1987 - Kouros wins his second
by Phil Essam
The 1987 Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra marathon was scheduled to be run between 26 Mar to 1 April 87. It was to be run over a distance of 1060km which was the furthest ever for a foot race in Australia. It is destined to be the toughest Westfield yet! The change was due to the terrible accident in 86 when Geoff Kirkman almost lost his life.
The route is over 1000km. It traverses the Monaro High Plains, the bush of East Gippsland, through the Industrial area of Latrobe Valley and then the finishing line at Melbourne. The race carries the richest purse of any Ultra and competitors from all over the world have entered this classic event. As a race official put it " Tough country, tough competition"
The 87 Westfield has a $40 000 purse for this year. It is the most professional and difficult running race in the world. There is a staff of 50 involved in the running of the race These include race publicists, doctors, quartermaster, operations officer, communications director, race operations clerks, admin clerks and couriers, signposters, lead vehicle escort team, position recorders, mobile officials, night safety crew and frame operators. There are another 250 people employed as crewmembers for the runners.
Over 218 athletes applied to run in this year’s Westfield. 26 were selected and eight were from overseas.
There were thirty runners scheduled to start the Race in 1987:
Dusan Mravlje - Last year’s winner. He was brimming with confidence and knew that he was going to give Kouros a run for his money. Mravlje seems to be in the event for fun, but is strong and fit. He has been training in the hills of Yugoslavia and is ready to pounce in the hills if Kouros stumbles.
Yiannis Kouros - Back after his injured toe last year. He was keen to reexert his influence on the world of Ultra Marathon Running. He is the greatest Ultra runner of all time and his name will be linked to the Ultra for ever, just like his Greek predecessor, Phedidippides being linked to the Marathon.
The stress fracture that Kouros suffered in 86 cost him dearly. This year he is worried about his left knee locking up. Due to the extreme European winter he has only managed 40 days training and is suffering from a swollen ankle. He prepares peacefully and will tackle any problems that the race gives him. His presence means that the other competitors are fighting for second , not first.
Yiannis shared the following thoughts with a member of the Press before the race about his preparation:
I knew I had to be careful. Because of the winter in Greece I had only 40 days training for the Westfield Run. My toe was ok but my left ankle was swollen and my left knee was very sore. It sometimes locks into position and I think I will have to have some
surgery on it soon because it makes a lot of noise. It was also very hot on the first day so I planned to run carefully.
I meditate before every race and plan my run. This year I planned to run easy at the start. Some of the other runners went out very fast but it did not worry me. I do not notice other runners in this race. I just run my best according to my plan.
Cliff Young - Back to have another crack at the event that he put on centre stage in 1983. The usual journo’s were saying that he was too old, but could they do any better! He has failed to finish in the past two years and desperately wants to finish this year.
He has been running between 30 and 40km a day and has selected a top crew to support him. This includes physio, Christine Perry who has a lot of experience in the Ultra game and supported Eleanor Adams in the past two years. Cliff’s old mate from Ararat, Don Weston will once again be part of his crew.
Brian Bloomer - back for his third try at the race. In the past two years he has placed third and second. Could he go one better this year? He has been training in the hills around Daylesford in Victoria. He is quiet about his chances in the race, but he has earned the respect of the Ultra community and will be closely watched as the race progresses.
Tony Rafferty - is back for another go at the 1000km between Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered the route more times than any one in history, but will he be fast enough to take the winner’s cheque.
Trishel Cherns - Canadian runner who could be an outside chance in the race. He is known as "The Insomniac" and the "The Sleepless Wonder" because he doesn’t sleep during any of his races. He has had success in American multi day races and could carry this over to the Westfield.
Trishel Cherns was sponsored by Westfield for the 87 Race. He had top class results going in to the race. Westfield provided airfare, hotels, food, caravans and crew and race clothing.
Trishel trained at altitude for four and a half months prior to the race. This was at Vail, Colorado which is 8,200 feet above sea level. He averaged 160 km a week and did light upper body weight work in the gym.
Trishel has been a vegetarian since 1974 with no red meat, fish or fowl. He gets his protein from dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and eggs. During the race he ate a vegetarian macro biotic diet of organic brown rice, vegetables, eggs, tofu, olive/linseed oil and low doses of vitamins. His crew for the race included chiropractor/applied kineseologist Dr Keith Maitland.
Dick Tout - Thirty nine year old from New Zealand who heads the Kiwi invasion. He has a strong marathon background and a professionally organised crew. He is a typical Kiwi and is determined to beat the Aussies on their home soil! He holds the Australasian 24 hr record and ran second to Kouros in the Wellington to Auckland Ultrathon. His crew are all accomplished Marathon Runners and his plan is to run Kouros down!
Patrick Macke - From England and is back for another go at the race. He had the "Finish from Hell" last year, but is determined to beat six and a half days and finish strongly. He has vivid recollections of finishing last year but has mentally prepared himself more thoroughly.
George Audley - Fifty one year old from WA and is running in his first Westfield. He has been running well in West Australian Ultra races, but isn’t likely to figure in the placings for this race.
