2023 July Tan Time Trial Results

/2023 July Tan Time Trial Results
You have received this email as a subscriber to VRR
View this email in your browser


President’s Tan Talk – July 2023

It was a beautiful Melbourne winter’s morning for our July TTT, celebrating Liz Wrigley’s 100th Tan Time Trial and Deborah Rob’s 150th, great milestone achievements as pictured below, thanks Helen.
Also pictured below are Syd Bone and Grant Padula who ran into each other at (of all places) Lord’s, there for that now infamous match that will go down in history!! We are advised that both escaped unscathed, and it is notable that most of us have never seen either of them dressed up like that before!! Also pictured below is a young visitor from the US who joined us for a run.

We are inching our way forward in seeking to get through the complex maze of approvals for re-introducing tea, coffee and biscuits, still a few steps to go but we remain determined.

Running Reflection: Comrades Ultramarathon (1973)

VRR member No 1 Greig McEwan has provided a Running Reflection recounting (with an interesting intro) his reflection on running the Comrades Ultramarathon 50 years ago. To provide some VRR context I asked Comrade Doug Stokes for some details of VRR member participation, and he advised as follows:

“In 2002 the following members ran Comrades:
Ross Martin, Peter Field, Stephen Barker, Steven Barker, Jane Sturzaker and Robin Broberg

2005: Peter, Stephen, Steven, Ross, Jane, Doug, Paul Ban, Leigh Murphy and Robert Boyce

2008: Peter, Stephen, Steven, Doug, Jane, Paul, Robert, Peter Black and John Dean.

2011: Peter Black and Stephen Barker.

As for running Comrades I found the two days that I ran two of the best days of my life. For me they were unforgettable experiences”

VRR President



VRR Member Number 1, Greig McEwan reminisces about the famous Comrades Ultra run in South Africa.


1st June 1973

It was 50 years ago today

Max Trimborn’s cock-crow sent them on their way

They’ll be running 54.8 mile

But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile

So may I introduce to you

The act you’ve known for all these years

The annual Comrades Marathon

(with apologies to you know who)

Diary entry:   Friday 1st June 1973 

Weather:    Cold with clear sky at start, becoming partly cloudy and mild to warm late morning. Temperature –  3/21°C

Official Distance:   88.2km   (downhill run)

Starters:   1366

Finishers:  1225

Start venue/time:     Pietermaritzburg City Hall / 6:00

Finish venue:   Sports Stadium, University of Natal, Durban

Winners Finish time:    5 h 39 m 09 s

My Finish time:    10 h 09 m   981/1225

There were a record number of runners, 173 more than 1971, with quite a few from the UK including Mick Orton who had won the previous year. There were 723 novice entries. Lost amongst the official entries were a bevy of black males and white females whom Athletic Association rules debarred from competing officially. There were 42 of us from the University of Cape Town who finished the race but unfortunately didn’t manage to win the inter-varsity completion. Most of us travelled the 1600km from Cape Town to Durban by mini-bus or car.
As the chimes of 6-o-clock rang out from the City Hall clock there was the sound of the starters pistol followed by 71 year old Max Trimborn’s traditional cock-crow. The runners moved off with pushing and shoving and a charge down Commercial Road to the Umsindusi Bridge, some trying to gain 20m lead and a few minutes of glory. I was soon left near the back of the field.

In those days there were no drink stations provided and you were responsible for your own refreshments, etc. Most people had someone in a car to second them which involved negotiating the traffic to get ahead of their runner, park, wait for them to come past and give them water or flat Coke (energy drinks hadn’t been invented yet), jelly beans, etc, run back to the car, try and break into the traffic and repeat the procedure at some nominated points along the route. The roads were often back roads, narrow, through unpopulated areas,  without footpaths and there was no GPS to guide you along the route.

I came up with a plan to have a friend, who was at the Uni of Natal, second me and borrow a 50cc Honda to make getting round in the traffic easier. As luck would have it the students Honda he borrowed broke down and he never made it from Durban to the start at Pietermaritzburg so I was left without support along the way. Fortunately the route is always lined with spectators who are happy to provide anything they can to assist you. There was always encouragement and often beer, wine, or a meal from their bbq’s and an update from their transistor radios on the status of the leading runners.

