Around the Island Relay and Race 2015

The sight of rain clouds over Philip Island did not deter this years entrants in the Around the Island Relay and the Walkers were set and ready to go by the official start time of 5.15am.

Eleven individuals chose to walk the entire course with an additional 6 Walks teams making up the field. Joining the Walkers this year, by request, was Angela Pinson (better known as a champion power lifter and very new Mum) who was the only female entrant in the individual run.

As occurred last year the entire Walks field started “en masse” at 5.15 am, to ensure all walkers were back at Kingston in time for the sausage sizzle and prize giving. The final positions therefore were not to be known until the handicaps had been applied after the completion of the race.

Team “Smellems”, a mother and daughter team of Mandy and Sophie Ellem, powered off the line and took an early lead that was only challenged in the early part of the race by Karen Buffett and Tina Nisbet. As the race entered its second leg from the school the Ellem’s had begun to extend their lead over the field and the trailing athletes were not to sight them again until the finish line.

Past individual Walks champion, Jenny Donaldson, took a more relaxed approach to this years event choosing to spend some social time with the “elders” of the race, Paul Crookwell, Phil McDowell, Brett Martin and Wayne Richards for most of the first half of the race. Lisa Richards had joined husband, Wayne, but her competitive streak saw her take her pace up a few notches during the latter legs of the course to match it with Karen and Tina until the end.

Tania Anderson backed up from last years race, with a “steady as she goes” approach, in a determined effort to improve her time for the 25km course eventually shaving just on 4 minutes off her time for 2014. Well-done Tania. Surely a certain starter for the 2016 event!

The team walkers impressed with some great performances from “Shanks Pony”, made up of our Hospital staff, led out by Corrine Parsons. The “Xtian Brothers Cheese” team, outfitted in their smart sponsored shirts, looked like the team to beat and provided endless entertainment during the morning, however, despite an early promising start, the overindulgence in all things cheesy took its toll, which saw them cross the line as the 5th placed team.

“E.T & Thunder”, an all female team of Teresa Langusch, Emma Wright and Sarah Randall worked hard through the morning and achieved the second fastest time for the course of 3 hours 36 minutes, before handicaps were applied, which placed them 4th overall. A great effort ladies.

Team “ Free Spirits” made a strong start with Nicola Kennedy putting her team solidly in contention for the title and ably supported by team mates Toppy Wilkinson, Michelle Hayes, Kerry Robertson, Heather Munro and Mike Collings, they unfortunately could not make up the time needed and had to settle for 3rd placed team behind the “Smellems” (with the fastest team time of 3 hours 32 minutes), who, after handicaps were applied fell just 5 minutes short of taking the team winners title from the team “ 3 UKLAN” of Celia Bigg, Olivia Cooper and birthday girl, Karenne Gatehouse.

The Individual walks title for 2015 went to 13 year old Sophie Ellem, having walked the entire course with her mother, Mandy. Handicaps applied saw defending champion, Jenny Donaldson, take second place ahead of Paul Crookwell, Lisa Richards in fourth place and Mandy Ellem relegated to 5th spot.

The walks were very competitive this year with only 30 minutes separating the first place finisher with last across the line. What better way to spend a Sunday morning than enjoying a leisurely stroll around some of Norfolk’s roads and through the National Park, past some of our greatest scenic vistas? It only takes 31/2 to 4 hours and is a lot of fun. Start planning your team for 2016.

 

With just 2 individual entrants in the run this year, and with Angela Pinson starting early with the walkers, it was Richard Cribb who led out the competitors at 6.30 am in the running relay on his lonely campaign to post an individual time of 2 hours and 18 minutes, to take out this years title with another strong display of distance running. This was an 8-minute improvement over his winning time last year. Angela secured second spot on the dais with a very gutsy performance for a very new Mum…well done to both runners for a great effort.

The team title was again going to be an exciting competition with 7 teams entered this year, including 4 teams of school students, “Riley’s”, “Cool Running”, “Student All Stars” and “The Runners”.

Early favourites and last years champions, the school teachers team “Teachers” featuring Deb Johnston, Michael Vaughan, Felix Bachmann, Ben Hayes, Mark Millett and Carl Pinson looked strong from the start despite starting last in the pack due to handicap. It was a straight race to the finish for the teams to determine eventual places and no team knew this better than “Candice’s Team”, past champions and always very competitive. A new face in this team, Meri Sadrata, had a great race leg and her supporting teammates of Glenn Robinson, Jamie Donaldson, Aaron Graham, Candice Nobbs and James Walden pushed hard through the morning and reeled in most of the teams that started in front of them. The “Teachers’ sneaked past them and opened a big lead, but a very strong final leg run by Jamie Donaldson saw the two teams cross the finish line with the “Teachers “ winning that duel by just a nose, and taking second spot, after 25kms.

The dark horse in this year’s event was the team “Marshmahonys”, of Sue Mahony, Tracy Marsh and Paul Marsh. Made up of the oldest competitors in the race they enjoyed a healthy handicap advantage at the start and quickly secured the race lead before the second leg changeover at the school. It was “clear air” for the remainder of the race and a great display of seasoned running from this new team to the Around Island Relay. First across the line gave them the title on handicap, and an actual time of 2 hours and 8 minutes. Second placed team on handicap was the “Teachers”, with the fastest time of the day of 2 hours and 2 minutes with third place on handicap going to “Candice’s” team, who had an actual time of 2 hours and 5 minutes.

The best of the school students’ teams was the “Student All Stars” of Kai McKenzie, BB Morgan, Kyran Randall, Mason Wilkinson, Jacob Millett and TK Morgan. Finishing in 4th place overall, with an average age of 13, their actual time to run the 25 km course was 2 hours and 16 minutes.

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 Rose Evans for managing entries and catering, Pauline Gardner, Jason Ellem, Rose and Brentt Jones on the water stations and of course the competitors, friends and families for their support. A special thanks to “Teddy” Evans for his outstanding culinary skills in preparing and delivering a champions sausage sizzle and refreshments.

Future dates for the Around Island Relay and Race have been confirmed and will be the first Sunday in November each year. So for 2016 please make a note in your diaries for Sunday 6 November 2016.

A note for athletes and supporters, the Norfolk Island “Gift” will be conducted on Saturday the 5th 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. With almost $3000 in prizes this is an event not to be missed. 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 Rose Evans (51151), Geoff Gardner (23050) or Brentt Jones (22355). Entries will need to be received by Rose Evans no later than Friday the 3rd of December.

As occurred last year the entire Walks field started “en masse” at 5.15 am, to ensure all walkers were back at Kingston in time for the sausage sizzle and prize giving. The final positions therefore were not to be known until the handicaps had been applied after the completion of the race.