Cynthia Cameron - Is one of the two females in this year’s race. She is from Victoria and has established many Australian women’s Ultra records.
Gary Collins - From NSW and was inspired by the efforts of Dusan Mravlje last year and decided to give it a go.
Peter Pfister - Victorian and has been a fringe Ultra runner for a couple of years. He has crewed for a number of runners in the past couple of Westfields and has got the urge to have a go himself.
Pat Farmer - from NSW is the youngest runner at twenty four. He is a landscaper who has spent the past four years training for this gruelling race. He was asked his reason for entering the race and said "Because it’s there!". He also said "I watched the end of the race that Geoff Molloy won a few years ago and thought I’d give it a go."
Pat Farmer qualified when he completed 160km in a 24 hr race at Hensley Athletic Field and finished eighth. Farmer has also competed in the Sydney to Bathurst race and the Melbourne to Colac. He has qualified in previous years, but has foregone his right to enter and crewed for some of the more experienced runners in the field like Eleanor Adams and Tony Rafferty.
Mark Gladwell - From NSW and is running in the race for the first time. Doesn’t have a huge running pedigree and isn’t expected to make much impact on the results!
Ron Hill - Is another of the first timers and is from Victoria. Ron crewed for Pat Macke last year and after witnessing the gruelling finish from Pat decided that the race was for him.
Terry Cox - Was also on the same crew and has decided to have a go. Terry has a good running pedigree. Has run from Melbourne to Adelaide and has run for 24hrs on a treadmill. All for charity!
Kevin Mansell - Is another of the first timers and from NSW. He has been training for this race for the past four years and qualified for the race by running 186km in a 24hr race at Hensley Park. He finished fifth in this race and ran an incredible 465 laps of the oval in the day.
He is an ex chain smoker and ex alcoholic. He has won quite a few battles just to make it to the starting lineup. Kevin belongs to the same AA Group as Mark Gladwell.
Charles Naysmith - From Croydon Park in NSW and is another first timer. Not much is known about his running or personal history!
Alan Rider - Is the second Tasmanian to attempt this gruelling run. Hopefully he will get further than Eddie Westburgh in 86.
Mary Hanudel - from the USA and is having her first attempt at the race. Mary has been moving very quickly through the World women’s ranks and could give this race a good shake up!
David Standeven - Is another of the first timers in the field. He is from SA and has been
giving the Sri Chinmoy 24 hr races in that state a real shakeup.
David Taylor - From NSW and is having his second go at the race. Could the 1000km be too short for him or the pace too fast?
Graham Wilkinson and Ken Murray are both first timers from NSW. Not much is known on their running pedigree or background.
Peter Parcell - From Ipswich in Queensland and is back for his second attempt at the race. Peter is now living in the Philippines and running Night clubs over there.
Chuck Jones - From California is back for another go at the race. He is not likely to figure in the placings and treats this race as a holiday.
Emile La Harrague - The last runner in the field is from France. He now lives in New York and is more of a renowned adventurer than Ultra runner.
With the quality of the field the stage is set for another classic race. Yiannis Kouros is the hot favourite, but has he lost touch since his great win two years ago!
The final field was reduced down to 26 runners due to injury and other factors.
The starting formalities got underway and the runners were piped to centre stage They were introduced to the crowd and seemed very calm. At 1000 hours, the wife of the New South Wales Premier, Mrs Unsworth fires the starters pistol and the runners launch across the line. There is no turning back now!
Dick Tout takes the lead early. He is running an incredible 15kph and goes through the Marathon at 2 hours and 53 minutes followed by Pat Macke in 3 hours and five minutes. He is followed by Kouros, Mravlje, Bloomer and Hill.
Once the early morning fog lifts, the temperature rises in above the April average. The more experienced runners take it easy and increase their fluid intake, whilst the novices push for an early break. They suffer for this later on in the race.
By later afternoon, Kouros has moved towards Tout. They go through the 55km mark together and by the 60km mark Kouros is in the lead. This is the last time that any competitor would see Kouros until the end in Melbourne!
Kouros’s manager, Theo Premetis said the runner was finding the going a bit hot but was handling the conditions well. "It’s been very hot on the road and Yiannis has just come from minus eight degree temperatures in Europe. But he is in very good spirits and forging ahead well."
Cliff Young was struggling at the start, but was managing to hold on to tenth spot. Cliff was a man of few words when he said "I’m doing all right". Cynthia Cameron was leading the women’s race, but Mary Hanudel was close behind her.
Kouros remembers this stage when he said:
After 60 - 70 km I started to feel good. I asked my crew to play some Greek music because I was now relaxed. When I got at Canberra I felt it was more easy than my last run. Maybe it was because I started slow this year. I was not sleepy but I stopped for forty minutes to have a bath and some food. My masseur gave me a rub and I felt good.
The two female competitors are doing it easily and are only 1km apart. Cynthia Cameron is ahead of her rival. As the sun sets, Kouros is in the lead by 2km and is a marathon ahead of the last competitor.
