Tag Archives: running

Abbey’s off to the Paris Olympics

FROM THE Doncaster Athletics Track to the Stade De France, Warrandyte’s Abbey Caldwell gets her chance to compete at the 2024 Olympic Games.
The 22-year-old had her ticket to the Paris Games confirmed in April as part of the first intake of athletes for Australia’s track and field team, locked in for the 800 metres scheduled to commence on August 3.
A silver medal at the 2024 Australian Athletics Championships put the final flourish on her selection in a steady rise for Abbey, one of the country’s premier middle-distance athletes.
The Warrandyte local now has a deserved opportunity to make her dash at glory in the pinnacle of her sport, but she told the Diary that it might take some time for it all to sink in.

“I feel like it hasn’t properly sunk in yet.
Certainly, finding out the news was a euphoric feeling.
There was a lot of emotion in that, and I couldn’t stop the happy tears.
That feeling alone was exciting, but then it was like, that’s in August, so I had to switch the mindset.
I’m hoping that when I get into the athletes village and experience being in that environment, it will sink in, but at the end of the day, we’re going over to compete and be at our best.
It’s still a very long road of training and life beforehand, but it’s nice to have an exciting future goal and not necessarily chasing anything or waiting to qualify.
I’m just enjoying the ride at the moment, knowing there’s an exciting time ahead.”

At just 22, the star’s running exploits already stack up as one of the most impressive in the travelling Aussies’ squad.
A famous bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the 1500m lives fresh in the mind, but since then, Abbey has continued to elevate herself.
A World Athletics Cross Country Championships mixed relay bronze in early 2023 added to her medal collection, and since then, it’s been a procession of smashed PBs.
As holder of Australia’s second-fastest women’s 800m time (1:58.48), Abbey comes into the Games ready and raring to make an impact, and she’s drawing on her experiences on the big stage when setting her sights on her Olympic goals.
But it’s a goal in two as she explains that walking away with nothing left in the tank would be reward enough.

“I think ultimately the goal is to go in and make the final,” she said.
“It’s very much easier said than done because there are three rounds of running before the final.
“It’s a long road, but I think setting that goal came off last year at the World Championships, missing out on the final in the 800m by .02 seconds.
“I think that’s made me want to make it there.
“But if I can walk away from the Olympics and say that I put it all on the track on the day, I enjoyed the experience, then I know I’ll be happy.”

Abbey departs for Europe shortly to kickstart her road to the Games, with several races and a six-week training block taking prime focus for the newly minted Olympic Australian.

“I’ll get over there and do three or four races across a few different cities.
“We have a training camp in Saint Moritz,” she said.
“That will all take about six weeks, and before we know it, we’ll be heading into the staging camp, which will be in Montpellier.”

A well-known face around the area, Abbey’s athletics journey began 17 years ago at Doncaster Little Athletics Club, marking the beginning of a steady progression through the ranks.

“I was pretty much just like any other kid being thrown into sport.
“I dabbled in basketball, tennis, Auskick.
“I ended up at Doncaster Athletics Track on a Saturday morning and really enjoyed it.
“My brothers were both around there.
“I think the Little Aths environment was really healthy, and I was fortunate to have a good age group, which made it enjoyable.”

Abbey added the social side of the athletics made a big difference.

“The social component was nice and kept me in sport, and as we progressed through the age groups, it just gradually progressed from starting at Little Aths to participating in school Aths.
“Then it was a state team, and then I made my first international junior team in Year 11, and I thought, this is going somewhere.
“Ever since then, it’s just progressed.”

But as she has stated, it takes a village to support developing athletes, and she points to her family and coach as key influences on her journey.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate; I’ve been with my coach for 10 years now,” she said.
“It’s quite rare in athletics to have that lasting connection with your coach, especially from a young age.
“I wouldn’t be here without the support of Mum, Dad, my brothers.
“They say it takes a village, and it does.
“There are so many people along the way, and having that support is phenomenal.”

