With thanks to Anton van Bavel
Heavy rain on a warm evening was not sufficient to deter eight athletes, and a couple of hardy officials, who took part in the State 10,000m Championships at SA Athletics Stadium on Wednesday 9 March 2016.
The night had promised to be a good one for running, with humid yet cool conditions resulting in some quality times in the earlier Masters competition. However, the athletes commenced the mentally and physically gruelling 25-lap journey around the circular track just after 8pm amidst a few spits of rain, which soon turned into showers and then a slow and steady downpour which lasted from 15 laps to go until the conclusion of the race.
It was in these trying conditions - more akin to a cross country in July than a track championship in March as competitors battled both the rain in their faces and large puddles on the track - that Steven Evanson of Flinders and Lisa Davis of Hills Districts emerged triumphant as the Open champions for 2015-2016.
The eventual Under 20 male champion, Riley Konecny of Enfield Harriers, set a quick pace from the gun and led for the first couple of laps, before dropping back and being overtaken by Everson and the other Open male, the evergreen Adam Zur Eich of Enfield Harriers. Evanson, who ran much of the race by himself in front, took the title in 35:22.92 from Zur Eich in 36:56.49. Konecny, who finished strongly, was third across the line overall in 38:05.69. Gordon Kanki-Knight, who was taking a break from 800m training to contest this event and battled hard early before finding a comfortable pace, took the Over 35 title in a time of 42:45.24.
Davis again proved her worth and durability by adding another Open women's distance title to her name, crossing the line just under the 40-minute barrier with the aid of a powerful finish in 39:54.88. Montana Macfarlane of Salisbury, who was able to stick with Davis in the early laps, completed the journey in 41:36.10 to wipe a minute from her personal best and take the Under 20 crown. Ruby Turner from Hills Districts maintained a steady pace throughout the race, much of it which she ran by herself, to take silver in the Open event in a time of 44:29.75. Hills Districts were also represented in the form of Felicity Alexander, who took the Over 35 title in 53:49.68 to round out the competition.
The conditions meant that all competitors well and truly earned their medals. It is hoped that more athletes can be encouraged to participate in this state title next season.