Around the Island Relay and Race 2010

Attracting over 70 competitors and run over a course that weaves its way through Georgian era buildings, through the newly inscribed World Heritage site, up and down Norfolk’s steepest roads and terrain, along cliff tops and through rain forest trails the Athletics Norfolk Island “Around the Island Relay and Race” was run on Sunday 14th November.

Alan McNeill, the early favourite, put on a powerful running display  to take the title at his first try. In a scorching time of 1hour 58 minutes for the very undulating 25km course Alan had to play catch up to seasoned campaigner, Trevor Calder, who had led off the race 11 minutes ahead of McNeill. By the end of the 3 rd stage and at the halfway point of the race Alan was still trailing Trevor by nearly 8 minutes but his determination paid off and by the time these two athletes entered the final stage Alan had taken the lead and crossed the line in first place with a 7 minute gap back to Trevor.

Following into 3rd place was Richard Cribb, who had last year’s fastest actual time, posting another solid performance of 2 hours 16 minutes.

The only female entry in the individual run was Ylva Kendrick, crossing the line in 4th place with a time of 2 hours 38 minutes. Lucy Janssens, having entered in the “Mummalicious” team for the relay, completed the first relay leg for the team and then chose to keep running – and run she did to cross the line in a time of 2 hours 52 minutes. Great efforts from all the individual runners and hopefully they will all be confident starters in the “Norfolk Gift” events next weekend.

The walkers got underway at 5.15 am led out by last year’s champion Jenny Donaldson. Hot on her heals was Judy Roberts with a 9 minute handicap but it wasn’t long before Judy had Jenny in her sights and when she eventually took the lead, just before the halfway mark, she continued then to power away to finish the individual walk in a great time of 3 hours 43 minutes.

Brian James efforts in his first showing in this event took him into second place in the individual walk and with a little more training he will be a challenger for the individual title next year.

Despite Jenny being chased around the course by her husband Graeme , she eventually allowed him to catch her on the home straight and after 25 kms they held hands to cross the finish line in equal third place in the individual walk.

Two walking teams, comprising 6 walkers, battled it out for the team walks title for the first time.”Thursti As” started confidently with Jacqui Grundy tackling the Driver Christian Road leg but the teams’ early lead was quickly chased down by Duncan Evans team. Duncan’s long legs and Gaewyn’s strict training regime seemed to pay dividends in the initial stages but Candida’s power performance from Puppies Point to 100 Acres , where she handed over to Sick Buffett for the final leg, sealed the race for their team crossing in first place with a solid time of 3 hours 36 minutes.

The runners started at 6.30 am ,and with only a little over 17 minutes handicap separating all individual and team runners it was clear from the outset that keeping competitors in sight was going to be key to who would run out the winners. The teams fought gallantly all morning but the benefits of training ,youthfulness and  strict fitness regimes clearly helped Tim Rogers  team to a well deserved win in a time of 2 hours 7 minutes for the course. Tim”Bonnet”Rogers flew out of the blocks from the start quickly picking up runners as they struggled up Driver Christian Road – Brett Thompson remembers only the thunder roll  as Tim flashed past like a lightning bolt along Collins Head Road to put his team in a virtually unassailable lead at the first relay change. Solid runs from the team continued to increase their lead with Jake Singer, Blake O’Hara and Teva Evans displaying grit and determination beyond their years to give Will Partridge  the perfect platform to power home for a memorable win.

Taking second place in the teams event was a team comprised of athletes with none of them older than 10 ,and what a race they ran. Oozing talent , these youngsters pushed themselves to the limit to try to hold onto their handicap lead only to lose it to Tim Rogers team in the run for home. Despite losing the lead they were not deterred and fought on ,holding all other contenders at bay to secure 2nd place in what must be an event best time for a group of such young athletes, crossing the line in 2 hours 35 minutes. Note the names of these young athletes as it is only a matter of time before they start to make their mark in the senior ranks : Jemima Quintal, Tilly Menzies-Thompson, Holly Bigg, Amarnah Whitney, Mason Wilkinson and Taylah Menzies. Taylah incidentally is the reigning “Norfolk Gift” champion and will out to defend her title on November 27th.

With a combined 231 years of experience between them, the third placed team “the Chalkies” led off by Brett Thompson was not able to peg back the entire 17 minute start of their much younger competitors. Aging limbs and aching joints didn’t stop their  chase and hitting the finish line saw the margin reduced to just a little over 2 minutes.

The all woman’s team “Mummalicious”,who performed strongly in 2009 and were firming as favourites for this year’s teams race were not able to match it with the podium finishers this year but their determination to win this race will no doubt see them in training mode early next year in the lead up to the 2011 event. A mere 1 minute 30 seconds from 3rd place – so close yet so far. A great performance ladies.

The three other teams from Norfolk Island Central School were never far off the pace finishing within 10 minutes or so of the minor placegetters.The two school teams comprising of twelve athletes each were always contenders for the team titles, particularly with the strong support network and cheer squads being so well organised and mobile. For their efforts Athletics Norfolk Island awarded both teams encouragement awards but from their performances it won’t be long before they are forming the core of the champion teams in this event. Well done to all the teams for great teamwork, performance and sportsmanship throughout the mornings racing.

At the completion of the competition a sausage sizzle and refreshments were provided by Athletics Norfolk Island, with special thanks to Tim Rogers and Matt Bigg for their catering expertise.

President of Athletics Norfolk Island, Brentt Jones, awarded individuals and teams with their prizes, sponsored by Athletics Norfolk Island by way of purchase of gift vouchers from  sponsors who support Athletics Norfolk Island through the year.

Final results:

 

Walk -  Individual  

 

- 1st – Judy Roberts

- 2nd- Brian James

- 3rd – Graeme & Jenny Donaldson

 

Walk - Team     

      

- 1st – Wendy Burrell, Melissa Graham, Duncan Evans, Gaewyn Evans, Norm Buffett, Candida Langman.

Run   - Individual   

 

- 1st – Alan McNeill                                            

- 2nd -Trevor Calder                                                  

- 3rd -Richard Cribb

                                                 

Run -  Team

 

- 1st – Tim Rogers, Blake O’Hara, Teva Evans, William Partridge, Ethan Richards, Jake Singer.

- 2nd – Jemima Quintal, Tilly Menzies-Thompson, Holly Bigg, Amarnah Whitney, Mason Wilkinson, Taylah Menzies.

- 3rd – Brett Thompson, Tony Janssens, Tony Wilkinson, Deb Johnson, Michael Vaughan, David Mayo.