Her hometown will also be behind her when the Games are officially unveiled, with the Opening Ceremony commencing on July 26.
The Olympic Games will take place in Paris from July 26 to August 11, and the Women’s 800 metre event is scheduled to take place on August 3 (heats), August 5 (semi-finals), and the final to take place on August 6. The Nine Network will provide coverage of events.
Go Abbey!


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Community fun (run)

THE WEATHER gods were looking favourably at Warrandyte for the 13th running of the town’s annual fun run, for the weather was — dare I say — perfect.
The format of the event has been pretty stable for the last four years. The predictable course and distance options — ranging from 2.2 kilometres to 21km — are proving attractive to runners both local and from further afield.
While lapped courses are not always popular, the course at Run Warrandyte, with its meandering climb up Everard Drive, which has a great river aspect, to the scenic single trail in the Pound Reserve, makes the idea of “just one more lap” that little bit easier.
With a 7:30am start, it’s all over in time for elevenses or even an early lunch at one of the many cafés in Warrandyte.
But regardless of whether you are a daily jogger, an avid road or trail runner, or if Run Warrandyte is part of your New Year’s resolution to be more active, the feeling that cuts through it all is the sense of community.
Before the first runners were even on the course, the event village was buzzing, with stands by the major sponsors, food vendors, and activities for kids, plus just friends and runners seeking each other out and having a catch-up before the runs got underway, with representation from nearby running clubs such as the Diamond Creek Runners (DCR), and Westerfoldians, and Warrandyte’s very own Warrandyte River Runners.
Even post-run, many stuck around the event village to bask in the glorious warmth of the mid-morning sun, get a massage from PhysioLife, buy new running gear from The Running Company Lilydale, or partake of some fantastic coffee and snacks thanks to Scrumdiddely café.
This event is nothing without the volunteers who were — as always — cheerful and encouraging, with a special shout out to the Warrandyte Netball Club for the imaginative signs which distracted, entertained, and possibly tormented (I’m talking about “It’s just a hill get over it”) runners on course this year.
The result is anticipation for 2025, when the Warrandyte will once again embrace the running community to share just one more lap of the West End and the Pound while raising funds for our local sporting group.
If you ran in this year’s event and want to know your official time, visit www.runwarrandyte.com.


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Warm up for Run Warrandyte

CALLING ALL runners, walkers, weekend warriors, and those that like to come along for the egg and bacon rolls.
Registration for Run Warrandyte is officially open. All your favourite events will return on Sunday, March 3, 2024.
From the kids’ gallop to the five-kilometre crowd favourite and our calf burning 21km, we’ve got an event for every age and fitness level.
Run Warrandyte 2023 (RW23) saw our biggest turnout yet, with nearly 800 runners registering.
And wow — we also saw some blistering times. Steven Dineen beat the course record with a 1:16:11 in the 21km.
Personally, I don’t think he tried hard enough.
Just kidding.
We are absolutely thrilled with the growth of the event and the calibre of runners the event is attracting.
We have certainly become a must on the running calendar. Plus, what’s not to love about the event?
Run Warrandyte takes you through the beautiful, bushy State Park and along the Yarra River.
It’s challenging, with many hills, but the road home is completely downhill.
When we asked participants what they loved the most about the event, the people lining the streets cheering them on every step of the way was the cherry on top.
We are also pretty pumped that Run Warrandyte has raised over $132,480 for our local sporting clubs over the past 12 years.
We are often asked about where the profits from Run Warrandyte go. As most of you know, we split the profits between our four local sporting clubs, the Warrandyte Netball Club, Warrandyte Cricket Club, Warrandyte Football Club and Warrandyte Junior Football Club.
This year, we asked the clubs to share how they spent their donation.
We’ll discuss more about this in the near future, but from training tops with better sun protection for our future netball stars, specialised coaching for the women and girls’ cricket teams, and funding for programs, equipment and leadership development, the profits shared from Run Warrandyte have been well spent.
When you’re tackling the hills of West End and The Pound on March 3, remember that it’s because of you we can help increase the opportunities and access for people to participate in community sports.
So, everyone’s a winner.
We can’t run this event without the amazing sponsorship of community businesses and the brilliant donations we receive every year, so again, we sincerely thank you for your support.
We are thrilled to announce that our Naming Sponsor, the Community Bank Warrandyte, has made Run Warrandyte possible again for the 13th consecutive year.
Please get behind the Warrandyte Community Bank, which returns 80 per cent of its profits to the community.
We would like to thank our 2023 sponsors and hope that they will partner with us again this year for RW24: The Grand Hotel, Quinton’s IGA, Australia Online, Charlie Bins, Goldfields Family Medical Centre, Physiolife Johnstone & Reimer, Just Water, and Kwill Constructions.
Thanks to all the fantastic 2023 prize sponsors, the runner’s village, the runner’s bag, and everyone else who makes Run Warrandyte absolutely fantastic. Wellness by PP, BCreative, the Running Company Lilydale, Hopetoun Natural Therapies, Vanilla Orchid, Jellis Craig, Cygnet, Alpine Timing, Muscle Magic, Chief Nutrition, Sassafras Sweet Co, Scrumdiddely Cakes and Café, Primary Focus, R4U Coaching, Boost Health, Calla Collective, the Movement Joint, and Photobomb Productions.
We are always on the lookout for sponsorship.
RW has fantastic exposure and reach both on social media and on the day.
We will be reaching out for interest as the year progresses, so keep an eye on our socials if you want your business involved in RW24.
You can also contact us directly at sponsorship@runwarrandyte.com.
If you haven’t had a chance to Run Warrandyte or want a little taster, check out our promo video by Photobomb Productions on our website.
Make sure you follow us on Facebook @RunWarrandyte and Instagram @runwarrandyte, and sign up for newsletters via our webpage at www.runwarrandyte.com.
Let’s crack the 800 and make RW24 our biggest and best yet. We can’t wait to share the day with you again.

