Keen runners back for more

Runners set out early.

By Tania Phillips

For the first time ever the previous year’s winners in both the men’s and categories will be back to defend their titles at the Warwick Pentathrun around the Southern Downs this weekend.

Pentathrun president Neil Burtenshaw said Peter Bracken and Olivia Lennon had both nominated again for the event which will see 400-500 runners compete in five races over two days.

The combined kilometres of the five events, held at different venues around the region, makes up the 42.2km distance of a marathon.

“We’ve had some Olympic competitors in the past,” he said.

“We’ve had a couple of international runners compete. This year will be a first for us having both winners of the pentathrun back to defend their titles.”

He said the event was now in it’s 23rd year and was very popular with runners across South East Qld.

“It’s a set a of running races that happen in the late weekends in May every year,” Burtenshaw said explaining the popular event.

“The first race is a half marathon, then we do a cross country and a five kilometre road race all on the Saturday. On Sunday morning all the competitors will get up and do a 10 km hill climb and then a 1500m sprint of the main street of Warwick. All of those distances total 42.2km so you’re doing a marathon in five races over two days.”

“We have age groups and age categories.”

The South East Queensland region has a lot of running clubs in it and so most of the competitors will come from around this wider region.

“Our numbers are a little bit down this year, we’ve had a few challenges getting traffic management underway,” he said.

“This year for the first time we’ll be running a brand new half marathon course. This is one of the rarer events where you actually get to run somewhere when you’re running in a race.

“So, we will have a 21km race race we will be running from Warwick out to Yangan.

“We will have 400-500 people in each race. We are a little bit down on numbers but it will still be a good event, that’s about the size we’re comfortable with.”

The races are a challenge but after more than two decades the organisers have setting up and clearing up down to a fine art.

“Logistically each of these races is in different locations so our set up is very mobile,” Burtenshaw said.

“We can turn up run the race and disappear and have all the logistics up and out of the way in about an hour for an event.

“You’d hardly notice we’re there before hand and you won’t afterwards”

He said the first race starts on the outskirts of Warwick and goes out to Yangan. The second race is out at Morgan Park at the Horse Trials ground, it’s a cross country.

“The third, which a lot of competitors love, is a 5km road race that starts and finishes at the Sandy Creek Hotel,” he said.

“Everybody loves to finish the day with a few beers at a pub. Then we do a few presentations afterwards on the Saturday. On Sunday morning we go out to Killarney to run from Killarney up to Queen Mary Falls for the 10 km accent.

“That’s an early morning run as the sun is coming up over the mountains so the views are spectacular. The runners definitely enjoy the scenery if they’ve got enough energy to take it in instead of just working their way up the hill.

“We finish up in the main part of Warwick with the 1500metre sprint. So that’s quite a festive way to finish at Sunday lunchtime.”

There will be prizes for those people doing all five including age category prizes (in five year age gaps).

“For the main races ages start at 16 however for the shorter races we allow any kid to run in the races that are not 10km or half marathon. Any of the shorter races, any child can do it as long as they can make the cut off time,” he said.

“We have kids starting at five or six right up to 16 in age categories at all.

Registrations on Friday at Warwick RSL and then Saturday morning at 6.30am the runners all assemble on Wireless Lane near Warwick.