Around the Island Relay... 2019
The 2019 Around the Island Relay welcomed nearly 70 participants ranging in age from 8 through to 78 and despite the start time adjustments having to be made for the recent impact of daylight saving, everyone made the start line on time and keen to tackle the 25 or so kilometers of one of the worlds most picturesque road relay locations.
Sunday the 3rd of November dawned a little overcast but it also delivered the perfect conditions for the staging of the Relay. A briefing on safety and course layout from the officials was the usual entree to the main event and with the individual walkers and those tasked with the first leg of the team walk event ready and rearing to race the mass start got underway at 6.00am. Very quickly the father and son duo of Ben and Harrison Hayes stamped their dominance on the field , taking a healthy lead in the first 150 meters before the turn into Quality Row. They were clearly out to replicate their performance from 2018 taking first and second places in the individual walk event, but there was a surprise in store and she was tracking the boys progress from close behind.
The field of walkers welcomed back the Martin/Donaldson clan representatives and in particular long time walks participant Jenny Donaldson who in recent years had enjoyed individual success by posting one of the quickest overall times ever, covering the entire route in just on 3 hours. Joined by brothers Brett and Howard Martin , it looked as though she had recruited both as pacers in what some suggested was yet another tilt at setting a record pace and taking another title to add to her trophy cabinet. Tim Thompson returned this year for his latest attempt to gain a podium finish and was joined by our most senior competitor, Paul Crookwell who had missed the 2018 event through injury. Both were well dressed for the cool conditions at the start and by the first water station at the school gates both had begun to strip down and clearly were in racing mode.
Lisa Richards, joining Jenny as the only two ladies to take on the entire course , slipped into her comfort zone early, steady pace but deceptively quick on her feet setting a course for the return to Kingston , a little over 3 hours away. The walks teams farewelled their lead walkers with Ngaire Christian leading out for “The Mootineers” which included brothers John and Glen Christian, Sharon Brown and Greg Magri. Sam Quintal was back this year after her great showing in the individual event in 2018 to lead out the “Care Norfolk” team of Shannara Grambeau, Nicky Gow, Christina Jones, Jayden McCowan and Denise Bell. Colin Johnson, who last year ran the course, changed discipline to take on the first leg for “The Futto Crew” along with teammates Tania Anderson, Kurt Menghetti, Vera Iowans, Nikita La’o and Sue Buffett.
Steady pace and regular hydration from the water stations assisted walkers progress as they moved down Cascade Road, to Prince Philip Drive and the climb up to Red Road and the Park. Signposts through the Park and along the bridle track to Captain Cook Memorial found the
walkers greeted at yet another water stop before pushing on to Puppies Point water station. The Hayes boys had extended their lead over the fields by more than 15 minutes by the time they hit the next water stop at 100 acres Reserve and a little over twenty minutes later they took line honors jointly crossing the finish line in a time of 3 hours and 11 minutes, a minute quicker than their time last year. The nervous wait began for them knowing walkers followed with much bigger handicaps based on age and gender factors that applied.
With steely determination Lisa Richards continued her push for glory and increased her pace on the homeward legs from Captain Cook, eating into the Hayes’ lead , clawing back valuable minutes to flash across the finish line in a time of 3 hours 36 minutes. With the officials scrambling to apply the handicap results it was soon determined that Lisa had triumphed, taking the individual title from Harrison Hayes by just over 4 minutes. Congratulations to Lisa on an outstanding effort and for the promise to drag Wayne along for the running of the 2020 event.
Ben Hayes took out 3rd place for the individual event with Jenny Donaldson taking out 4th, Brett Martin 5th and Howard 6th. Paul Crookwell and Tim Thompson tidied up the rear of the field, clearly having enjoyed their Sunday morning adventure. The teams had battled strongly through the morning, red faces from heat and near exhaustion were in abundance as each team walker completed their respective leg of the race. Jayden McCowan put in a great effort to lift his teams chances after Shannara and Nicky Gow also pulled out all stops to try to catch the fast finishing “Futto Crew” members. Greg Magri took on the last two legs of “ The Mootineers” tilt at the title of top team and scorched along the course from Puppies, past the Chapel and on to 100 acres and still chasing the front walkers as he left the last check point for his walk along New Farm Road and the descent into Kingston down Country Road. The leading teams were in his sights but he was not able to make up enough ground eventually securing fourth spot behind the “Care Norfolk “ team in third place, led in by Christina Jones and our team runners up “ The Futto Crew” ably anchored by Kurt Menghetti in a team time of 3 hours 46 minutes. The team winners for 2019 were the father and son team of Ben and Harrison Hayes who had completed the entire course side by side. A great effort and congratulations to them on a great display of team work.