Abbey in top form ahead of World Championships

LOCAL GIRL Abbey Caldwell has been in good form recently, racing in the Diamond League competition in Europe.
On July 16, Abbey ran in the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial 800m event in Silesia, Poland, where she finished 5th and ran a Personal Best (PB) time of 1:58.48 — which was not only an Olympic qualifying time but the second fastest Australian female time.
Five days later, Abbey raced in the Herculis Women’s Mile in Monaco, running 4:20.51 and achieving another PB and an Olympic qualifier.
This mile race was also significant because the female world record was run by Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, the third world record she set this year.
Running with some of the world’s best, this is the second race in 2023 in which Abbey has been in the same race as Faith.
The other was in Florence in early June in the 1500m.
In early August, Abbey ran the 1000m at the CITIUS Meeting in Bern, Switzerland. Finishing 1st, Abbey has smashed the 1000m Australian record, running a 2:34.63, making her the fastest Australian woman ever over 1,000 metres.
Abbey’s teammate Linden Hall finished second with a time of 2:35.12. Linden was the previous record holder for the 1000m race, having set the record at Box Hill in 2021, running a 2:35.90.
Coach Gavin Burren was pleased with Abbey’s performances and exposure to world-class races with the world’s best athletes.
Her continual improvement and regular dropping of PBs has been exciting to watch, especially in the lead-up to the World Athletics Championships later this month and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
In the lead-up to the Worlds, Abbey has based herself in Leuven in Belgium and, importantly, now has close family support from older brother Alex, currently residing in London.
Australian female middle-distance running has never been stronger or more exciting, with both Jessica Hull and Linden Hall having outstanding form in Europe and setting Australian records.
The girls continue to push each other, have a genuine competitive friendship, and enjoy each other’s achievements.
The 19th edition of the World Athletics Championships will be in Budapest, Hungary, at the National Athletics Centre. Excitingly, it has been announced that Abbey has made the team and will be running in 800m and 1500m later this month.
Abbey is also now a Puma-sponsored athlete, which has helped somewhat with the enormous cost of training and competing in Europe.
Like many, Abbey began her running journey in grassroots athletics.
For any queries on joining East Doncaster Little Athletics, contact Lisa Williams on 0408 140 461, and for the older athletes, Doncaster Athletics Club president Nathan Down by email on: president@doncasterac.org.au.

