Hobart Run the Bridge, February 14
It wasn’t just the fact that it was Valentine’s Day that had people talking about whether cupid’s arrow in the form of a $1000 cheque would fall on Liam Adams, Michael Shelley, Eloise Wellings or Jess Trengove at Hobart’s Run The Bridge 10km event on Sunday.
A novel decision by race owner Richard Welsh to trial the new concept proved a winner with a record field and an exciting race.
Adams, chased home by Shelley, caught Olympic steepler Victoria Mitchell, who was a surprise leader, with around 500m to go, to give the men bragging rights in the inaugural ‘battle of the sexes’ .
The lead women had begun 4min 12sec in front of the men, a time based on the existing course records.
“I thought she (Mitchell) had us,” Adams said after equalling his course record time of 29min 3sec. “I saw her with a km to go and thought ‘nah, we’re not going to get her’ and that is was a battle between Michael and I for second place but he really pushed me and we somehow caught Vicky,”
For Mitchell, who initially came down to Hobart to race just the 5000m at Saturday night’s Briggs Athletics Classic, claiming the first women’s prize was a bonus, especially against such a hot field.
“I was under doping control last night so I didn’t get back to my apartment until after 11, then bed at midnight. It doesn’t really phase me, it’s the night before that and the night before that that’s important,” Mitchell, who won $3000, said.
“I sat in the pack, Eloise and Jess were at the front, I was just behind them, then going up Rosny hill, Eloise and I broke away, I got ahead, she then injected more speed going over the bridge and got ahead of me. I just rolled down the hill, got ahead of her and ran strong. It was one of those races that actually came together.”
Apart from the exciting finish, Welsh was buoyed by a record 3112 entrants for the seventh staging of the event.
The concept and timing of the race played a part in Welsh luring such well-known runners as former Launceston athlete Milly Clark, who finished second in 33.55, Craig Mottram, who marked his comeback as a serious athlete by placing third male in 29.37, and Wellings, who agreed to race despite coming off a PB half marathon just seven days earlier.
“It was a quality field,” Adams, who is tuning up for the Lake Biwa marathon early next month, said. “Right at the end Michael Shelley really pushed me and really put me in a hurt zone. I haven’t been running that quick before so I was very surprised I got him in the end.”