I hadn’t run further than a standard marathon in my training so the race was a challenge, and I’m sure painful although time has blurred those memories. Fortunately sometime in the second half of the race I caught up with an old school friend who had run his first Comrades the previous year, and we ran to the finish together. (John subsequently ran a 7h 5m Comrades in 1981). There were no running watches to provide splits or your average pace, no hi-tec running clothing and Asic Boston Blues were the running shoe of choice. However I am sure the feeling of accomplishment back then was no different to that of a novice today.

The following day we hopped in the car and headed back to Cape Town, with frequent stops to relieve cramping legs.

It was another 8 years before I did my second Comrades in 1981, this time an uphill run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, finishing in 8h 11m 52s. I think the extra distance training paid off.

In 1975, the Golden Jubilee of the Comrades, the race was opened to runners of all race groups and to women. Vincent Rakabele finished 20th to become the first black runner to officially win a medal. Elizabeth Cavanaugh became the first women’s winner.



Some additional information about the Comrades Marathon.


Vic Clapham was the founder of the Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest ultra-marathon, of approximately 90 km held annually between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. As a WW 1 veteran, Clapham conceived the race to commemorate the South African soldiers killed during the war. It was run for the first time on 24 May 1921 with 34 starters. This year there were 16000 starters. Just before covid in 2019 the field was capped at 25000, entries closed after one week!

It is run annually with the direction of the race alternating each year between the “up” run starting from Durban (at sea level) and the “down” run starting from Pietermaritzburg. The distance of each race has varied over the years depending on the start and finish point in each city. A profile of the elevation below gives and idea of why it is an up or down course.



In 1984 I gave a talk to members of the VRR about Comrades which wet the appetite of some of those members. A number of them have subsequently gone on to run the race one or more times. I won’t mention any names at the risk of leaving someone out but maybe there is an opportunity for them to write about some of their Comrades related experiences, pre-race training, etc.

My running started in the 70’s, and my early twenties, when I played club rugby (union) in Cape Town and my off-season way to keep fit was to run with a group of friends (non-rugby players) on the slopes of Table Mountain. With encouragement from them I entered my first marathon (3h17m) and then the Comrades in 1973. I arrived in Melbourne in 1979 and ran my first Big M Melbourne marathon in 1981. I helped found the VRR in 1982 and have continued running since, albeit much slower these days.



Doug also provided two articles reflecting on his own Comrades experiences, which are attached below.


Click here for The Road to Durban


Click here for The Twelve Hours of Comrades



VRR Achievement Awards


Liz Wrigley reached her 100 TTT milestone at the July 2023 Tan.
Congratulations, Liz.


Debra Robb, reached the 150 TTT mark this month.
Congratulations to you too.



Here are a few photos taken at the July TTT by our very own VRR photographer, Helen Myall.
Many photos are taken at each of our events and the one’s below are just a VERY small sample.
ALL the photos are posted on Facebook.
To access Facebook you can use your internet browser and type in the following address:



July TTT Photos


Start of the July TTT.


Brian O’Dea looks very smart in his VRR singlet.
Claire Counsell with her canine pace setter.
Now who’s leading who?.


Our newest VRR member, Prateck Bhasin lead Zachary Chasen (a visitor from Wisconsin USA) through the ‘dog leg’.
Zachery went on to complete the 8km, whilst Prateck stuck to the 4km.
Robert Elston obviously noted the comments last month about the benefits of wearing red whilst running – he certainly looks pretty comfortable here.



VRR Members on Holiday
When you’re on holiday in the UK and you go to Lord’s Cricket Ground to watch Australia in the 2nd test match, you never know who you’ll run into.
Quite by chance, Syd Bone and Grant Padula ran into each other.
Mind you, you could ask, where’s the VRR singlets?
We’re happy to report that there was safety in numbers and that they escaped from the MCC members unharmed.


Well, Grant must’ve heard me, because without any prompting, he sent me this photo the next day.
Grant is on the Richmond bridge crossing the Thames just outside of London.
Grant has been going for a run just about every day whilst in London and I have been able to see where using the Strava app.
Don’t  jump, Grant !!!



