second ahead of Annie Milne (13:00:03).
Fresh off a bronze medal at the Australian 3,000m championships only days earlier, Aspen Anderson (Qld) set the pace early, leading the ladies around the 7.5 laps.
Teammate and training partner Indie Seccombe trailed in Aspen’s footsteps as the girls got out to a clear lead. A sprint finish over the last 100m saw Indie prevail to take the win in 10:33:86 to Aspen 10:34:67. Byron Bay’s Ruby Hughes was the third-placed in a time of 11:22:29.
Previous Byron Bay Runner and the NSW U/20 3,000m Steeplechase State record holder Bailey Crabtree was the man to beat in the Elite men’s 3,000m. Bailey showed his dominance early, clearing out from the field from the gun and won with a time of 9:12:81. Former national champion Anthony Boyle came in second (9:28:12) ahead of Woolgoolga’s Kyle McIntosh (9:36:13).
Ms Bailey, who is also the head coach for junior and senior squads, says there is about 40 young people aged from eight to all the way up to 18 at the club. ‘We’ve got some runners who have gone all the way through to be national champions club, we’ve got one currently Tyler Dogan.
Three thousand meters doesn’t sound like much, but when you say ‘three kilometres’, and you measure it out in your head from your house to the shop/school/beach – you realise how far it is.
Bailey Beaumont, at just 10 years of age, was the only junior to take part in the community 3,000m and he surprised everyone by placing third for the men (12:55:33).
This event was also Beaumont’s track debut and his very first 3km race. He backed it up with second place for the males in the community 1,500m (6:09:89). No mean feat for the kid who started training once a week with local group Byron Bay Runners only three months ago, after comfortably winning his school cross country race.
Coach Bailey says Beaumont is definitely one of the club’s most enthusiastic runners. ‘He’s just an absolute little treasure. We see a lot of potential for him hoping that he will follow in the footsteps of some of our other young talents that have gone through to win national titles – he’s got eight years ahead of him yet.
Ms Bailey said he was happy to line up against adults. ‘The event was open to kids, but he was the only one that took it on. He ran a very brave race. He went out hard – I tried to chase him down!
‘He’s great and we’re very, very happy to have him in in the squad.’
A community club
Ms Bailey said that the club operate year round. ‘We’re part of Athletics New South Wales, we have accredited coaches and we take Active Kids vouchers.
‘We’re a community club, but we have myself and another high performance coach. If we see the talent we can we can set things up to make sure that that happens. We get kids on the championships pathway if they want to go that way and we’ve also got kids who just like to come along, because it’s just fun.’
For mire info visit: byronbayrunners.com.