Nationals, Hare & Hounds, and the De Castella Run

Saturday 27 – Sunday 28 August 2022

National Cross Country Championships, Oakbank Racecourse, South Australia

The first event of the weekend was the massive National Cross Country Championships, this year held at the iconic Oakbank Racecourse, just out of Adelaide. The course, treacherous enough for the horses, was full of thick grass and even thicker mud, proving tough for competitors. Despite this, OXAC had some great results.

In the Women’s, Annabelle Colman (11:41) led from the front in the 3km event, with Georgia Powning (12:18) close behind. Clara Campillos (15:01), Lexi Guiney (16:48), and Amelie Lague (17:27) also ran excellently over the tough course to record great times.

Cam Marshall (10:43), Harry Mezger (11:19), and Carlo Manolitsas (12:37) flew the flag for OXAC and Victoria in the Men’s event, also over 3km. Special mention must also go to many of these athletes who wasted no time in returning to Melbourne on Saturday afternoon to participate in the De Castella Run! Full results are available here.

Cam Marshall (L) with his 2nd place medal

APSOC Hare & Hounds Handicap, Caulfield Grammar, Wheeler’s Hill

Back in Melbourne, the last weekend in August brought with it a hint of spring weather in the air, but certainly not in the ground at Caulfield Grammar, Wheeler’s Hill, which was extremely muddy and wet for competitors in the Hare & Hounds Handicap. The race, now in its second running at the new venue, starts and finishes within Caulfield Grammar but is mostly run around Jells Park, including a lap around the lake and a killer hill just before halfway.

Some of the wise gentlemen of the club – Dean, Bob, Anthony, Pablo, and Christopher

OXAC had 9 runners of the 63 total in the 8km race, with the other events of the weekend no doubt limiting our numbers somewhat. Despite that, we still managed a few podium finishes, with Bob Meek (46:54) coming 2nd in the handicap event and Aidan Jackson (28:04) 3rd off scratch. As always, Pablo Campillos (32:04) donned the red and black for a solid performance, the fastest by an M50, and talking of consistency – Margaret Fitzgerald (38:31) was the fastest W60 on the day.

Bob Meek with his 2nd place medal in the handicap

It was great to see other OXAC runners out there traversing the puddles of Jells Park and mud of the soccer ovals, including Geray Karademir (36:51), and father-daughter duo Montana Whiteley (39:11) and Dean Whiteley (46:38). OXAC stalwarts Christopher Worsnop (46:29) and Anthony Walsh (51:07) rounded out our competitors on the day. Full results are available here.

Father and daughter – Dean and Montana Whiteley – after the race

De Castella Run, Xavier College Burke Hall, Kew

The weekend culminated on the Sunday with the 40th running of the De Castella Fun Run. This is an iconic run through the hills of Kew Boulevard, and a major fundraiser for both charities such as 1 in 5 and Indigenous Marathon Foundation, and OXAC itself.

There was a fantastic turnout of runners in all three of the 15km, 10km, and 5km events, with Australian marathon legend Rob de Castella present to pump the crowd up at the start line for all 3 events, and then participate in the 5km himself!

Rob de Castella pumps the crowd up before the 15km event

Special credit must go to the organisers of the event, particularly Shannon Cole and all of the volunteers who make the day happen. Jez Spradbery and Lucy Permezel toiled away assisting with setting up and packing up; Anthony de Castella, Steve McDonald, Sarah Costi, Laura Robson, and Christy Bonstelle assisted with the registrations; Drew Cole, Aidan Biggar, Peter Curtis, and John MacMillan were out on course marshalling; Darren Templeton helped to organise the mentor crew which included Pete Chappell, Miles Bergin, and Aidan Jackson; and Eamon O’Callaghan was the king of the airwaves, MC-ing the event in style. And I’m sure we missed a few names, so thanks to all who contributed!

Rob again, just before the start of the 5km event

Lots of red & black was also in the race as well! As well as there aforementioned IST runners, it was great to see Peter England, Serge Tarzio, Pierre Guillon and many more in the race. There are many others who helped out in many different ways, including participating in the race, to make the day such a special event for the people of Kew and of OXAC, and such a great fundraiser. Full results are available here.

The pointy end of the season looms for OXAC, with only 3 more events for the Winter season. Next week sees the AV Burnley Half-Marathon at Yarra Boulevard in Richmond. The following weekend is the massive APSOC Cooke McClelland, not only OXAC’s hosted race, but the final race of the season and one where OXAC has a great opportunity to cap off a fantastic year! We want to get as many red & black athletes down to Burke Hall at 1:30pm on Saturday 10 September to repeat the dominance we have held all season.

Go Xavs!

Aidan Jackson

OXAC Men’s Captain