July 2023

TTT Results


Click here for results



The August TTT will have the usual 7.30am start at the ‘Pillars of Wisdom’ and is on Saturday 5th August 2023.
Refer to the website (vrr.org.au) for more details


If you read Stride Out regularly, you’ll know that Tony Freegard has been battling prostate cancer.
Tony has already taken us part of the way on his journey and here is the latest progress report.
Of course, it’s written with Tony’s usual wit and candor.


Oncology not Urology
Recently a reader commented that I have neglected oncology in favour of urology in my articles. Being the insecure feeble being that I am I immediately leapt to my defence claiming that I couldn’t make fun of Peter Mac, because they are too slick. And that’s true. However, I suspect that the real reason lies elsewhere. Essentially, I am a clown taking cheap shots at everybody and everything, especially from behind the protective facade as a light-hearted correspondent of no consequence. Given my shallow and juvenile approach how could I resist the rich and fertile soil of pee and poo gags that Urology abounds. This is the staple of schoolboy humour and it probably says more about the writer than I am comfortable to discuss here.
Despite the fact that I have matured little in recent times, I have accepted the challenge and dip my toe into the hilarious and fun filled area of oncology. For those of you that have been living under a rock somewhere this is a serious subject, well it was until I came along.
Firstly, it is ironic that you can die waiting for that final prognosis, as it requires endless rounds of blood tests (I hate blood tests), bone tests, MRIs, scans and screens to arrive and that pivotal point. And you don’t want them to get it wrong and tell you that you are suffering no more than a bad case of gastro.
Some tests are straightforward and mundane, whereas others offered their own unique experience, for example the MRI was quite fun (if expensive) taking in all the weird noises, sounded a bit like Fripp and Eno’s No Pussy Footing on forwards, then backwards and even half speed, just like the album. Prior to the CT scan room service provides refreshments on the house, don’t get excited they’re dishwashing liquid flavour. Worse still when the nurse offered me a post tea or coffee I opted for water, on an economy drive she provided this in the same cup with traces of the dishwashing flavour, yuk! Neither of these two procedures revealed the true nature of my condition; playing hard to get I didn’t want to give up all my secrets too easily.
I felt decidedly special undergoing a PSMA scan (I think means Post Sane Memory Assessment), we had to wait for a knight in shining armour mounted on a white steed to deliver this precious vial containing a substance that enjoys a very short shelf life. No just reaching across to the fridge for a fresh tinnie.
So finally, we arrive at a prognosis, unfortunately for the urologist who couldn’t find an oncologist to deliver the news, its worse than expected. Advanced prostate cancer metastasised into the lymph nodes. Treatable, but incurable. Sorry, but I couldn’t find an amusing way round that.
Hormone Therapy, “They’re filling me up with girlie juice.”
That is a funny line that I am quite fond of and reluctant to let go, however, it is totally and completely incorrect. I have no medical training and am not qualified to speak so, my explanations are only my understanding and all errors are mine.
Low levels of prostate cancer are relatively benign and modern practice is to take a wait and see approach via regular PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood tests. Even high levels of localised prostate cancer the prognosis is good, with treatments that can allow the patient to live a long and fruitful life with ongoing monitoring.
The game changer is metastasis. Cancer cells are marauding disrupters, that modern science has not yet found a way to cure their wandering and destructive ways. Let’s call them the bad guys and they reside in an organ along side the good guys who do all the work in an attempt to keep the organ functioning. Once the bad guys have caused enough disruption in their home organ they jailbreak, escape into the bloodstream and take up residence in another organ to disrupt the work of the new host. The transition of cancerous cells from one organ to another is metastasis. Once a prostate cell, always a prostate cell, even cancerous and occupying another organ.
Lymph nodes are those cheerful guys in hi-viz who stand on street corners brandishing Stop/Slow signs directing traffic, or in this case directing fluid flow around the body, preventing things like fluid retention and sausage legs. Invading cancer cells wreak all sorts of trouble by disrupting this important work. Imagine these little devils changing both sides of the Stop signs to Stop, swapping the speed zones from 40 to 100, then stealing all the Road Work Ahead signs, havoc!
Cancerous prostate cells feed on testosterone produced by the body and hormone treatment attempts to disrupt its production by stealth, thus starving the cells of what they need to grow and multiply. Lurking in dark corners of the male body are spies in trench coats secretly monitoring testosterone levels and reporting back to a little On/Off switch in the brain. When the testosterone levels drop, the switch flicks to On and contacts the Testosterone Production Department down stairs and orders a shipment of the stuff to be distributed throughout the body. The hormone treatment blocks all communication with the factory. The redundant testosterone makers remain blissfully unaware of the order, and the cancer cells are left waiting for lunch to arrive, enter Uber Eats, no forget that last bit.
Of course, we don’t get off scot-free. Remember Monty Python’s “What have the Romans ever done for us?” skit. But, only in reverse, as the Romans provided health, sanitation, roads, Latin (good one Caesar), law and order, water via the aqueduct and other goodies to the ungrateful. Hormone treatment delivers side effects like fatigue, hot flushes (I hear you ladies), lethargy, loss of bone density, fatigue, unexplained weight gain especially around the girth, lethargy, loss of concentration and confusion, fatigue, and memory loss, and did I mention fatigue and lethargy. Plus, a loss of blokes’ stuff, and I don’t mean their wallets. Whereas the ungrateful can expect increased longevity. It is important to keep up some form of exercise to retain muscle mass, therefore the pharmaceutical company funds a strength training course at Deakin University, but due to lethargy I can’t be bothered.
This medication is delivered via injection under the skin in the abdomen. Initially, two injections in the one session. The first I felt mortally wounded and cowered in fear of the next. Paralysed in shock I survived the second. Bent double I ambled home to the station like the walking wounded. One month later I was due again and was greeted by the same nurse syringe in hand and she asked me, “Would you like an icebag?” What for? “To ease the pain,” she said. Told her she didn’t give me one last time, she insists she did. Ensued one of those unedifying exchanges, “Did,” “Didn’t,” “Did,” “Didn’t.”  Since she was holding all the sharp instruments I backed down. The icebag is essential to reduce the pain. Injections are now every quarter for the rest of my life or as long as the treatment is still effective.
Once again, what has this got to do with running? For me everything as I am determined to join you all at the Tan again, and only with treatment and the wonderful help from the kind and thoughtful medical staff will I achieve this goal.
I am keeping a keen eye on the word count and it is getting away from me, plus I am becoming weary, I may need a nana nap. Let’s leave radiotherapy until next time.
Thanks for reading
Tony Freegard
Agent #99



