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Saturday, June 27, 2020

2020 Scottish Centennial Cup Island Bay Wellington Sat 27 Jun (the real race)


For competitive club runners there is nothing like a good race to blow out the cobwebs and start a new season of rivalry. Unless you are Bert, from the Ben and Bert show, in which case the promise of carrot cake for afters, is enough reason to get to the start line. 

So, roughly 94 days after the first day of Level 4 lockdown 95 runners (not counting the kids and walkers who had their own races) set off on the 5km Centennial Cup, an out and back course starting on the Esplanade at Island Bay. The traffic was extremely heavy on the course but at least the day was calm with warm temps for this time of year.

Of those who started, which included a lot of new faces, the handicapper says 50 beat their handicap times. By running faster than expected these people have eliminated any chance of ever winning a club handicap race with James Turner doing the numbers. But bribery might work.

In terms of results, the winner of the cup on handicap was Jasmine Smith who shut out the cunning Don Stevens, who has a history of doing suspiciously well in handicap races.

But when it comes to speed time waits for no man and nor does Hamish Carson. Hamish, who would normally be eyeing up another European season if it wasn't for CV19, ran an impressive 14.16 with a big gap back to the rest of the field. He was so quick I never had a chance to get set up for a return home picture, so the historical photographic record is now somewhat incomplete. Sharon will have something though.

Hamish’s time is a course record and while there is a rumour the distance was short his time and record should stand, until a commission of inquiry finds otherwise. 

I am pretty confident that on today’s performance Hamish should scrape into the Men’s A-Team for the late July Wind Needle Relay and later the University Relay out at QE Park. And who knows maybe he might make a return to the National Relay, where his crushing last lap run (as reported live, blow by blow, by teammate Seamus Kane) gave the Scottish the national title.

Stephen Day was next fastest, earning another notch on the belt against Andrew Wharton who was 8th.  That should get some discussion going at next week’s K-Park thingy.

Mel Stevens was the fastest woman, which is no surprise; and she came close to nailing James Turner over the last 60 metres of the race. Put that on the K-Park agenda for discussion as well. 

The next fastest woman was Heather Walker who I don’t know much about but clearly is somebody to watch in future races.

Perhaps the only disappointment for the day for the Centennial race was the chance that “the Hodge” might make a return to competitive racing. That’s Tim I am talking about last seen by me masquerading as Groucho Marx.  I saw some reference to him doing some training, during the lockdown period, so naturally had high expectations of a return. It was not to be, at least today anyway.

Now as for brother Malcolm H, there was also the chance he might show to demonstrate his unique race strategy which is to go hard, go early and fade (or not) at your leisure. Now to be fair sometimes this approach to racing can actually work but you have to be bold enough to have a go.  I personally recommend it for the half-marathon distance.

Somebody who did turn up was Mr GoPro himself. I am referring of course to Daryl Bloomfield, the affable race director of the Scottish Waterfront 5km race series. People keep going back to these races because of Daryl’s personable and friendly nature, which makes me wonder if he is related to Dr Ashley B.

The kids had their own out and back bash with around 8 or so nippers participating.  I think it was a 1km out and back, done twice.  As club president Michael Wray pointed out at the prize giving there is currently no trophy for the “J Team Race”, but he has issued an executive order to fix this. 

The walkers had their round the block race earlier and the winner on handicap for the second year in a row was Terri Grimmett. Well done Terri. The walking race traditional attracts a clutch of racers from other Wellington clubs, notably Trentham United, and this year was no different. 

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