The Bill Burke 4Km handicap event is conducted to honour the memory of the club’s longest serving coach and mentor. Born in April 1907, Bill coached athletes across all events from 1927 to 2006. Bill’s legacy lives on through the Bill Burke Scholarship.
This year saw the 15th running of the Bill Burke Classic. Sixteen runners turned up to run two laps around Aberfeldie Park.
As tradition has it the runners sang Happy Birthday, with guitar accompaniment from Bill’s grandson, Michael Burke. Michael attended with his mother Renus Burke on behalf of the Burke family.
Defending champion Matthew Goodger missed the race with illness, so it was thrown open for a new champion to be crowned. The frontmarker was our oldest competitor Trevor Hawksworth off 1m15s, with Maggie Armstrong starting off soon after. With backmarker Damien Bruneau starting off 11m37s, the remaining 13 runners were somewhere in between.
On the first hill, Maggie had made up the 6 seconds on Trevor and moved into the lead. Caroline Beattie started steadily and maintained the gap between her and the leaders. Rachel Brici had nobody close behind her, with 90 second gaps in front and behind.
A substantial group of athletes all started within a minute of each other, with Ruby Ellis leading off Aaron Heaney, Brian Anderson, Melissa Kodi and Charlotte Jackson.
The next group were a bit further back with Ryan Rodriguez dangling the carrot for Christian Knox. Danny Hawksworth and Jeff Jones were further behind with Bruneau starting almost 2 minutes behind Jones.
At the one lap mark, Trevor Hawksworth had regained the lead from Maggie Armstrong and looked like he was going to be hard to catch. Angela Ngo had caught David Jones in front of her, while Aaron Heaney and Brian Anderson had both moved ahead of Ruby Ellis. Charlotte Jackson had caught Melissa Kodi and those two were moving through the field. Danny Hawksworth was within striking distance of Kodi and Jackson, while Jeff Jones had cut the margin from 43 seconds to 27 seconds. Damien was still 1m26s behind Jeff with a lap to go.
Ryan Rodriguez had caught 3 of the runners in front of him and quickly moved ahead of Heaney and Anderson before tackling the hill for the second time. Living in the flat seaside village of Venus Bay, the hills were likely to present a challenge for Rodriguez. At the top of the hill, he drew level with Angela Ngo, then went in pursuit of the 4 frontmarkers.
Maggie Armstrong had used the uphill to catch Trevor Hawksworth again, only for Trevor to pull away again on the downhill. Rodriguez caught Caroline Beattie going down the hill, then by the last downhill near the cricket pavilion, he had hit the front. He knew at this stage that if there was going to be a challenger, it was going to come from one of the backmarkers.
Jeff Jones was running an impressive second lap and caught Hawksworth on the last hill, before chasing down some of the frontmarkers. Rachel Brici had moved into a clear second and it was just a question of whether Jeff could catch her. In the sprint to the line it was Rodriguez who triumphed in his first competitive race for about 4 years. Rachel Brici finished second, with Jeff Jones securing third place. Well done to Damien who ran the fastest time of the day.
Full results are as follows:
Name Start Finish Actual time Placing
Trevor Hawksworth 1:15 24:21 23:06 10th
Maggie Armstrong 1:21 24:20 22:59 9th
Caroline Beattie 1:52 24:27 22:35 11th
Rachel Brici 3:30 23:37 20:07 2nd
David Jones 5:00 29:00 24:00 15th
Angela Ngo 6:25 23:53 17:28 5th
Ruby Ellis 7:02 25:06 18:04 14th
Aaron Heaney 7:06 23:54 16:48 6th
Brian Anderson 7:09 23:58 16:49 7th
Melissa Kodi 7:32 23:59 16:27 8th
Charlotte Jackson 7:54 24:53 16:59 13th
Ryan Rodriguez 8:47 23:15 14:28 1st
Christian Knox 8:54 Ran 2km
Danny Hawksworth 9:06 23:50 14:44 4th
Jeff Jones 9:49 23:42 13:53 3rd
Damien Bruneau 11 :37 24 :38 13:01 12th
Thanks to all our officials who helped out with the event, timing and photographs. Duncan Knox, Frances Lipscombe, Ian Newey, John Cooper, Chris Jackson as well as Michael and Renus. We plan to hold the event again in April 2022.