ACT News


Ideal fun run conditions put a spring in their step

It was, in the words of the victor, ''my kind of weather''.

Almost 5000 people took part in the 36th annual Canberra Times Fun Run yesterday under a perfect spring sky.

The ideal running conditions - the temperature was nudging 11 degrees at the 9.15am start - helped marathon specialist Gemechu Woyecha to his third win, following victories in 2003 and 2004.

The 33-year-old Ethiopian-Qatari, who lives in Florey, finished the 10km race in 30 minutes and 30 seconds, 17sec ahead of Erwin McRae, of Dunlop, another past winner of the event.

However, despite the favourable conditions, the race record - Rob de Castella's 29:01 run in 1990 - remained unbroken.

Gemechu, a professional runner who also won this year's Weston Creek half-marathon in May, has spent much of the past year recovering from an injured Achilles tendon. But he said he felt great after yesterday's run, which was part of his training for next Sunday's Sydney marathon.


''It was fantastic; a great day to run. This is my kind of weather.''

Yass resident Fleur Flanery, 43, was the first woman to cross the line, with a time of 37:33.

Flanery, an ACT public servant, trains twice a week with renowned sports scientist and coach Dick Telford. She said she was thrilled with her performance, which was her first win of the event.

''It was such a beautiful day and such a wonderful atmosphere … Canberra looked beautiful this morning, especially the trees.''

However, the first person to cross the line yesterday was Sydney's Paul Nunnari, who completed the wheelchair category with a time of 26:29.

The 39-year-old former Paralympian, who won a silver medal in the men's 4x100m relay at the Games in 2000, said the Canberra Times Fun Run was ''a great race and a great community event''.

''I just feel so good to be back racing and having fun.''

This year's race raised almost $75,000 for more than 170 charities across Australia, including its main partner, the Heart Foundation.

The foundation's ACT chief executive, Tony Stubbs, said the funds would be used to raise awareness of the warning signs of heart attacks.

''[Our] campaign tells people what the warning signs of a heart attack are, and reminds them to call triple-0,'' he said. ''Our research shows us there are many people who don't know these signs, and how important it is to get help quickly.''

In yesterday's 5km fun run, Theodore's Adrian Plummer was the first man to cross the line, with a time of 17:52.

Kambah's Keely Small was the fastest woman.

Her time was 18:19.