The evening brings relief for the runners. Kouros picks up his pace and Tout keeps attacking. Tout is still losing ground on Kouros, but is moving further ahead the rest of the field. Dusan Mravlje has moved up to third. David Standeven, Patrick Macke and Ron Hill are filling the next three places. This is the first multi day run for Standeven and Hill. Are they pushing too hard, too early?
Brian Bloomer has run into trouble. He started in very light shoes and has bruised feet as a result. Dawn on the second day finds him 80km behind Kouros and 30km behind the lead pack.
The race positions after fourteen hours of running were:
Cliff Young is also having feet trouble and keeps changing his shoes to cushion the effect. He is 13km behind Bloomer in 12th position. Emile Laharrague is back in 24th. He trained in a severe American winter and hasn’t had time to acclimitise.
The race newsletter was once again a feature of the race. The first issue didn’t have much news or interesting gossip. It contained the usual reminders from race management about safety and procedures to be followed during the year’s race.
Liaison Officers from the NSW Police are going to follow the run and help it run smoothly. There was also a reminder from Police and Officials not to have two or more support vehicles together and in adverse conditions to have the second support vehicle three hundred metres behind the runner. There was also a note that if anyone was having problems with their vehicles to get hold of Frank Poole from Budget who will help service Campervans during the run.
24hrs has now passed in the race and Kouros has already arrived in Canberra. He has a short break for a massage, bath and a meal. He is soon on his way again. Tout is second and 40km back running past Lake George. Patrick Macke is third and Dusan Mravlje is forth. Dusan is having problems with his thigh. Mary Hanudel is making good ground on Cynthia Cameron. She is now 22km in front of Cameron.
By nightfall on the second day, Kouros is 50km short of Cooma and has a 60km lead over Tout. Macke is 21km behind Tout and is entering Canberra. Standeven has overtaken Mravlje and is in forth place. Bloomer is 60km short of Canberra and is doing it tough.
Kouros remembered this stage when he said:
The run to Cooma was more difficult because it was very hot in the afternoon. I did not feel very well. I think maybe I lost some salt and minerals in the heat. My legs were sunburnt and it hurt. The weather was a bigger problem for me than the hills. I felt better when it got cooler at night.
I arrived in Cooma after midnight and felt like a sleep. I rested for half an hour but couldn’t sleep so I started again to run.
Cynthia Cameron has once again caught Mary Hanudel. Both are moving well. Cliff Young is continuing to suffer from foot problems and is walking. He is in 21st position. Dave Taylor becomes the first person axed from the event, which is another missed opportunity from the NSW runner!
The second newsletter is published. It noted that Kouros was in the lead and nearing Cooma. Quite an incredible performance for two days running. It also mentioned that the other runners are having a very close battle and it should be interesting all the way to Melbourne.
Race HQ is now located at Belconnen Mall in Canberra. There was a note in the newsletter to add the first cut off point to the Route instructions. The first cut off was at 2000hrs on 28 Mar 97 and is the bridge crossing Lake Burleigh Griffin. Crews were also
advised about the lack of petrol stations in Canberra and to fill up and gain supplies at one of the two that was available. They were also reminded about the lack of nighttime petrol supplies between Canberra and Lakes Entrance. Fill up during the day was the advice!
Runners were also reminded about radio communication, flashing lights, vehicle placements and placement of markers.
Two runners have retired from the run so far. They are David Taylor and Peter Parcell. David Taylor has gone forward to help out with Cliff Young’s crew.
The placings as of Day two of the race are:
Day three of the 87 Westfield commences. It is a bleak morning as dark clouds form over the Monaro High plains. The race has been going for two days and Kouros has covered 460km. He is 25km from Bombala when he is met by a group of horsemen from the High country. They have been dispatched to escort him into town where a big reception has been organised. He stops long enough to shake hands and say thankyou. Kouros now has a 80km lead over Dick Tout.
Kouros remembers this stage when he said:
On Saturday I arrived in Bombala. Some Australian horsemen came to greet me and many children were waiting for me in the town. It made me feel good. I did not want to stop for long because I wanted to cross the gravel road near the border in daytime. I was afraid of this because I thought it would be a dangerous track like the Spartahlon Course between Athens and Sparta in Greece. But it was a good road and I was happy. The countryside was beautiful and peaceful.
Tout has stopped for a bath in Cooma. He is intent on chasing Kouros and wants to pounce if Kouros should falter in his relentless pace. Tout has a 41km lead over Patrick Macke. George Audley has moved into forth and Ron Hill is having the run of his life in fifth. Chuck Jones has moved into sixth and is running well.
Mary Hanudel has a seven kilometre lead over Cynthia Cameron but Cameron has rested during the night. The weather turns for the worse on Saturday and a stiff crosswind confronts the runners.
