Josh Torley aces Merimbula Fun Run

Josh Torley is something of a rocket man.

The runner took line honours in both the 10km and 5km distances during Sunday’s annual Merimbula Fun Run.

And it wasn’t just crossing the line first, but the remarkable pace he set during Sunday’s runs that impressed officials, with a 16-minute first lap in the 5km event and then astonishingly keeping pace to finish in just over 32 minutes. 

He then backed up to do the 5km event and crossed in about 17 minutes to blitz the field.

Finishing runner-up was Steve Isles with a great run to close in just a few minutes behind in 37 minutes and just 40-seconds further back was young gun Steph Torley to claim the women’s result and third outright.

Josh holds the 5km men’s record that he set last year, but even with a blistering pace the 10km record set by Bradley Croker remained unscathed with a mind-bending 30 minute, 52 second result in 2016.

Steph Auston holds the women’s record, but didn’t get the chance to compete over the weekend as she is currently running overseas.

Officials were quite pleased with the turnout with more than 200 competing across the 10km, 5km and 2km kids’ dash events.

A glassy calm Merimbula Lake provided a flawless backdrop on a cool start, but the pace quickly had things heating up. 

There was plenty of support during the 10km run as entrants were able to cheer each other on across the split loop at the halfway mark.

On a new course layout, starting from Beach Street rather than Ford Park some runners were a little hesitant about the new course, that looped uphill to the Merimbula Wharf.

Many expected times to be a lot slower than previously, saying the downhill return legs wouldn’t counter the lost pace.

However most were pleasantly surprised and responded well to the course saying it still had some great vistas of the lake.

After completing a 100km ultra-trail marathon just last week Isles and Bourke said they “weren’t the best runners to ask as we deal with hills all the time”.

Isles did say the Beach Street start provided a fantastic “level finish” where runners could empty the tank in a sprint to the line.

Bemboka distance runner Keith Law echoed the sentiment saying the hills had him a bit worried about his previously injured achilles, but said the slopes came about 1km into the course and everyone was perfectly warmed up and ready by then.

“It wasn’t hilly from the start so you were warmed up and then it’s a really nice flowing downhill stretch on the return,” he said.

“I really enjoyed it.”

The climb still garnered a mixed response from some entrants, but was largely positive with even casual regulars in the fun run.

This story Torley sets pace in fun run first appeared on Bega District News.