Run Warrandyte: Running up that hill

RUNNERS from near and far gathered in Warrandyte, once again, in early March for the 2023 edition of Run Warrandyte.
With the course and distances now well and truly bedded down, more than 500 runners took to the now-familiar course taking in West End and The Pound across 2.2km, 5km, 10km, 15km and 21kms.
Women runners made up about a third of the field over the five distances and nearly half of the 21km runners.
In-general numbers were up from 2022, indicating that this running event is becoming increasingly popular.

Run Warrandyte is a five-ish kilometre loop, starting at the Warrandyte Reserve before climbing up Everard Drive for a scenic loop of The Pound before an even longer climb up to Third Street before descending back down to the Reserve via West End Road — simple, right?
For those running the 5km, it is one hot lap, and with the winning male running a 19:40 and the winning female running a 23:20, this slightly hilly, slightly traily course is pretty fast.
For those running longer distances, this means two, three or four laps.
The 2.2km run/walk event is an uphill slog for most, as participants bypass The Pound section.
This was the third running of this event with a 21km option (four laps), and, once again, this writer and runner could not resist the allure of the “furthest distance on offer”.

A runner’s journey

With the day predicted to be warm, the slightly chilly start at 7:30am was very pleasant.
Compared to the other distances on offer, the 15km and 21km events attract significantly fewer runners, so the combined distances on the starting line made the joint field feel slightly bigger.
Of note on the start line was Thomas Martin in the 15km distance, looking to defend (and subsequently smash) his previous record, completing the 15km course in 58:29 — nearly three minutes quicker than last year — while 2022’s defending Women’s 15km winner, Helen O’Hagen, stepped up to the 21km for 2023 and won with a time of 1:52:14.
Achilles Melbourne, a running club for vision-impaired runners, also returned to 3113 and had runners on course.
For myself, not looking to break any records and looking to take advantage of the generous course cut-off, I set the goal of completing in less than two and a half hours.
With the crowd and the cool, crisp morning air, the starting gun prompted a slightly more energetic start than I anticipated but quickly dissolved any doubts about four laps.
While the day warmed, the moderately wet weather over the last couple of years made for a pleasant jaunt through Warrandyte’s bush landscape, with much of the environment still green.
Kangaroos were also a feature of the course this year, with a couple of the mob keeping me on my toes — thus providing an ideal distraction — as I progressed along the tank track.
Kudos go out to the army of volunteers on the course, offering encouragement and direction where needed.
I extend a particular thank-you to the marshal at the intersection of Pound Road and Third Street for their choice of “tunes” my only request is more Kate Bush next year, and please stick around for the fourth and final lap.

These may be trails that many of us run and walk daily or weekly, but sharing the collective goodwill and spirit of runners, walkers, and marshals submerged in our picturesque landscape is a must-do on the Warrandyte list, and I encourage you all to come out for at least 5kms in 2024.


Congratulations to all participants in Run Warrandyte 2023; below are the 1st–3rd in each event, in order of finishing.
21km Men Stephen Dinneen: 1:16:11, Stephen Barter: 1:20:50, Lee Martin: 1:27:36.
21km Women Helen O’hagan: 1:52:14, Colleen Isaacs: 1:53:44, Emma-Rose Maber: 1:54:00.
15km Men Thomas Martin: 58:29:00, David King: 1:02:45, Brad Bardon: 1:07:17.
15km Women Deb Yann: 1:16:27, Brooke Cooper: 1:18:08, Nerissa Stafford: 1:25:58.
10km Men Brendan Choo: 40:16:00, Tristan Marslen: 43:38:00, Shun Kan Fok: 44:46:00.
10km Women Vanessa Alford: 47:31:00, Emily Sharpe: 48:18:00, Ruby Tinker: 52:46:00.
5km Men Lachie Collins: 19:40, Henry Richards: 21:34, Hunter Hodgson: 21:48.
5km Women Juliette Haddow: 23:20, Ingrid Howlett: 24:07:00, Nicole Humphreys: 25:53:00.
2.2km Men Paul Donahoo: 9:33, Yestin Sanchez: 9:52, Liam Knight: 10:43.
2.2km Women Anna Firth: 10:11, Abbey Morgan: 10:13, Mieke Considine: 10:40.
U8 Boys Rafa Johnson: 0:54, Harry Malone: 1:01, Adhrith Paratal: 1:05.
U8 Girls Evie Beal: 1:11.