Rumor has it that Kouros may be in trouble when he gets to Melbourne. He was quoted as saying that Australian men were weak This has incurred the wrath of Helen Bloomer and she can’t wait to say a few words to him when they reach Melbourne. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
Dusan Mravlje is certainly enjoying the Aussie beer again this year. Rumour is that he consumed 15 cans on the first day and 27 between Parramatta and Goulburn. There has been a sudden rush of hotel’s between Dandenong and Doncaster applying for a late license!
Kevin Mansell’s crew has gone into opposition with the Media. This is judging by the amount of photographic equipment on board. In three days they have taken 7 rolls of film, one black and white and two rolls of kodacolour. His friends are having a slide show after the race and a tape recorder is being used to present a soundtrack with the slide evening. Kevin must also have the biggest crew on the event with 4 drivers, 2 cooks, 1 masseur, 1 photographer, a film editor and a public relations specialist.
The funniest story of Day three must go to the crewmember on Chuck Jone’s crew who has taken a shine to swigging toilet flush liquid. The taste isn’t addictive, but he reports no trouble with his S bend. This drink wets the spot and it cleans at the same time.
Another story involved Chuck Jones. He developed a leg muscle problem which was causing him considerable pain. The Race Doctor came along, diagnosed the complaint and
prescribed a heel wedge to relieve the pressure. There was only one problem though! Where do you find a corrective heel wedge in the middle of the Australian bush?
It seems that the doctor fancies himself as a design engineer. He removed a mud flap from one of the campervans, carved off a piece of rubber, shaped it with a surgical knife (hacksaw and file) and inserted it into his shoe’s. The comment from Chuck Jones was "Thank Heavens I’m running on Dunlop".
Peter Pfister is struggling with the crosswinds and is in a hole so deep that it will need a major operation to bring him out of it. His manager is the 84 winner, Geoff Molloy who is assisted by his own crew chief, Dennis Moore. Pfister makes the Cooma cut off by 15 minutes.
Pat Farmer becomes the third victim of the race when he fails to reach the Cooma cut off in time. His age was the telling factor, but he will go on to achieve many great achievements in the sport. Chuck Jones tears a muscle in his lower calf around midday and is forced to withdraw from the event by late afternoon.
Evening time sees Kouros cross the border into Victoria. He has covered 532km and is averaging 9kph. The distance between first and last is 250 kilometres.
Kouros remembers this stage of the race when he said:
In Cann River the people gave me a boomerang. I stopped for a quick shower and then kept running. The rain came and it made the bush very fresh. I was in high spirits and asked for some music. I did some singing and some dancing along the road and felt almost as if I was detached from my body. I made good time through Orbost and Lakes Entrance.
The forth Newsletter for the Run was published on March 29/30. The initial headline said that over half of the runners were past the half way point in the race.
The town that has really excelled with friendliness is the township of Bombala. When they learned that Westfield was coming through the town, they turned on a real welcome with brass bands, picnics, contests and special presentations to all the runners.
Like most country towns the pub is the central social attraction. Frank Budget (the mechanic from Budget) wandered in for a quick lemon squash. He wandered in at the same time as Apex were having their monthly fundraising meeting. He was soon standing on a table asking for bids for his cap and official Budget T-shirt. They raised $103!
A short time later, Dave Taylor (now on Trishel Chern’s crew) wandered into the pub wearing his tracksuit and was placed on the Auction table. A short time later Dave left minus his tracksuit and the local Apex Club was $100 better off. Runners, crews and officials are warned to exercise caution when they stop at the local Pub in Bombala!
The Westfield Fashion Awards for 1987 must go to Victorian runner, Ron Hill. Ron has a better than average collection of shorts and running tights. At Collector he was spotted wearing a pair of multi coloured shorts and today he was seen wearing a pair of pink running tights with green-yellow flashes across the legs. Ron has been asked to conduct a fashion parade at the end but is non-committal at this stage.
The story of day four must go to Tony Rafferty and crew. Tony was jogging along the highway when he darted off the side and started rummaging in the bushes. His crew slams on the brakes thinking Tony has slipped and fallen. To their relief, he quickly emerged with something in his hand. He held aloft a pile of X-rated magazines that must have been dumped by a passing motorist! There is no truth in the rumour that Tony and crew have slowed to a very relaxed dawdle!
The quote of the race must go to the spectator near Lakes Entrance who said, "Why is this man running when he has two perfectly good vans!"
Gary Collins was asked by one of his drivers, if he could restart the race tomorrow, what would he change? Gary’s reply was "The entry form!"
The best story of the 87 Westfield concerns the Team Manager of Patrick Macke, John Cantwell. Coming into Canberra, Macke wanted a bath so John took off across a lawn into the reception of a Motel. Behind the counter was a neatly dressed Chinese chap:
"Ahh, how can I help you?"
"I want a room for about two hours so we can use the shower!"
This conversation continued because the Chinese chap could not understand this request.
Communication ground to a halt, so John left. As he left he looked at the front and realised that he had just visited the Chinese embassy!
March 29 is a big day for Bombala citizens. They have prepared for the arrival of their hero, Cliff Young and declared the day "National Gumboot Day". Various activities are planned which include a "Cliff Young Look a Like comp", a gumboot-throwing contest and street stalls. Cliff doesn’t make it until Monday but the celebrations continue until he arrives.
