Around the Island Relay... 2023
The annual Around Island Relay was run Sunday 5th November 2023 with an enthusiastic group of runners and walkers.
The Individual Runner category hosted a large field of seven runners this year. It’s a difficult course and these courageous athletes opted to run the entire 25K course alone; and all came home with outstanding results.
Aiden Carlton ran a very impressive 1:53:32 to win the event, smashing the 2hour mark with his blisteringly quick performance. In second place was 18yr old Koszta Deszecsar who’s outstanding run also broke the 2hour mark with a time of 1:59:39. Third place was taken out by Matthew Sommerville with another quality time of 2:04:39. Jill King was next across the finish with an outstanding individual performance that in past years, would easily have her positioned on the podium. Melissa Ward’s base fitness from consistent training was clearly evident with a solid performance that saw her finish the 25K run with the appearance of an experienced athlete. Pauly Browne again tackled the difficult course with inspiring determination, as did Shane Grace who unfortunately took a wrong turn early in the event to lose momentum, however he finished the run with gritted determination.
The Individual Walk category is calculated by age and gender handicaps applied to each walkers finish time at the completion of their race. Jenny Donaldsons relentless training has again proven to be effective with another win as reigning Champion from 2022. Second place was awarded to Gai Disley whose strong performance also showed a high level of fitness. In third place was Allie Nance who was actually first over the finish line from the 6am group start. Allie walked a very quick 3:36:25 to come home first, however her youthful age put her in third place against the rest of the varied field of athletes when the handicap was applied. Nigel Greenup also walked an impressively quick 3:44:24, shaving 3 minutes of his previous time to be second home and narrowly missed a podium position when the handicaps were applied. Sarah Freeland walked a strong 25K also breaking the 4hour mark. Ailsa Bernard, Samantha Powell and Kirstie Ireland showed great commitment in completing the tough 25k, hilly course.
The Running Teams was an interesting event this year with some quality athletes who are capable of running individually, pairing up to run as 2-person teams due to injury and training program commitments. First place was awarded to Jamie Donaldson and Trevor Fulton who ran three legs of the relay each to finish with an impressive time of 2:04:11. Second place went to Blake Little and Douglas Donaldson who also competed as a 2-person team, finishing with a slightly faster time than Jamie and Trev, but not quick enough to win, starting 6:04:00 behind Jamie and Trev. Running Wild was the third team over the line with the young athletes of Zeta Menzies, Matilda Smith, Bailey Millar Koby Little and Brycen Menzies (Nate Xtian-Bailey unfortunately withdrew through injury before the event). This team of future stars were only 44 seconds behind second place with a truly exciting performance, well beyond their maturity.
The Walking Teams event is always popular and again was well fielded with five teams. First place was awarded to the best dressed team of Norfolk Island Yoga (Julie Bell, Anna McVey, Heather Bruce, Sharyn Menzies, Kathryn Heard and Candida Langman). Norfolk Island Yoga’s fast finishing time of 3:41:48 saw them first past the post, and well in front of the competition when the age handicap was applied to the team. Second place was closely contested by Em-Wah (Sarah Randell, Emma Wright) and Walkie Talkie (Mel Yeo, Steve Yeo) with only 7seconds separating the two teams. The Old Timers (Paul Crookwell, Tim Thompson and Trent Xtian) and Team Futoo (Aileen Bratton, Kirrily Ford, Brett Martin, Alistair Innes Walker, Sandra Hudson and Damon Ford) completed the finishing teams on another edition of the Around Island Relay.
A huge thankyou to the volunteers who kept the athletes watered, safe and ultimately fed throughout the 25k course – Jenny Gow, Taleyah Jones and Peter Arthur - Athletics Norfolk Island is truly indebted to these volunteers.