Women’s running has been on a meaningful growth curve of numbers for many years now, but the standard of performance has not always kept up, nor has the standard of men’s running for that matter.
Hanlie Botha has been a stand out performer at Surfers whenever she has run, and young Jessica Pollock was a surprise package in 2010 when, as an unknown 16 year old, she won the race.
Disappointment was rife this year as Botha would not be running due to having recently given birth.
Surfers had however attracted a new fan in Myrette Filmalter, an international athlete who ran an “unofficial” second in 2011. She had stumbled across the race in a coffee shop on the morning thereof.
The organisers wisely decided to fly Filmalter down to race in 2012.
Pollock meanwhile had moved on to study medicine in Cape Town and was not going to be able to make it back. The all rounder had much to keep her occupied. That all changed when on the morning of the race, mom Shirley phoned to see if she could be entered as Jessica was desperate to run. There was a flight that would get her to EL Airport by 1:30 p.m.. The airport is on the western seaboard and the race would start at 2:30 on the eastern seaboard. The distance was not the problem – the traffic congestion to the start would be. Throwing caution to the wind she made the journey, once dad had agreed to funding the trip.
Pollock admitted afterwards that is was all a blur as she raced from one point to the next. “Only when I got to the start line did I wake up.” said the waif of a girl.
Pretoria based Myrette had meanwhile been in East London for some time and was able to ease into the race.
Filmalter was not in charitable mood once the race started and she shot to the front. Pollock, just 18 years old and still in-experienced in top flight running gave chase as best she knew how.
Filmalter made the difficult, rocky and because of the high tide very narrow first 6km look a “parkrun.” Pollock too glided her way across.
Andrea Ranger and Steph Ackermann were meanwhile fighting it out for 3rd and 4th position.
Filmalter never lost a stride and she powered her way to win in what appears to be a new women’s race record of 78:21 – beating Botha’s best of 78:35 set in 2008, but that was on a course one kilometre shorter so this is definitely a new course record – 81:50 being the previous best.
Pollock who took 5:28 off her time last year improved by another 4:24 this year, finishing second in 83:31
Ranger ran a good PB and finished third in 88:58, with Ackermann 1:56 further back to finish fourth.
Charne Keese was the stand out surfer girl registering a 2:22:23 win in her category.
Catherine Atkinson’s 79:02 scored her a second successive win in the women’s single ski, while in the mixed section Colin Hall, once a top surfer runner, teamed up with Lynn McAllister to win that section in 71:26.