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Hot times & Cool Runnings for Tropical Peaks

by Tom Coull on 2 Oct 2000
High temperatures couldn't slow competitors in last weekend's Mount Gay Tropical Peaks race
around the Whitsundays, running teams and yachts setting some hot times in each of the event's
legs over the two day mini marathon.

The only slow part of the annual race was the first sailing leg, from Airlie Beach to Hayman Island,
an unseasonal and unfortunate lack of wind forcing the fleet to motor to the luxury resort island
before unleashing the running teams on the first of their eight kilometre cross-country runs.

The second sailing leg, from Hayman Island to Hamilton Island, provided a great spinnaker run, the
patchy breeze helping to compress the fleet and make for very close racing for the entire run up the
Whitsunday passage.

The fleet of sailors and runners spent Saturday night on Hamilton Island enjoying the world renoun
hospitality of the Hamilton Island Sailing Club, most of the runners taking time off from adjusting to
newly found sea legs.

Sunday mornings Hamilton Island to South Molle Island race took place in a 15 knot north-easter
and despite a strong adverse tide the yachts set a very fast pace, particularly Breakaway (Rob
Davis), which was emerging as a clear front-runner in Division Two and Pegasus (John Usher) which
was setting the pace in Division One.

The fleet enjoyed a breeze of up to 18 knots in the final sailing leg from South Molle to Airlie Beach,
where the runners faced their last run -- a gruelling eight km from the Coral Seas Resort, up and
down every hill in the resort town before crossing the welcome finish line at the Whitsunday Sailing
Club.

Top individual running team went to the Mackay Road Runners Club representatives Warren Meng
and Peter Lally, their effort almost matched by the excellent sailing put in by their team boat
Deception (Murray Sanders), which finished second in Division One, to give Deception overall
second with the running and sailing times combined.

The overall winner was Breakaway (Rob Davis), whose running team, Keith Bateman and Greg Watt
from the Townsville RAAF Runners, came sixth in the running events, while Breakaway blitzed
every sailing leg, taking the win in Division Two.

Third overall was Pianola III (David McMahon), whose running team of Gerrard Joubert and Charlie
Martel were second fastest. Pianola, as one of the big boats in the event with two running
teams, managed a rare double by also coming fourth.

Fifth was Pegasus (John Usher), ahead of Elyara (Jeff Brown), Fallen Angels (Murray Kennedy),
Livewire (Polly Fitzgerald), Gumblossom (John Latchford) and Scimitar (Warren Smith).

All the competitors hailed the Mount Gay Tropical Peaks 2000 as a brilliant event and the
presentations reflected the great times enjoyed by all the teams. Mackay Road Runners Club
president Bob Martin said the 10 club runners were almost overwhelmed by not only the event, but
also the spirit of the competition.

"With the Tropical Peaks and the Triathlon, Airlie has two fantastic events which will become
permanent dates in runners' diaries,and with the changes proposed for the 20001 Tropical Peaks, it
can only get better" he said

WSC Rear Commodore Offshore Kevin Fogarty said changes for the 2001 event include holding the
Ailie Beach running leg first, to maximise the race's attraction in Airlie, and also to enable the
runners to relax and enjoy the final sailing leg.

"The input we've had from the runners, volunter officials and sailors is helping us fine tune the
event," he said. "Each year everyone has enjoyed it, but we're still managing to make it even better,
year by year."

"That's particularly thanks to the huge team of volunteers it takes to run the event. The logistics
alone are huge and its thanks to them and our sponsors that the Tropical Peaks is such a great
event." Fogarty added.

For more information

Contact tom coull.media Ph (07) 49481096 email tcmedia@airliebeach.net.au

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