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Run Warrandyte: the tale of the trail

THAT INTERIM period where the cricket season is winding down and the footy season hasn’t quite started yet means only one thing for our local running community; it is time — once again — to lace up those runners and tackle the Run Warrandyte fun run.
This is the second year of the 21km course option, and the allure of a half-marathon and any excuse to run the picturesque riverside trial in Pound Bend saw me two-for-two with the 21km distance.
For those who do not know, the 5km–21km distances are one to four laps of a course that takes runners up Everard Drive and onto the Tank Track, before a sweeping downhill section to the walking track, then the hard slog up to Third Street, before following West End Road back down to the Sports Pavilion and the start/ finish.
With its placement at the beginning of March, often bushfires, dehydration, and snakes are your biggest worry.
But, the recent, unusual weather and the brief soaking the township received the previous day, the course and conditions were cool and damp, making for some fast single trail through the lush, green forest alongside a flowing Yarra River.
Four laps of this course has you out there for a long time, but starting first and finishing after all the other distances had been completed meant I managed to see most of the other distance runners out on the course.
From 5km to 21km, young kids to seasoned recreational runners, everyone was smiling and just enjoying being out in Warrandyte’s bush environment.
Hats off to the community of volunteers who gave up a sleep-in on a Sunday morning to guide and cheer the runners around the course.
With a little over 100 metres of elevation per lap, the 21km event accumulates between 400 and 450 metres (depending on your smartwatch) of elevation over the four laps, which makes this course fun but challenging at any distance.
The atmosphere around the event village was electric, and kudos to the organisers who have designed a course where the buzz of onlookers and the activities in the event village invigorates and motivates you to go another lap.
I can say with certainty that the Run Warrandyte fun run has matured into an excellent community event, and I am looking forward to taking on its challenging hills and trails in 2023.
I hope they don’t add any more laps; I might not be able to help myself.

For all of this year’s results visit: https://www.runwarrandyte.com/

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Running into 2021

Photo: Gavid D Andrew Photographer

WARRANDYTE’S celebrated community running event, Run Warrandyte, is toeing the line for a celebration of sport, health, and community as the event committee makes final preparations for its 10th anniversary run.
Preparation for this event is a year-long process and the uncertainty of Coronavirus restrictions has made planning for 2021 trickier than usual, but the Run Warrandyte Committee has sculpted an event to allow walkers, joggers and runners, of all abilities, to celebrate Warrandyte’s bush setting and the spirit of community in a COVID-Safe way.
Run Warrandyte committee representative, Michelle Bean, spoke to WD Bulletin about the challenges and changes to this year’s event.

“COVID created a challenge to our committee this year, as we had to come up with an event that would fit in with restrictions and also be flexible and adjustable to any potential lockdowns we might be back in on the February 28.
“We feel we have created something that fits those requirements,” she said.

Currently set to occur on Sunday, February 28, the event will be capped at 500 participants with an option to switch to a 30-day virtual option if Melbourne or Victoria is forced into another lockdown.
Michelle also notes a number of other, significant changes which will ensure this year’s event remains COVID-Safe:

  • No on the day registrations.
  • Separate start and finish lines.
  • Staggered start times (every 15 minutes).
  • No event village
  • No spectators

COVID-Safe measures such as hand sanitising stations, COVID Marshalls and face masks will also be a feature of the 2021 event, but Michelle says this will not take away from the fun of the day.