An hour and a quarter after the walkers had been sent on their way the officials were ready to let loose the individual runners and the running teams. Unlike the walkers, the runners start under a stagger system depending on their age and gender factors and a combined handicap for the teams. The runners were led out this year by NICS headmaster Brett Carr in his maiden appearance and followed out by Chris English and Adam Marshman , the only 3 competitors brave enough to take on the entire course. With regular winner and defending champion, Richard Cribb out with injury, our 3 individual runners were each keenly eyeing Cribbys crown and they all set off at a smart pace in their attempt to become the new champion for 2019.
Over the next 15 minutes or so the first leg runners for each of the teams headed out to the count of the clock as it ran down. Bailey Miller representing team “ Are We There Yet”, starting alongside Brett Carr, led his headmaster out of the blocks and took a commanding lead in the run along Quality Row towards the climb from Bloody Bridge up to Collins Head Road. For team “Wilderpeople”, Tony Martinovich began the chase just over 4 minutes back, followed 3 minutes further back by Lara Bigg for the “3 ladies” team. Shortly after, Patrick O’Hare led out his team “Flower Power” followed by defending team champions “The Boiz” and their lead runner Saxon Snell.
At the first water station near the school gates on Cascade Road the order had changed with some exciting performances from some of our younger runners. Bailey ran an amazing first leg to be well ahead of the chasers at the change and Chris English had already started to dominate the individual race by taking a clear lead over both Brett Carr and Adam Marshman. Lara Bigg had pushed hard through to the school and set about tackling the second leg up to Red Road to complete her contribution to the “3 Ladies” team. Patrick O’Hare from “Flower Power” had also shown he was an emerging force in this event by almost catching at the change teams that had started in front of him. Tanya Delaney ran the leg of her life to give her team “ The Quick and the Dead” a shot at glory with the “wilderpeoples” Tony Martinovich just leading her into the change zone. “The Boiz” Saxon had started his assault on the leaders and picked up almost two minutes on his competitors in the race up from Kingston and handed over to an in-form TK Morgan for his charge down Cascade and up to Red Road.
As runners emerged from the National Park out near Captain Cook the order had again changed as the halfway point was passed and teams could sense a podium finish. With strong runs from Will Buffett and Jonny Sheridan , the “Boiz” team were well positioned at the last change at 100 acres, some 5 minutes clear of their nearest rivals “Flower Power” but two powerful back to back legs from Candice Snell threatened their shot at second place with “Flower Power” edging Candice out by less than one minute at the finish line to take out second place overall behind 2019 Champions the “Boiz” in a time of 2 hours 21 minutes. With an average age of just 10 years old, the “Are we there yet “ team took out 4th spot in 2 hours 28 minutes, which was an amazing effort from these young boys and girls, and congratulations are due to Bailey and his team mates Zya Quintal, Charlie Umlauft, Nate Christian-Bailey, Mitchell Randall and Toby Christian. The teacher packed “Quick and the Dead” team followed in almost 20 minutes later and the “Wilderpeople” finishing in 6th place.
As the teams had battled out their order, the individual runners had their sights set on breaking the 3 hour barrier for the course. Adam Marshman had picked up pace after a struggle on some hill sections in his attempt to track down a consistent Brett Carr. At each corner they were searching ahead for a sign of the leader Chris English, only to be disappointed as Chris continued to extend his sizable lead out to almost 20 minutes at the last water station checkpoint. With a strong finish and downhill descent into Kingston, Chris took out line honors and the individual title in a very respectable time of 2 hours and 27 minutes. Brett Carr, looking very relieved to have made the entire distance, settled for a well deserved 2nd place in under 3 hours as well, with Adam crossing the line in a little over 3 hours to complete the longest run he had ever attempted. Congratulations to all 3 individual runners for their efforts and achievement.
With nearly all competitors back in Kingston by 10 am they were treated to a sausage sizzle and refreshments, ably catered for by Tim Rogers, before the presentation of prizes. Brentt Jones, President of Athletics Norfolk Island, presented a range of generous prizes to the place getters in each event category. Thanks to our generous suppliers and supporters that enable this event to be conducted without any entry fees and in particular Athletics Norfolk Island for their support in purchasing prizes from their sponsors that support them in other events through the year. Almost two thousand dollars in prizes sourced from the business community add to the Around Island Rely experience and we are grateful to the following businesses for their continuing support of our annual events: World Traders, Gas Centre, Pete’s Place, Foodland, The Olive Cafe, TravelWorld, Maxs Department Store, Cascade Motors, Paw Paws Pumpshed, and P&R Groceries.
Thanks also to Richard Cribb and Alice Rogers for volunteering to man water stations and to all the friends, family and supporters for sharing a fun Sunday’s morning outing with us.
The 2020 Around the Island Relay will be conducted on the first Sunday in November next year, so start to think about your team and enjoying the scenic wonders of our wonderful island on a pleasant Sunday morning outing.