INAUGURAL winners of the Warrnambool Running Festival’s half-marathon Tom Hynes and Rachel Ayres have their eyes firmly set on their next race, the Melbourne Marathon, next month.
The pair both stated the 21-kilometre run around Warrnambool on Sunday morning was part of their training for the highly popular running festival in the state’s capital.
For Hynes, who has recently come back from injury, it was a perfect lead up to the half-marathon.
“I wanted to do it and see where I am at,” the Warrnambool resident said.
“I wanted to push as I’m hoping do to the half-marathon in Melbourne and it was a good hitout for as I’m still rebuilding from a stress reaction in my left foot.
“I’ve been building up my running in recent weeks.”
Ayers, who is originally from Timboon but now lives in Melbourne, is building to tackle the marathon.
“I’m training for my second marathon and I’m hoping to do a lot better this year than last year,” she said.
“I’m feeling a lot better than last year and this was just a bit of a training run.”
Hynes finished in a time of one hour, 12 minutes and 24 seconds. He was five minutes ahead of Ben Wallis (one hour, 17 minutes and six seconds) in second spot and 11 in front third-placed runner Michael Winzar (one hour, 23 minutes and 50 seconds).
Ayers completed the new look half-marathon, which replaced the Koroit to Warrnambool, in one hour, 31 minutes and 57 seconds.
Freya Parrotte (one hour, 41 minutes and eight seconds) was 10 minutes back in second with Tracy Gedye (one hour, 45 minutes and 44 seconds) a further four minutes back in third.
Both winners thought the new course was a reinvigorating addition to the event, which for the first time also included a six and 12-kilometre run.
Emily Jansz (25 minutes and 45 seconds) and Stephen Crowe (23 minutes and 11 seconds) were the winners of the six-kilometre run.
Melbourne-based runner Tabatha O'Sullivan-Kirchner (57 minutes and 45 seconds) and Brendon Paterson (52 minutes and 48 seconds) stormed home to claim the first 12-kilometre run title.
Warrnambool Athletics Club president Ash Ansell said the first running of the festival went smoothly.
“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “Everyone was excited and we got some good feedback on the course and after yesterday’s weather I was happy to see the sun out.
“We felt we were just short of 200 and that was our benchmark leading in and it’s really hard to tell as with local races as people tend leave it to the last minute.
“But for a first-time event we think it has been really well supported and give us a good stepping stone to make it a bigger next year.”