The 2nd coming of the Needle Relay was on Saturday. I have assumed, like others, this relay is a replacement for the discontinued Bays Relay normally held about this time of the year. The first iteration of the Needle event in 2020 was held much earlier in the year closer to the beginning of the season and it is not clear where it will fit on the calendar for 2023. But one thing is certain, it will need 98 Needle Relays to be held before the 100th can be celebrated. By which time Cobham Drive could well be deep underwater.
There are two races for this event, a kids 4 person relay comprised of a 1.6km lap that heads from south to north around the bays with a turnaround somewhere.
The main race is a 5 person knees-up with 3 of the laps measured close to 5km heading south to north and return around the bays.
The 2x3km laps head out along Cobham Drive with a turnaround near the orange cone and the guy with the safety vest.
The Wellington City Council conditions for allowing this event to proceed include some sensible restrictions plus a couple of daft ones.
Daryl the Dude (Mr GoPro) did the electronic timing while WHAC who did a good job organising the event provided the bulk of the marshals. Rees Buck did an excellent job as usual behind the microphone.
The event ran smoothly overall, although there were a couple of "incidents" involving team 08 (dropped baton), team H7 (next lap runner still having lunch) and team S21 (next lap runner nowhere to be seen – possibly kidnapped by the opposition: thus an emergency replacement runner was required.
So when all was said and done there was nothing to worry about.
The Scottish Men’s A team took the fastest time for the day, leading for most of the 5 laps.
The gap at the end between last year’s winning team, the WHAC Men’s A team was about 2 minutes.
But right up until the end of lap 3 the WHAC team were gaining ground.
A solid run by Harry McLean on lap 4 pretty much put paid to the WHAC aspirations, although it still holds the record from last year for the fastest overall time for the relay.
I also note Scottish had 3 teams disqualified for infringing the race rules and the only other team red-flagged was from HVH.
Roll on 2023.
Guess what happened here that required Stephen Day to come to the rescue?
Main Relay Photos
Kids Race photos
The winning Olympic Harriers team