2020 may not have turned out as anyone expected, but the Milers never stopped competing.
It’s just as well someone had the bright idea of starting the 2020 Club Championship with the two relays- as they ended up being the only events that actually took place. Inspired seeding led to remarkably close races in both the 5Ms and the Two Bridges, but the great organisation and atmosphere meant everyone went home happy.
In a sign of how the Milers would rise to the challenge of posed by COVID-19 restrictions, Nick ‘Undertaker’ Tobin did a marathon in this backyard in late March, raising money for charity in the process. If around 1,000 laps of a 45m course sounds insane, he certainly looked on the bright side: ‘for once I have preferred start, personal bathroom facilities…and pretty much a guaranteed podium place.
Dozers backyard triathlon
Not to be outdone, a few days later Dozer completed a #stayathome Olympic distance triathlon in support of Autism Awareness Day- featuring a 1.5km swim (or 192 laps of his pool), 40km ride and 10km run.
We also saw some quick laps of the track for the 1,500m on 3 Dec for the Vic Miler Meet, with Mark Stodden (4:18:26), Chris Rancie (4:18:43), Michael Johnson (4:37:65) and Katie Seibold (5:05:34) showing no signs of slacking off their training during covid.
Surf Coast Century
Well done to Sam Maffet and his team for putting on a great event, the first Ultra in the State post Covid restrictions.
Milers in action included:
Rafa, 28th (50km, 5hr 10min)
French Island Flyers, 12th 100km team overall, Matt O’Dwyer (leg 2, 2hr 46m), Simon Keane (leg 3, 2hr 16m) & Sam Burke (leg 4, 2hr 3m)
Zen & Tonic, 10th 100km team overall, Jamie Casas (leg 3, 2hr 52min and got lost for 3km)
Selfies Podium, 4th 100km overall, Mark Buyck (leg 4, 2hr 5m)
The COVID Cup must be the most successful ever race series that everyone hopes will never take place again. The five virtual events, supported by Sean Helmot’s tailored training programs, provided the next best thing to real competition in the dark days between May and October. The finale was the 16 team Marathon Relay (complete with virtual batons) the same day as the London Marathon.
The Covid Cup was initiated this year with the following in mind:
a. Provide Milers with some motivation and focus for continued training in a Covid environment;
b. Allow for a training programme which was very much focused towards specific events (instead of randomised training)
c. Provide a means for members to stay connected with each other
The Covid Cup Calendar evolved in distance, commencing with a 5k, 10k, followed by a Half marathon, before resetting to a an experimental Mile programme, and then culminating with a Marathon relay, largely to ensure all members were given the opportunity to say ‘I participated in a marathon in 2020’.
The commitment and performances we saw throughout the year really spoke to what a Running Club is all about – spirit, camaraderie and support, with running the common thread. The race calendar saw our Elites step in, with Dion and Steve Dineen showing their pedigree across the 5k and 10k events, with Matt Adams displaying his contention for Athlete of the Year through a ridiculously strong progression across all events and demonstrating the role that strength plays in speed development and outcomes. Some other key callouts were Simon Tu and Julie-Anne Undrill who fired throughout the series.
While we hope a Covid Cup is not required again, I hope it also demonstrated that a Running Club can play a key role in adversity, and its ability to provide members with challenge, connection and achievement in all times.
Thanks to Sean Helmot
A big thanks to Helmot for organising the Covid Cup, and providing exceptional training sessions, online support network, video updates, interviews and previews. Thanks!