19 October 2014
Locals take Fernleigh15 titles

Newcastle-raised Aaron Royle and Newcastle-based Celia Sullohern have secured the 2014 Fernleigh 15 titles on a warm Sunday morning in Newcastle. Doubling as the Athletics NSW 15km road race, Royle won a sprint finish over race organiser Scott Westcott 46:15 to 46:18.
“I was happy with how I ran, but credit to Scott for making me work hard all the way to the line,” Royle said.
“I had a nice hit out this morning – I’ve got a busy couple of weeks so I saw this as a great opportunity to have a hit out against quality runners,” said the Glasgow Commonwealth games triathlon bronze medallist.
Raised in Newcastle, a few years ago Royle, moved to Wollongong to train with Jamie Turner and his elite triathlon squad.
“It is always nice to head to my home town of Newcastle and have a run in front of my family who don’t get to see me race all that often.”
Next up for Royle is the Nepean and Noosa triathlons in the coming weekends to finish off a busy year.”
Royle and Westcott recorded the two fastest times in the history of the race.
Early leader in the NSW distance runner of the year competition, Tom do Canto (HIL) was third in 46:47, while Matthew Cox (UTN) was fourth in 47:33. Going into the race, Cox had a 16 point, and unassailable lead, in the distance runner of the year competition, but he ensured he took the prize scoring 12 points.

Newcastle physiotherapy student, Celia Sullohern (MQH), who was the in augural Fernleigh 15 winner in 2012, easily won the 2014 title ahead of Belinda Martin (STG).
“I am just absolutely stoked with today’s run. Somewhere between Adamstown and Belmont today, I rediscovered my love of running again!” said Sullohern who ran two minutes 45 seconds faster than her 2012 win.
Martin clocked 54:01 and although nearly two minutes behind Sullohern, her time was still fast enough to have won either of the previous titles. Martin also clinched the NSW distance runner of the year, winning the last three events, the NSW half marathon, NSW marathon and now the Fernleigh 15. In third was local Stephanie Auston (54:32) who recently won the Australian University Games 10,000m title at Homebush.

Sutherland’s Luke Bailey won the men’s wheelchair division in 41:58, just one second ahead of Paralympic Games medallist and women’s winner Rosemary Little (HIL).

Over 1100 athletes competed in the third edition of the Fernleigh 15.
“Thanks to H events and Scott Westcott for a top morning out in sunny Newcastle,” said Sullohern.

Full results are available at: results

Honour roll previous winners
MEN
2014 Aaron Royle MQH 46:15
2013 Hugh Williams SYU 46:58
2012 Martin Dent ACT 46:39

WOMEN
2014 Celia Sullohern MQH 52:12
2013 Nat Archer SYU 54:07
2012 Celia Sullohern MQH 54:57

David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW