It was a pleasure to witness another epic battle of two evenly matched female runners at the Women’s 5km, not seen in local distance running for many years. Every race that involves Hobart’s Mel Daniels and Launceston’s Kate Pedley seems to be a battle royal, with a strong competitive nature amongst the two that I’m sure will continue for years to come.
Launceston’s city park was awash with pink, in honour of the battle waged against breast cancer, with over 1900 females running for the cause at the annual Women’s 5km fun run. City Park proved to be a great location for the out and back city course, with a fantastic atmosphere before and after the race.
Heavy rain cleared, throwing away any doubts, offering still and overcast conditions for perfect racing at Sundays race. From the gun, it was soon realised that this would be a race in three with Pedley taking the pace with Daniels and 17 year old Natalia Smith sitting on her shoulder. By the 2.5km half way mark the leaders had amassed a lead of over a minute on the rest of the field. The slightly uphill gradient back along St John Street was an opportunity to test each others form, with Smith losing contact and leaving the dual between the two top female distance runners in Tasmania to continue back to the City Park finish. The final stretch along Cameron Street proved that Daniels had the superior form and speed, to move away from Pedley to finish in 17m 12s, with an 8s gap to Pedley. Natalia Smith held on well to record a time of 18m 03s. Pedley has still kept her race record of 17m 10s, but it got a shake!
The win by Daniels was her first in the Launceston race, giving her every major Tasmanian fun run title in the past year. Even more interesting is the growing racing rivalry between the two runners. If you look at their head to head races in the last few years it makes interesting reading:
Burnie Ten 2011: Daniels 36.13 – Pedley 36.18 (3 seconds)
Launceston Ten 2011 : Daniels 34.52 – Pedley 35.03 (11 seconds)
Launceston Ten 2010 : Pedley 35.34 – Daniels 35.55 (21 seconds)
Women’s 5km 2010: Pedley 17.10 – Daniels 17.32 (22 seconds)
With a 3-2 lead in the head to head, Daniels seems to have improved with age on the road in the last few years improving by over a full minute over 10km, and has definite scope for further improvement in the coming years. It will be interesting to see how future races pan out with Pedley starting to concentrate on triathlon this year which may affect her fun run preparations in the future.
Either way, I look forward to more racing between these two, and am even willing to pay Pedley’s entry fee for the City to Casino fun run this year to see the battle continue!