Around the Island Relay and Race 2016

5.00 a.m. Sunday the 13th November and the scene was again set for the start of the 2016 Around the Island Relay and Race. Despite less than the usual number of entries in the walks section, the family team of Ben and Harry Hayes joined Sandra Anderberg and Maree Reynolds at the start line in front of the Kingston Compound. Ben and Harry got off to a solid start and made the climb up Driver Christian Road look effortless and leading the walkers through the school checkpoint by 5.30 a.m. Maree Reynolds (Christian Brothers Cheese team) pushed hard to stay in contact with the Hayes team and followed them through to the school a matter of only 30 metres or so behind, before handing over the next relay leg to Glen Christian. Sandra Anderberg was through the check point soon after to send husband, George, on his leg up to the top of Red Road.

 

While the walkers were charging up towards the Mountain and through the National Park attention then turned to the start line as the runners prepared to take on the Relay Course with a start scheduled for 6.15 am. Athletics Norfolk Island allowed a very late guest entry, James Tobin from the Channel 7 Sunrise weather team, to run the first leg from Kingston through to the school. James started with our only individual runner to tackle the 25 kms, Richard Cribb. Within 20 minutes they both made it to the checkpoint at the school…. James having to withdraw at that point to enable him to prepare for a live cross back to the studios in Sydney. Richard, although carrying some niggling injuries, pressed on to lead the running teams towards the Park.

 

Tina Millett, who had led off as the front runner for her team , joining Richard and James from the start, was followed out soon after by Trish Smith and a very determined Jesse Schmitz, who led out the first of the school teams. Jordan Bigg took the lead for his team with Jonny Sheridan and then Cameron Rogers leaving within a few minutes to get their teams off to a flying start.

 

2014 Champions and runners up in 2015, “The Teachers” (Mark Millett, Debbie Johnston, Michael Vaughan, Carl Pinson, Tony Wilkinson and Felix Bachman) were next off the start line and the lead run fell to Debbie Johnston who relished the task of trying to rein in the runners who had already departed with their more favourable time handicaps. Last team out of the blocks was the team headed by TK Morgan, starting just over 9 minutes behind Tina Millett. The challenge of the first major hill from Music Valley up to the top of Driver Christian Road, quickly sorted out the field with a number of changes in placings. By the time the teams had reached the school for the first Relay change it became clear that there were a number of serious challenges to the “Teachers” team, with plenty of interest in taking them down.

 

The running conditions were perfect, a little overcast and cool, which provided a great environment to assist in quick times. The walkers were out of the Park at Captain Cook and well on the way through to the Puppies Point change before the Runners and teams had checked through at the top of Red Road. Heading out of the Park the first five teams were only a matter of 10 to 15 minutes apart and it was still anybody’s race.

 

A quick check of positions with both the walkers and runners as they made their way along Anson Bay Road and past the Chapel, heading towards Headstone still showed the Hayes walking team holding firmly in first place but being chased down by the Christian Brothers Cheese team in second. Sandra Anderberg had slipped back as the distance started to take its toll but she never gave up.

 

Ben and Harry Hayes cruised to the team walks title in a little over 3 1/2 hours and crossed the line (almost together)  to be separated by only 2 ½ minutes on handicap which eventually gave the individual walks title to Harry in a personal time of 3 hours 32 minutes and 53 seconds. The “Christian Brothers Cheese” team (including Maree Reynolds, Steve Nobbs, John and Glenn Christian) was led to the finish and into second place by Becky Nobbs in a time of 3 hours 45 minutes and 49 seconds and ,third in 2016, was the team of Sandra and George Anderberg in a little over 4 hours.

 

The walks were very competitive again this year but there is no need to be an Olympian to compete…. its all about the fun and participation…. and its free to enter! 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 3 1/2 to 4 hours and is a lot of fun. It’s well worth the effort so why not have a look at putting together a team for 2017 or tackle the full 25 km on your own.

 

 The “Teachers” running team had steadily passed the teams that had started ahead of them and found themselves in familiar territory early after leaving the Park, taking the overall lead from Cameron Rogers’s team. However, another youthful team led by TK Morgan were making up serious ground on the “Teachers” and at the check point at Hundred Acres, they had taken the lead from the “Teachers” with Will Elliott anchoring the team for the final run home to Kingston. Mark Millett, from the “Teachers” took over the final leg and was within 30 metres of Will with just over 4 kms to run. Mark chased hard and looked set to upset his more youthful competitor on more than one occasion but Will held off to cross the finish line and to lead his team to victory by less than 1 second over the 25km course. The winning time (actual) was 2 hours 3 minutes and 45 seconds. This had to have been the closest finish in the more than 25-year history of the event and was exciting for all who witnessed this closely fought contest.

 

Congratulations to the winning team of TK Morgan, Jared Magri, BB Morgan, Ashton Kolinisau, Will Elliott and Mason Wilkinson. Cameron Rogers’s team (which also included Croyden Snell, Sam Cribb, Kyran Randall and Hannah Wright) finished a little over 8 minutes later when Arki Nobbs crossed the line after making up a lot of ground after the change at Hundred Acres.

Branker South ran a strong last leg for his team to place them in 4th spot with Jed Gardner’s team taking 5th position.

 

With no one to really push Richard Cribb this year and with a few battle scars from other activities, he was still able to post a great individual time for the 25kms at 2 hours 21 minutes and 58 seconds…. just 3 minutes slower than his winning time last year. Richard takes out the 2016 Individual title to add to his impressive array of titles and placings in this event over many years.

 

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 free sausage sizzle and refreshments in the Compound for all competitors, family and friends before the prize giving.

With Athletics Norfolk Island President, Brentt Jones , having to depart to catch a flight the task of presenting the prizes fell to former President, Peter Arthur, who made 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, Tim Rogers, Peter Arthur, Geoff Gardner, Rose Evans and Brentt Jones on the water stations and of course the competitors, friends and families for their support. Grateful thanks again to “Teddy” Evans, for his outstanding culinary skills in preparing and delivering a champions sausage sizzle and refreshments.

 

Thanks again to all participants and supporters. We hope to see you all again in 2017 for the Around the Island Relay and Race, so fix the date in your diary for Sunday the 5th November 2017.

 

A note for athletes, the Norfolk Island “Gift” will be conducted on Saturday the 7th of January 2017, 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 around $2000 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. Further information will be provided through the “Norfolk Islander” in coming weeks.