VRR Members might be interested to know that the Race against Puffing Billy is back on again this year.
This event has always proven to be very popular with our membership.
The link for more information is
Puffing Billy Running Festival – Home



Stephen Barker, Kevin Browne, Sally Browne, Tony Doran, Graham Edwards, Jenny Field, Peter Field, Vern Gerlach (dec), Peter Gunn (dec.), Don Hampshire, Eileen Helmers (dec), Frank Helmers (dec), Betty Horskins, Graeme Horskins, Mike Kennedy, Lynn Kisler,  Greig McEwan, Ross Martin (dec), Vin Martin, John Morris, Helen Myall,  Peter Nicoll, Bill Noonan, Brian O’Dea, Rod Opie, Graham Prossor, Melissa Sirianni, Doug Stokes, Brian Toomey (dec.), Stuart White, Robert Wilson, Judy Wines, Tom Worrell (dec) and Val Worrell.


Can you ask your running friends if they are receiving their email copy of Stride Out.
If they aren’t, can you get them to send me an email (gprossor@bigpond.net.au) asking to be put on the distribution list.





Position Member Run Time
1 Noah Hemberson 4km 14.02
2 Prateek Bhasin 4km 17.02
3 Kevin Armstrong 4km 19.42


Position Member Run Time
1 Zachary Chasen 8km 34.02
2 Carl Kennedy 8km 36.42
3 Mick Wilson 8km 37.20

Download Results


2023-08-04T12:56:35+10:00August 4th, 2023|