“We still plan to create a fun, community event, where our runners can run their favourite distances and receive their free 10-year celebration medal and backpack.
“We will also have spot prizes and goodies provided by some great local businesses and as always appreciate our sponsors: Charlie Bins, Warrandyte Ringwood Osteo’s, IGA, Harding Swift Caravan Services, The Grand Hotel and Project Clothing.
“We are excited to also announce a new 21km event and interest in this has been strong.
“This is alongside the regular 2.2km, 5km, 10km and 15km distances,” she said.

Staying hydrated and COVID-Safe

One of the biggest challenges for event organisers, and event caterers is how to provide food and drink in a convenient but COVID-Safe way.
Staying hydrated while exercising is important, and with high temperatures a distinct possibility for February 28, ensuring participants have access to water is vital.
The simplest method is to provide disposable, sealed containers, like bottled water, but this adds unnecessary waste to the environment and goes against Run Warrandyte’s mission to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Michelle told WD Bulletin Run Warrandyte has secured a partnership deal with a Victorian based company, who will provide water in containers made from plants.

“We are excited to announce our event partnership with the eco-friendly company Just Water.
“Just Water takes Spring Water that is sourced from Mt Warranheip in Ballarat, Victoria and packages it in plant based, eco-friendly cartons, made by Tetra Pak.
“The packaging materials and processes result in 75 per cent less harmful emissions, primarily C02, compared to a standard PET plastic bottle.
“The design of the carton was created to remain flat until it is filled with water, meaning Tetra Pak use only one truck to transport the cartons, compared to the same number of plastic bottles needing 13 trucks.
“Just Water and Tetra Pak will be providing water on course and at the finish line in 2021 to keep our event COVID-Safe for our runners.
“Being an eco-friendly event is super important to us and with this in mind, we feel Just Water and Run Warrandyte are a great fit,” she said.

Visit the Run Warrandyte website for more event details and to enter the 2021 event.

Warrandyte runs again

Saturday Market means the first weekend of the month is always a busy time for Warrandyte, but last Sunday Warrandyte was a-buzz with runners of all shapes, sizes and ages as the Sports Club hosted the annual Run Warrandyte fun run.
A slightly overcast morning made for perfect running conditions, the run organising committee were excited to report their best participant numbers ever with over 600 registered runners.
The run attracted many regular runners, including the Wooten family who had the whole family at the event.
Even the footy players were involved in the action.
“It’s a community event so we get the footy players involved in participation, one club one community,” said Pete Muskat, a member of the Warrandyte Football club.
The weather and the general condition of the participants was particularly good this year with
super-speedy times set in the four endurance distances.
The 15K winner, Brynton Ashton, set a time of 1:02:21 which given the hilly nature of the course is impressive.
But the day was more about families having fun through exercise, as young Henry Bate (pictured left) demonstrated when he took on the 2.2K run with his family.
Henry managed to run the course —with the help of his dad— in 23 minutes.
This year, as well as the marshals and the CFA, runners out on course were entertained with live music on the corner of Pound Bend Road; volunteer marshal Ben Treyford expressed his delight in having the addition of a live band on course.
“They were awesome, we clapped after each song and even the less serious runners had a bit of a dance as they came through,” he said.
Run Warrandyte also featured “The Gift” for its second year.
The 100m handicapped heats were,
once again, a great success and have established themselves as an integral part of the Run Warrandyte experience.
The calculated handicapping by Gift organiser, Peter Sharpe, saw competitors run their hearts out in a thrilling grand final, which saw all seven competitors finish in under 12 seconds.
The winner of the Gift was Nicolas Sharpe who ran the 100 meters in 11.335.

Gift winner Nicolas Sharpe crossing the line in the thrilling final

Commentator Craig Davidson took a few minutes to speak to the Diary and reflect on the event.
“As far as coming down here at 6am on a Sunday morning, I cannot think of any other place to be, it’s sensational.
“My fellow commentator Tim, who has commentated on a number of these events, he was astounded with the times in which the runners were coming through — especially in the 10 and 15K events.”
Our Diary photographers were out and about on the day taking some awesome snaps of the running action, check out our Run Warrandyte page on the Diary website for a selection of pictures from the event.

Full race results for the endurance distances can be found on the Run Warrandyte page of the Warrandyte Sports Club website.