Kouros keeps running well and feels at one with nature as he races through the forests of East Gippsland. He listens to some of his favourite Greek music and sings and frolics along the road. He amazes his crew and race officials.
Tout is 100km behind Kouros and has crossed the border. Macke is 60km behind Tout and is slowly approaching Bombala. Bloomer is moving well and has moved into forth, 32km behind Macke.
Trishel Cherns has moved through the field and is now sixth. Dusan Mravlje is having a bad year. His masseur, Fred Hellyer has cleared his corked thigh but Mravlje is now suffering from an ingrown toenail. The race doctor, Kieran Fallon is called and does a quick operation on Dusan’s big toe. Mravlje gets going again but develops a fever two hours later and has to withdraw.
This is a sad exit for last year’s champion. But this is the Westfield and it doesn’t take reputations into account. This has happened the last three years with Molloy (84 winner) withdrawing in 85, Kouros (85 winner) withdrawing in 86 and now the 86 winner withdrawn. Mary Hanudel passes through Nimmitabel and is leading Cynthia Cameron by 13 kilometres.
Issue five of the Newsletter was published and there was a warning to all crews to stock up on petrol during the day because not many Petrol stations before Bairnsdale are open after dark!
Mary Hanudel was awarded the Best Smile Award from the officials. This was for
the big wave and friendly smile that they received from her every time that they drove past.
A funny story happened in Cooma on Sunday night. A local farmer went into Cooma for his regular Sunday night session. As usual he got drunk. He left quite late on Sunday night to travel the 5km back to his farm but arrived at 1000 hrs on Monday morning. Why did it take so long to travel 5km?
He saw flashing lights along the road and thought Police had set up a breath testing station so he drove up a bush track and waited there until they had gone! Believe it or not!
World Champion whistler, Ralph Withering is part of the crew for Pat Macke. His jobs include whistling Pat into his rest stops. How is that for teamwork! Cynthia Cameron’s crew was guilty of putting diesel into a petrol engine. The smoke could be seen for miles around!
Day five of the race starts. It is 96 hours into the race and Kouros has stormed through Orbost, Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale. He is 120km in front of Tout and seems to be developing in strength as the race progresses.
Kouros remembers Gippsland as the worst part of the race when he wrote:
In Sale the wind came and caused me some problems. I was spending too much energy running into it. I stopped early in the morning for a two hour break. The wind was still a problem all the next day. It slowed me down and I used up much energy trying to run against it but after Morwell I became so tired I could not run. I walked for about 7km but could not start running again. I was very tired and my eyelids kept shutting. I had to rest in Moe because I knew I could not go any longer. I had a massage, a hot bath and a meal. After this I had my best sleep. I did not wake for two hours.
The rest of the field remains unchanged. Kevin Mansell and Mark Gladwell are meeting the challenge head on. They have been at the brink of despair a few times, but have always come back. They are displaying moral fibre that makes ordinary people great. All of the other runners are displaying similar substance and will be walking tall at the end of the event.
Evening approaches and Kouros runs into the Latrobe Valley. The last runner is still 30km short of Bombala, which is a differrence of 380km!
Day six of the race starts. The weather is foul with dark clouds looming along the coast. This is the worst day for Kouros. He is battered by a headwind and it saps his spirit The wind dries his throat and he finds it difficult to speak. He cannot meet his plan and he slows to a walk outside Morwell. His eyes keep shutting. He then checks into a hotel in Moe for a bath, massage, meal and a well-deserved three hours sleep. This puts another fallacy to rest. God doesn’t usually rest until the seventh day. Kouros had a break at the fifth! He is human after all!
Placings as at 0100 hrs 31 Mar:
The placings for the rest of the field remain unchanged. Kouros has a 140km lead over Tout who has a 32km lead over Macke. Mary Hanudel has moved into seventh and had a 28km lead over Cynthia Cameron. Tony Rafferty is in the top ten with David Standeven. Emil Laharrague is 13th , but cannot move for very long at a time.
Cliff Young is in 19th and has received a lift from the reception he was given in Bombala. Peter Pfister and Alan Rider withdraw when they reached the NSW/Vic border. Both have run a great race but have had enough. Gary Collins and Chilla Naysmith are in trouble with tendonitis to the knee. The pain is unbearable but they are not going to throw in the towel.
Whilst the leader was near the finish, a lot of the runners were still making it to the half way mark. Yesterday, Emile LaHarrague was at Cooma and decided to have a sleep from 1130am to 3.00pm. His crew paid a visit the local hotel and met two local ladies. The crew was taken home for coffee intending to stay until 3.00pm. However, Emile awoke at 230pm with no crew in sight. Quite a shock for the French runner!
By evening , Kouros has reached the outskirts of Melbourne. He feels better for his break and feels that he can keep going all the way to the finish. He is 140km in front of Tout and 500km in front of the last runner.
