Around the Island Relay and Race 2014

This years Around the Island Relay and Race attracted a solid field of over 80 competitors to walk and run on what is arguably one of the most scenic courses anywhere in the World, taking in spectacular coastal and cliff top views, the peace and tranquillity of the National Park setting and the stunning convict settlement precinct at Kingston.

The walkers, both individuals and teams, began their trek at 5.15 am in a mass start from the beachfront at Slaughter Bay. Made more interesting this year as each walker and team, with their respective handicaps, had to try and judge how fast they needed to go if they were to have a chance of winning the walks titles.

Perennial campaigner Jenny Donaldson was always the one to beat in the individual walk with around a 37-minute handicap over Lance Miller (handicaps are determined on age and sex factoring), who had the least handicap. Lance bolted away from the start line and by the first water station, opposite the Central school, he had opened up what appeared to be a winning lead. Hovering not far away, was a group of walkers headed by Tanya Delaney, Karen Buffett and Tina Nisbet, who looked like they might be in a strong position to challenge for overall bragging rights. It seemed that our past champion Jenny, was struggling to keep contact but as the race continued she drew on her past successes to reign in her younger challengers. To Lance’s great credit, he set a strong pace and kept to it right to the end but fell agonisingly short, a matter of less than 2 minutes, of making up the 37 minute handicap he needed to take out this years title. Although first across the line in a time of 3 hours 19 minutes, his adjusted handicap time left him short by 1 minute and 54 seconds, allowing Jenny to regain her individual walks crown from 2012. Lance picked up second place followed by Tanya Delaney in third. All of the 15 individual entrants completed the entire course with just less than 1 hour separating first and last.

The walking teams event featured 5 teams of varying make up, with the Christian Brothers (John, Glen and Ernie) joining with Kerry Christian, Yvonne Robinson and Jane Rutledge in their first attempt to stake a claim to the championship title. With a combined age of 326 years it seemed they may have had an unfair advantage when it came to handicap but despite their finest efforts they were beaten into third spot by Ginny Walker and Jacqui Grundy’s team, both of whom had tested their fitness by tackling 3 legs of the relay each. The team title for 2014 went to the team of Lance Miller and Kym Adams; Lance completing the first 4 legs for their team and Kym finishing the final 2 legs in great style with an overall time of 3 hours 25 minutes.

The runners began their assault on the course at a more reasonable time of 6.30 am and followed the traditional start of a countdown according to handicap. The 2 individuals in this years race, Candice Nobbs and Richard Cribb, headed off only a little over 3 minutes apart, and it was not until well into the race that Richard reeled Candice in to take the lead and power through to his first win in the event. A great day for Richard following a series of minor placings over the last few years. Richards actual time was 2 hours 26 minutes for the 25 km. Candice not far behind in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes.

The running teams were out in force again this year with 8 teams entered. A late scratching of Will Partridges team, was received on the start line and meant that the teacher’s team of Michael Vaughan, Deb Johnston, Tony Wilkinson, Shannon O’Hare, Mark Millett and Ben Hayes, third place getters in 2013 suddenly firmed as favourites for this event. The team of Jacob Millett, Kyran Randall, Cameron Christian, Patrick O’Hare, Doug Snell, TK Morgan, Bernard Morgan and Mason Wilkinson headed off the start determined to be crowned champions for 2014 and continued with a great effort on every leg of the course. With a strong finish the team clocked the fastest actual time of 2 hours and 8 minutes but with handicaps, crossed the line just 14 seconds behind the teachers to take out second place. A little over 6 minutes behind and in 3rd place overall was the team of Arki Nobbs, Charlie Carr, Eloise Grant, Eamonn Kennerly, Ella Langusch and Sophie Ellem.

Great to see so many teams involved with a spread of just over 25 minutes separating the first and last teams over the length of the course.

By just after 9.30 am the last of the walkers and running teams had crossed the finish line and the mornings event was rounded off with a sausage sizzle in the compound for all competitors, family and friends before the prize giving with Brentt Jones, President of Athletics Norfolk Island, making presentations to the winners and place getters in each of the run and walks categories.

Athletics Norfolk Island would like to thank all those who assisted in making this years event another success particularly Paula for managing entries and catering, Pauline, Paula and Brentt on the water stations and of course the competitors, friends and families for their support.

With the event to receive promotion to visitors over the next few months, the date for the Around Island Relay and Race for 2015 have already been confirmed for the first Sunday in November so please make a note in your diaries for Sunday 1 November, 2015.

A note for athletes and supporters, the Norfolk Island “Gift” will be conducted on Saturday the 6th of December beginning at 2.00 pm at the Malcolm Champion Oval. Events will include the Norfolk Island Gas Centre 100metres, the World Traders 400 metres and the Middlegate Mile. Entry to this event is free and open to all-comers. All competitors are age and sex factored to give everyone an equal chance of winning a great array of prizes.

For entries or additional information please contact Paula O’Hara (50338), Geoff Gardner (23050) or Brentt Jones (22355). Entries will need to be received by Paula no later than Friday the 5th of December.