|Peter Ellis and the rest of the Kapiti Harrier crew|
The annual day at the beach turned out to be overcast and chilly, but for dogs chasing bits of wood into the sea, this didn't seem to matter.
The Baudinet Cup is a long-established Scottish open handicap race, which has been held over the same course for many decades.
The race now incorporates the Bernie Portenski Memorial Cup which is open to all participants (except Ray Marten) including members of other clubs.
As Scottish Club President Michael Wray pointed out, Bernie will be remembered as a Wellington inspiration) and an international icon. So in many ways, this is the only interclub mixed terrain handicap race, or is it?
The course which covers around 9.3km incorporates sections of road, waterside trail, cross country and a big hill. It is both scenic and challenging.
The slowest runners get a head start by progressively taking off either singly or in groups based on their handicap. The fastest move off last and in theory, everybody is supposed to finish around the same time.
And they mostly did that.
The first runner home and winner of the Bernie Portenski Memorial Cup was Annie Van Herck from Olympic Harriers. Well done Annie. There was much daylight between Annie and the next runners who over several minutes slowly appeared one by one up the beach. This included Tanya Lavington, the first Scottish runner and winner of the Baudinet Cup.
As the minutes ticked over more and more runners came onto the northern end of the beach to begin the long run to the finish line. The trickle became a torrent of finishers battling up the beach toward a nearly invisible finish line, cunningly disguised as a line in the sand.
There was a bit of chaos 💥at this point as the timekeeper and finish line helpers tried to keep the crush of finishers orderly for accurate timing and record taking. But noted conversationalist and environmentally friendly chaos development expert John Hines was on hand to ensure things remained mostly chaotic.
The subtext to the mad-rush of finishers is that handicapper James Turner esquire and the other club handicappers did a great job at figuring out when everybody should be crossing the line. You can be too good though James, but next year you may need to take a close look at Annie's handicap.
But moving on, this is what Mr Turner said about the race.
“Great day at Titahi Bay today, with excellent wins on handicap by
Tanya Lavington and (Ollie was just in front of Uncle Grant
who produced an excellent 33.50 for 3rd best time on the day). But just as good was to see two of our top guys fronting up and doing the business on the day. Both are legends who can be relied on to show up regularly at club races. Hats off to Daniel Jones and, with special kudos to Hamish for breaking Steve Hunt’s longstanding course record (29.38 in 1988) with a spectacular 29.12! Seeing him fly past me at the top of the hill was both awe-inspiring and slightly depressing in equal measure!!”
Note the less than subtle hint from Mr T that maybe a few more of the clubs/centre faster runners should attend these club races. Ahem and amen.
The walkers had their own leisurely jaunt around the block while the kids had a race/run along the south end of the beach. But apart from the running, give kids water, sand, some bits of stone and wood and you have happiness.
The aftermath function included much food and stuffies, and many thanks to those that pitched in including the indomitable Sharon Wray, who could easily feed the world. Check out the prizegiving vid and photos below.