It was in the early hours of April 1st when Lemmy Moore, driver of Gladwell 2 bus
spotted a half used toilet roll on the side of the road. Realising that it might be useful later on, Grahame Kerruish was dispatched to retrieve it. Unfortunately Grahame leapt straight onto a "Darkie" and exclaimed, "Shit". Anguish turned into joy as the aroma of Greek cooking wafted into the crewmember’s nostrils and he realised that he had trod into a Yiannis Kouros dropping.
At the end of the run the shoes are to be auctioned off uncleaned and are expected to fetch a high price. The toilet roll also will be auctioned of and only need arses may apply.
1st of April 1987 dawns and Kouros makes his final run through the streets of Melbourne towards the finish. It is early morning but there are many thousands waiting for him. The crowds erupt as he crosses the Finishing Line. He is as fresh as a Sunday morning jogger. The crowds chant his name and he responds with a song, which is an adapted Greek ballad that tells the story of 26 brave men and women who set out from Sydney to conquer Melbourne.
"Fantastic. Everything’s fantastic. This is the most fantastic race in the world. This is my best," said Yiannis Kouros as he claimed victory in the 87 Westfield. He arrived at the finishing line at 1245 am and was 150km ahead of his nearest rival. He ran the distance in five and a half days, which was a World record for 1000 kilometres and won $20 000. He broke two other records in the process. They were the longest point to point distance in 24 hours (273km) and the longest point to point over 48 hours (553km).
Yiannis ran the last three hundred-km with a throat infection. This was contracted whilst running through the wind and rain of Gippsland. The euphoria of winning effected Yiannis as he grabbed the microphone and sang a Greek folk song to the eager crowd. He spent today sleeping in a suburban Motel in Box Hill. One of the remarkable things to come out of this race was the mental ability of Kouros.
Kouros remembers the end of the race when he said:
My best memory of the run is seeing the big neon sign at Westfield Doncaster. When I saw it I asked my crew to put on a special song called "Old Tripolis". It was composed by my grandfather, who was a singer in our church. I had waited for this moment and when I heard it I ran faster, maybe 15kph. I could have run faster still because of the inspiration from the song. I sang the song and sometimes I skipped because I felt so happy. I was happy because I had run better than last time in 1985.
I will run even better next year because I now know the new road. I know I will improve.
His Drummoyne-based Physiotherapist, Charles Tzannes said "He really drove himself incessantly" commenting on Kouros’s single mindedness during the race.
Kouros’s Manager, Theo Premetis said "When he runs he is like a pregnant women. He complains. He wants everything spot on". Premetis describes himself as Kouros’s lieutenant and said that he had many roles during the race. This included interpreter. Premetis said that Kouros was such a perfectionist that even though he could speak English, he wanted help to frame his replies.
Charles Tzannes commented further on the professionalism of Kouros when he said "He expects 100 percent effort. He yelled. Sometimes the food wasn’t right. Or the music wasn’t right. He’d let whoever he thought was responsible know all about it".
Kouros said after the race "I wish them luck. They know, of course, that I am not
running against them. I am running against my own previous record. Always."
Kouros only suffered one injury. That was a small blister on the second toe of his right foot. He also suffered laryngitis, which was due to the dry wind of Gippsland and the smoke in the forests of East Gippsland.
Charles Tzannes, also quoted said "His knees would have come in for the most punishment. The more you pound away, the more damaging it is."
A press release on Kouros was most appropriate when it said ‘He has overturned man’s preconceptions as to the limits of the human body. He runs with the spirit of ancient Greece uppermost in his mind and seems to have the capacity to run forever".
Theo Premetis also said, "He never tells you anything. Yiannis prepared the entire program. He was the General and we were the soldiers. I was his Lieutenant."
Here are some interesting facts about Kouros and his Run:
Diet: One main meal a day, Greek salad, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cakes, dry fruit, sweets and beer. Snacks every 10 or 20 minutes during the day.
Shoes: Lazer Breeze open toed shoes from New Zealand.
Physical Fitness: Lower than might have been. Has done no physical training between October 86 and February 87.
Injuries/Illnesses: Small blister on second toe of right foot and laryngitis.
Music: Mostly Greek music.
Sleep: Four and half-hours in half-hour stretches.
Pain: Able to continue despite high levels of pain.
A sportsmens breakfast was held on arrival of Yiannis Kouros with several sporting celebrities from mainstream sports being present. There were also twenty schoolchildren from a Special School present. The delight on their faces was great.
The attention of the race has now switched to Tout and Macke. Macke has closed to within 15km of Tout. Tout appears to be finished and is running on memory. Macke catches Tout at 4.00pm. He then stops for a rest, which unnerves Tout. Macke passes Tout again later on in the evening and by midnight there is a 20km break between the two runners.
Macke crosses the finishing line at 0330 hrs. Patrick Macke ran 125 miles on the last day, which is definitely a fine performance after his horrible finish in 1986. What a difference one year makes!
He has a 30km break on Tout who ends up coming third. The remaining positions remain unchanged. Wilkinson, Collins and Naysmith end up withdrawing.
