Around the Island Relay and Race 2012

Sunday the 2nd of December turned on the weather for the annual running of the Around the Island relay and race. The largest field in many years turned out with around 115 competitors entered in the various categories including individual walkers, the team walkers, individual runners and running teams.

The event brings together a smattering of science and lots of technical mathematics to determine starting handicaps regardless of age and gender, which in theory means that walkers or runners should, all things being equal, cross the finish line at the same time. The results certainly show that age, gender or experiences are no barrier to anyone making it to the winner’s podium and this year was no different.

Following the briefing from start officials, the walkers got underway at 5.15am from gallows gate following their respective handicap times and made their way along Quality Row, past the cemetery and Bloody Bridge, then engaging the Driver Christian climb with enthusiasm (although, for most the enthusiasm was a little short lived), along Collins head road before turning into Cascade Road and the first of 5 water stations along the course, at the school gates. This was also the first relay change point for the walking and running teams.

Keyden Weekley, who led out the walkers, maintained a strong lead until just after the halfway point at Captain Cook memorial but was soon to be overtaken by previous walks winner Jenny Donaldson. A very nervous start from Polly McNamara was quickly set aside as she positioned herself on the race home to take the lead with a little over 5kms to walk and storm home as the new walks champion for 2012 in an actual time of 3 hours 47 minutes – a great effort for the 25km course.Keyden crossed shortly after to take 2nd, with a fast finishing Jenny Donaldson taking out 3rd spot.

The 4 teams of walkers( 6 in each team) battled through the morning but Polly had set her team up (the Dolls)with a strong first leg, before continuing to complete the entire course as an individual, and they kept a comfortable lead to the finish only a few minutes slower than their actual time from last year. Two teams comprised mainly of the local ‘Chalkies” vied for bragging rights for second place but both were pipped by the team of Teva and Mareeva Evans, Tori Reeves, Zanaida and Paige Adams, and Keely Williams. Their actual time was  3 hours 29 minutes for the course , the fastest of the day for the walkers but missing out on 1st place due to time handicap ( due mainly to the 30+ year difference between each of the Dolls team members and themselves !!)

With the runners starting their campaign at 6.30 am, there were 12 teams that took the course at various handicap intervals, and only 2 runners that braved the entire course, Leia Widdowson and Richard Cribb. Richard picked up 1st place in an actual time of 2 hours 18 minutes with Leia settling for 2nd this year but in an improved time of 2 hours and 40 minutes ( a full minute better than last year).

The team event was a battle between the young guns – Ronan Davies, Ethan Richards, Jake Singer, Will Partridge, Blake O’Hara and Andre Forrester and the more seasoned veterans of Brad Griffiths, Candice Snell, Alan McNeill, James Walden, Daniel Griffiths and Serina Trickey. The veterans began with a handicap that saw them leave the start around a minute and a half ahead of the young guns only to have the slim lead whittled away by the turn for home at Captain Cook memorial, where they were neck and neck. Younger legs carried the young guns to team victory for the second year in a row in an actual time of 1 hour and 58 minutes – just a pinch slower than their winning time in 2011.

Finishing 3rd in the teams’ event was Mark Millet, Tony Wilkinson, Dean Burrell, Deb Johnston, Michael Vaughan and Ben Hayes – for many a first time attempt but a great team effort on their first outing. Great to see a number of younger teams ( 8 – 11 year olds) competing again this year with plenty of parent support through the morning and lots of encouragement offered at all of the relay change points. Special mention of the team of Mirabelle Creek, Harrison Hayes, Sam Cribb, Ruby Ciantar, Peter Haymes and Kya Snell, who led the runners out from the start and worked hard all morning to return in 5th place overall out of 12 teams – with an average age of just over 9 this was an outstanding effort and a team to watch in the future. They picked up the Athletics Norfolk Island encouragement award for their effort and conduct – well done!

The morning’s event finished back at the Kingston Compound with the beach welcoming most walkers and runners before the sausage sizzle and prize presentation got underway. As soon as the last team clocked in the prizes were presented by the president of Athletics Norfolk Island, Mr Brentt Jones as follows:

Individual Runner :

 1st – Richard Cribb 

2nd – Leia Widowson 

Running Teams:

1st -  Ronan Davies,Ethan Richards,Jake Singer, Will Partridge,Blake O’Hara,Andre Forrestor

2nd – Brad Griffiths,Candice Snell,Alan McNeill,James Walden,Daniel Griffiths,Serina Trickey

3rd – Mark Millet,Tony Wilkinson,Dean Burrell,Deb Johnston,Micahel Vaughan,Ben Hayes

Individual Walkers:

1st – Polly McNamara

2nd – Keyden Weekley

3rd – Jenny Donaldson

Walking Teams:

1st – “The Dolls” – Polly McNamara,Corrine Parsons(2 legs),Lisa Richards,Binky Woodward,Anne Signal.

2nd – Teva Evans, Mareeva Evans, Tori Reeves, Zanaida Adams, Keeley Williams, Page Adams

The prize pool of vouchers this year was in excess of $1100 and was sponsored by Athletics Norfolk Island. Athletics Norfolk Island thanks all competitors and friends and parents for your support for this great event  and looks forward to seeing you all again at next year’s Around the Island Relay.