Based on information leaked from a reliable source, the number of competitors this year was around 47. This apparently is higher than normal and the reasons for this surge could be threefold:
- It was a nice day
- It provided a chance to take a look inside the new shared $6 million sports complex – Waiora which was opened in April and is now the home of Olympic Harriers
- A chance to sample the International Award-winning apricot balls manufactured by the Sharon Wray Corporation and her equally delicious carrot cake, which I can reveal is not made with pineapple.
There were essentially 2 races, one for the walkers who did 4 laps of the 1.6km circuit and the runners who did 5 laps. Dave Gratton and John Turner did the timekeeping.
The course is relatively safe with no road intersections to worry about and little in the way of resident activity. The course is circular but it isn’t totally flat. The first half of the loop takes you gradually up to the high point of the course while the second half takes competitors gradually down to the start/finish line
This is a boutique event and overall is generally a relaxed affair reminiscent of small-town club races. Everybody was there that mattered – Mrs Jones, knees up mother Brown, Roger Robinson, Katherine Switzer along with a well-performed supporting cast.
The winner of the walking race was Robin Stephens representing Levin who cleared out early and basically never looked back. Although the formidable Jackie Wilson who came second, looked like she was slowly gaining ground.
In the running race, Michael Wray led the field out from the start but I suspect he got overtaken early by Darren Gordon. Darren led for most of the race and looked certain to take the win, except Paul Hewitson had other ideas. In a perfectly timed move Paul, who had been slowly gaining over the preceding laps used his superior downhill running skills to catch Darren on the last lap with 300m to go and grab the win with a 2-second margin.
The fastest woman was Emma Bassett and by the looks of it the youngest competitor in the field.
One of the oldest entrants, John Wood broke the course record for the M80 grade by about 8 minutes or so. How about that!