Ken Tomczak won his tenth successive W.R.Somerford Marathon on Sunday with yet another strong performance in which he even found time to entertain the crowd on the way through.
Duncan Jacob was the early leader once the field had left the water after the swim and wade legs and headed north to Floreat. But unlike last year, when Ken lost touch with the front pack leaders and didn't take the lead in the race until the last few hundred metres, by the time the leaders returned toward City it was Ken in front with Duncan and Alison O'Toole just behind.
Preparation is a vital part of this race, and Ken was certainly prepared for some crowd-pleasing antics as he went past the clubrooms at the halfway mark with a watermelon under his arm.
The second half of the race, through the sandhills, is the tougher going and it wasn't too long before Ken and Alison were out on their own, while behind them Jeremy Doney was rapidly making ground on Duncan.
By the time it came to the run along the water's edge back to the finish line at the clubrooms Ken was in the familiar position of running out on his own, and he crossed the line first for the eleventh time, and the tenth in a row. Alison was only about thirty seconds behind, winning the women's event for the twelfth time.
The race for third was tight, with Duncan Jacob just holding off Jeremy Doney (who shed a little "excess weight" on the finish line).
Further back in the field there were the usual tales of exhaustion, dehydration, wrong turns, snake sightings and discovering that the event really is harder than it looks.
Once upon a time this race was dominated by the boat section, but past champions like Warren Somerford, Jim Pouleris and Bill Jarman would probably be a touch disappointed in the performance of the boaties of today. Bob Harper (a four-time winner himself) thought the race would make a good little training run for his young crew. Most people at least get to the half way mark before pulling out but they only made it as far as Floreat surf club before deciding to stop for a shower and a latte before a leisurely walk back.
Bob himself upheld the honour of the boat section by completing the course for what must be about the thirtieth time.
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