Runners tackle iconic Blue Lake course

TOP EFFORT: Danny Habets gives a thumbs up as he crosses the line to win the half marathon. Pictures: JAMES MURPHY

James Murphy

THE 12th annual Blue Lake Fun Run was contested on Sunday morning, with 533 runners and walkers taking to the start line across four distances.

After finishing fourth last year – in the inaugural half marathon at the event – Mount Gambier’s Danny Habets secured first place in the 21.1km half marathon distance.

He crossed the line in 1:25:49 to secure the honours by almost two minutes.

A sprint to the line between Tre Davis and Tye McManus had the former claim second by one hundredth of a second to complete the men’s podium.

The first of the women was Johannah Pham, who also finished the 2022 race in fourth.

She bested last year’s time by three minutes to cross in 1:30:31 and secure a comfortable win from Stephanie Wighton and Kathryn Auld in second and third respectively.

In the 10.4km race it was Suttontown young-gun Josh Cameron who impressed.

He secured the overall victory with a time of 38:22, eight seconds ahead of runner-up Daniel Foster.

Mount Gambier’s Nikki Smart defended her long-standing title when she finished third overall to secure the women’s win.

Jarred Dempsey was next across the finish line to wrap up the men’s podium, while Tash Spada and Bec Peters rounded out the top three for the women.

The 6.8km circuit was won in 27:59 by Mount Gambier’s Joshua Peters.

He finished strongly to best runner-up Jack O’Connor by 16 seconds, while Luke Scott was also close behind to claim third place.

Mount Gambier’s Rubi Watson was the best of the women’s category, an impressive effort as she slotted into the Under 14 category.

Millicent Under 18 Lauren Van Eeden also impressed and she finished second for the girls, with another Mount Gambier youngster in Lila Foster rounding out the top three.

The shortest distance, the 3.2km race, was also dominated by young runners.

Portland Under 14 Harry Thomas won the event with a speedy time of 12:53, while Mount Gambier’s Benjo Russell and Penola’s Brody McDonald – both also Under 14’s – both finished within the next 40 seconds.

Next across the line was girl’s winner Shayden Russell, racing in the 14-15 age group from Mount Gambier.

She won from Maggie and Rosie Collins, the former also in the 14-15 year old bracket.

Following the morning’s racing presentations were held at the Cave Gardens, where medals were presented to the top three men and women in each category.

Cheques were also presented to local charities, with any surplus of funds from the Mount Gambier Lakes Rotary Club run event donated back into the community.