Race positions at 3 Apr 87 at 0600hrs:
Kouros 5 days 15 hours
Macke 6 days 16 hours
Tout 6 days 21 hours
On Thursday evening, Mary Hanudel has a 15km lead over Cynthia Cameron. Their two crews are playing a great game of cat and mouse through out the race. The lead constantly changes hands and neither team would let their runner get to far behind the other one. Rest breaks became shorter and less frequent.
It was at Berwick, 60km from the finish when the two runners were running together. They were chatting away to each other as they ran stride for stride. As they got closer to Melbourne the conversation waned. Spectators lined the streets to applaud the two great runners.
Being a hometown girl, was the impetus that Cameron needed and she broke from Hanudel. Hanudel could not respond and walked the rest of the distance. Cameron kept going. She was cheered in by thousands of spectators and late night shoppers. Her battle was finally over after 8 days, 10 hours and 35 minutes.
The run of Mary Hanudel will be regarded as the top American performance of 87. She ran 800 kilometres in six days. Mary Hanudel is looking good at having a crack at Eleanor Adams six day women’s record.
Meanwhile greater things were happening on the Highway. Cliff Young was making great progress along the Princess Highway. By the time he reached the city, crowds had closed the road. Cliff responded like royalty; he kissed babies and shook hands. He signed hundreds of autographs as the race was slowly forgotten. People were yelling for him all the way to the end. He had been elevated to Messiah status.
Cliff Young was lucky to gain a start in the 87 Westfield. This was because of his average performances in 85 and 86. Charlie Lynn came to his rescue and convinced Westfield management that he was worthy of a start. Cliff had a feeling that it would be his last race and was determined to finish it as a thankyou to all the people that had assisted him over the years.
His wife, Mary assembled a first rate crew. They included Christine Perry, Don Weston, Ron Kelly and John and Kerrie Champness. Cliff got as far as Canberra and his left foot blew up. His physio produced a new product called "Kold Wrap". It was designed to take the pain and heat out of injuries. It did that and Cliff was soon running again.
Cliff improved dramatically once they left Canberra. He received a marvellous reception in all the Gippsland towns. People were giving out cards, letters and presents to Cliff. He ended up finishing last but he was happy to finish. The Gippslanders had seen Cliff in the flesh and he had said his farewells as a runner!
Once he arrived in the city, he was greeted by hoards of young teenagers who chanted "Cliff Young". They then ran beside him singing the national anthem. This was a real tribute to a great man.
It was ten kilometres from the finish when Cliff decided to run. Unfortunately, his hip dislodged and he was forced back to a walk. He limped the last few kilometres and finished to a hero’s welcome. Cliff had returned home once more! 1987 definitely belonged to Cliff and Yiannis!
One of the features of this year’s race was the success rate of the veterans. They filled ten of the sixteen places and six of those veterans were from Victoria. First Aussie to finish was 46 year old Brian Bloomer from Victoria. He finished forth after overcoming injury that would have seen a lesser person call it a day.
Kiwi runner, Gary Retgien crewed for Dick Tout in 1987. Gary had competed in the race in 86 and completed over half the distance. Here is Gary’s story of the 87 run which was first published in the New Zealand Ultra Runners Association "Ultra News".
I had been looking forward to rendezvous with the familiar surroundings of Lakes Entrance where my wife Louise and I spent so many pleasant skindiving and camping holidays in the early 60’s.
Well Dick did stop there, but it certainly wasn’t to admire the scenery or do a spot of fishing!
After battling a strong headwind since Cann river (near the NSW/Vic border) for the last 36 hours, his arrival at the picturesque Gippsland Lakes district was brought to a halt by a 40 knot gale and a seasprayed waterfront. It was dark, probably about 7pm when we arrived at the reception, spa bath and steaming scallop pies. Dick needed the break and didn’t really care where Kouros or Macke were at this stage.
He had been talking about getting a doctor or nurse to look at the chafing and thrush problems. Bob Johnson and I discussed the matter and decided not to consult the medical profession.... Reason being, there would be a good chance they would pull him out.
His ankles and knees were in the process of expanding ‘nicely’ and he also had a mouth
full of ulcers. The local hospital would have been more than delighted to put him up for a few days.
After shaving him, taping - dressing - plastering - double skinning - rubbing him in ointment and vaseline etc. Dick was tucked in while we went pizza hunting with one guy keeping watch. We weren’t too worried about the 4hr break as we knew that Macke was also battling the increasing gale well over 50k back the other side of town. However, analysing later, this proved to be the very point in the race where Dick lost a big slice of his lead and allowed Macke to come within striking distance.
With the event being day and night running, things can change quickly, when one runner sleeps and the other keeps going...Usually this evens itself out over the 24 hours, but when trouble strikes, watch out!
