JACA FUN RUN: Accomplished athlete Celia Sullohern has praised the organisers of the Jacaranda Fun Run after blitzing the newlook course on Sunday.
Previously held at Waterview Heights, the event was moved into Grafton as part of the Jacaranda Festival revamp. The 10km route involved runners completing two laps of a circuit from Memorial Park across Grafton Bridge to the South Grafton Cenotaph and back.
The picturesque layout received a tick of approval from the former Australian cross country representative, who won in an impressive time of 36 minutes 05 seconds.
"It was beautiful running across the bridge. I thought that was a really good feature," Sullohern said.
"I really enjoy running at that time of the morning and I felt nice and smooth so everything came together well.
"In terms of organisation it was one of the best events I've done.
"I know how much work goes into it so I appreciate all the volunteers and organisers giving their time.
"The course was so well marked out with marshals making it so easy."
Sullohern won by more than two minutes ahead of Beth Hickey (38:09) and Clare Palmer (38:42) in an all-female podium.
"I was happy with that time, it was nice to have a solid hitout," Sullohern said.
"I did think the men's field might be a little bit stronger.
"But I was very excited to see the girls finish one-two-three. I've run a little bit with Beth, she's very talented.
"The boys will have to up their game for next year."
Sam Herd was the first male across the line, recording 39:05 in his first Jacaranda Fun Run.
Sullohern is concentrating her training towards the upcoming triathlon season and said the fun run was a good hit out in her preparations.
"I'm doing a little bit more triathlon stuff at the moment and the Olympic distance triathlons are a 10km run, so it fits in nicely."
Sullohern has claimed a few titles in recent months, including Queen of the Mountain (9.6km) at Mt Coramba near Coffs Harbour, theCoffs Harbour Running Festival Half-Marathon and 5km (which included a 20-minute gap between events) and the Brisbane River Run (100km).
The physiotherapist moved to the Clarence Valley in February. She currently holds the Grafton 5km parkrun women's record of 19:15 set in August, and the weekend prior to the Jacaranda Fun Run set a new mark of 17:03 in her first Yamba parkrun appearance (Oct 29).
Harrison Colyer, who was competing in the Juniors 10 to 14 Years division, was the overall winner of the 5km in an incredible time of 18:11.
Spectators had to wait another two and a half minutes to see runner up Andy Black (20:48) while former Australian Matildas footballer Jo Powell (21:52) was first female home.
Two more Junior 10-14 Years competitors, William Pope and Elke Bowles, finished one-two in the 2.4km event.
JACARANDA FUN RUN - WINNERS
1st Celia Sullohern 36.05
2nd Bethany Hickey 38.09
3rd Clare Palmer 38.42
1st Harrison Colyer 18:11
2nd Andy Black 20:48
3rd Michael Summers 21:15
1st William Pope 8:54
2nd Elke Bowles 9:06
3rd Joel Spoor 9:53