On December 21st, 2003, Ken Tomczak broke Warren Somerford’s fifty-year-old record, winning the W.R. Somerford Marathon for the eighth time in a row.
Conditions were perfect for the race. A light easterly meant flat water for the initial swim leg, and although conditions were a little warm on the course there were no sections requiring the field of about twenty to run into a direct headwind.
The early stages of swim and wade were led out by Jono Stock, with James Cohen, Ben Carrick, Luke Tidey and Alicia Marriott close behind. As the field headed north to Floreat, ten times women’s champion Alsion O’Toole quickly reeled in the front pack, and was leading the field as they headed off the beach onto the back road, and back onto the soft sand towards City.
Ken Tomczak was also closing the gap fast, and by the time the field were going past the clubrooms at the halfway point, the lead group consisted of Ken, Alison, James and Jono.
Once into the sandhills of south City Beach, Ken made his break on the group. A close encounter with a dugite saw
the pace (and heart-rate!) of the chasing pack increase for a while, but once Ken hit the end of the sandhills and was onto the hard sand run home it was clear he would take Warren Somerford’s record and record eight wins in a row.
Alison O’Toole was about a hundred and fifty metres behind in second place, winning the women’s title for the eleventh time in thirteen years.
James Cohen crossed third, with Jono Stock fourth, and the rest of the field strung out behind.
Most were just glad to see the finish line at the end of one of the most gruelling events on the City calendar.