So the next day, Max had the unpleasant duty to tell Dick "He is 24km behind you". Panic in the Kiwi camp - all leave was cancelled. "How did he do it?" Glenn Rymand and I took "big bird" back to Macke too spy on his movements. Macke rested for four hours and ten minutes. Tout rested for two hours and thirty minutes. Patrick was running 57 minutes for 10k. Dick was running 80 minutes for 10k. How far to go? Will he catch at this rate, where and when? Well, with about 65k to go Macke did catch us - and we could not help but admire his pace and the shape he was in. However, he stopped and rested again.
Dick took off - but the expected cat and mouse game did not eventuate. As Dick’s ankles and knees were ballooning further it was impossible to lift the pace. With great determination he covered 90 miles over the last 24 hours, but had to settle for third place. Behind the singing Kouros and an "orienteering" Macke ( ask Dick about that sometime).
I am writing this particular episode for the uninformed critics, but also for the bulk of genuinely interested ultra runners in NZ wondering why Dick Tout missed out on getting 2nd place.
After the ¾ way mark, Dick became a physical mess and nobody close to him would have blamed him for calling it a day.
Comparing his condition to Kouros and Macke would have made it quite clear that Dick was only surviving on sheer guts and will power anyway - that’s how I saw it.
Trishel Cherns ran his race very sensibly. After the first day he was 23rd, 12th after the second, 6th after day three, 4th after day 6 and ended up in fifth position. His daily mileage splits were 97, 83, 84, 69, 86, 77 and 80 which was remarkably consistent! He broke the Canadian 1000km record by eight and a half hours with a time of seven days fourteen hours and 43 minutes. He won $1500 for a little over a week’s work and was more than happy with his result.
Trishel Cherns celebrated his birthday during the run. He was presented with a present in Bombala by 300 people who sang Happy Birthday to him. The second highlight for Trishel in the race was to finish the race with Geoff Kirkman. He was the runner that almost lost his life in the tragic accident in the 86 Race.
Trishel says that his great crew, meditative consciousness to be receptive to God’s grace.
Determination and focus, good music and the joy of uninterrupted running were the ingredients that got him through the Westfield.
Trishel Cherns had two interesting stories happen to him during the Run. The first
story happened 100 km out of Melbourne when a slender teenage boy appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the night and accompanied him for 35 kilometres. He had never ran more than 2 km in his life but was inspired by the Westfield runners. The young boy ran effortlessly and barefoot. When he stopped it wasn’t because of tiredness but he had to travel back home. The amazing thing was that his feet were not blistered. His energy did not drop during the entire jaunt. Trishel marvelled at his natural endurance and the unmarked feet.
The other story concerned Dave Taylor. Dave had dropped out of the race but decided to join Trishel’s crew. The rest of the story is best told in Trishel’s words:
He voiced to me the competitive spirit needed to beat an Australian in a racing format.
This happened when David Standeven caught me. It went something like this.
"Mate break this Bugger’s spirit! Bust his balls! He’s tough but your tougher. Race him, break him and bury him. He came here for agony, now give him what he wants! Until I see him dead on the road and 20 kilometres behind us. You can’t get into the van to rest and I will pour buckets of water all over you to shake your tiredness. I will hit you with a stick and throw stones at you at any signs of weakness"
I must say this bloke was dead serious and I was feeling tired enough to believe him. So David Standeven and I raced for many kilometres. Eventually David’s knee’s got sore and he fell behind. I guess I did not want to face the rath of David Taylor, and wanted to hold my 5th position to Melbourne. Not to relinquish it to anyone!
Not the first overseas runner to have an injured Aussie join their crew and be very surprised by their tactics!
Trishel Cherns set himself a punishing race schedule the year before the Westfield. He competed in nine ultra races around the world. They ranged from a 76km race through to the New York Sri Chinmoy 1000-mile race. The amazing thing was that he achieved forth or better in every race. It was not surprising that Westfield paid his way to Australia after results like that.
The following runners were missing in action during the 87 Westfield:
Chilla Naysmith NSW 871km
Graeme wilkinson NSW 783km
Gary Collins NSW 698km
Peter Pfister Vic 531km
Alan Rider Tas 531km
Dusan Mravalje Yug 480km
Patrick Farmer NSW 367km
Chuck Jones USA 362km
Dave Taylor NSW 170km
Peter Parcell Qld 155km
1987 FINAL PLACINGS:
Yiannis Kouros 5d14h47m
Patrick Macke 6d17h21m
Dick Tout 6d22h19m
Brian Bloomer 7d19h22m
Trishel Cherns 7d23h5m
George Audley 8d1h34m
David Standeven 8d9h19m
Cynthia Cameron 8d10h55m
Mary Hanudel 8d12h44m
Tony Rafferty 8d15h58m
Mark Gladwell 8d17h22m
Terry Cox 8d17h46m
Emile Laharrague 8d18h16m
Kevin Mansell 8d 18h55m
Ron Hill 8d 22h36m
Cliff Young 9d13h17m
The 87 Westfield had been run and won for the second time by Yiannis Kouros. The new route had etched itself into Ultra folklore. All the runners had come and conquered in there own way. Some will return and some will be content and head into new areas! That is what Ultra running is all about.