It was a modest turnout for the Independence weekend meet of Port Moresby Road Runners at POM Grammar on Saturday afternoon. But the 38 who took part enjoyed wonderfully cool and breezy conditions, enhancing their fitness levels and rejoicing in their freedom and independence.
Paul Muri got the proceedings off to a bright start with a breathtaking win in the 2.2-kilometre race, which went down to the first roundabout on Taurama Road and back, in 10 minutes 28 seconds, just ahead of Mathias Vincent (10.29), Austie Ipai (11.32) and David Junior (11.39).
Theresa Titus was the leading female in 12.47, while Johnny Inaia (12.54) led home Rose Paul (13.14), Glenda Yuwi (14.04), Esther Lilivo (14.05), Dorcas Baia (14.11), Evoa Erika (14.12), John Reesink (14.42), Jack Reuben (19.14), Raj Gonsal (26.38) and veteran Ajit Muttu (26.44).
The second event on the card over 5.5-km, took the runners into the teeth of a howling southerly buster to the second roundabout before they gained the benefit of the big breeze for their uphill climb back.
Joshua John and Xavier Kavan had an enthralling battle before John belted clear up the last hill to Bava Street and surged into the finish straight in 26.52, to edge out Kavan in 27.00. Titus Moroi was the only other runner to make it home under 30 minutes, in 28.59.
Falyn Buda was the leading female in 35.16, when she dead-heated for fourth with Robert Michael. Jacob Sailas had the honour of being the only other member of the sub-40-minute brigade in 36.04.
VeteranTitus Tobia took charge of the second half of the pack in 40.16, Rose and David Lea trundled down to the turnaround together but on the way back, Rose asserted her authority with a sterling 41.17, leaving David in her wake in 44.58.
Paulus Opus (48.05) had just enough firepower to overcome Simon Nutley (49.03) and Graeme O’Flaherty (54.44). Skene Kiage never looked like doing anything but winning the longest event, down to the third roundabout and back, a distance of 8.6-km.
In the absence of newfound nemesis, Stanley John, the Simbu warrior got home in 36.03, from Micah Fito, who again looked like he was in cruise control in 37.38.
Veterans Swans Pinampio (40.49), James Gurumi (42.54) and Eddie Joe (46.25) showed the youngsters what perseverance and panache are all about, while Laurence Augustine (47.38), John Ulelu (48.08), Soa Gor (48.16), Peter Motanya (49.03), Henry Horou (55.28) and Michael Sullivan (56.10) were the other diehards to strut their pluck and pugnacity.
Next weekend, it’s the first of three double-headers which will see out the year.
On Saturday at 5pm the runners will meet at the Solomon Highlands High Commission in Gordon’s five.
Then on Sunday at 5am it’s the annual 15-km Ela Beach @ Beyond that kicks off in the new car park opposite Ela Beach hotel.
Remember that no one is too fast, too slow or too old at road runners.
New runners, walkers and joggers of all standards and abilities are always welcome.