University Relay, Mackay's Crossing, QEII Park Saturday, 11 May 2013
Updated 15 May 2013.
The 2013 University Relays and Chocolate Walk were once again hosted by the Victoria University harriers at Mackays Crossing, QEII Park on Saturday 11th May. The going was firm underfoot and conditions were clear but a cool southerly made it a bit chilly at times.
The Chocolate Walk is won by the walker who records a time closest to their estimated time and this year the event was won by John Leonard of Scottish. Peter Baillie and Terri Grimmett (also of Scottish) recorded the fastest times for the men’s and women’s events respectively.
The running events started with the kids races and once again they were a highlight of the day. Over 140 kids competed in the races held for the younger kids and everyone was rewarded for their efforts with chocolate and a lolly scramble. Winners of the races were Jack Julian (Olympic, B9), Bex Jenkins (Olympic, G9), Toby Jurke (Olympic, B11), Charlotte Floodsmith (Trentham, G11), Patrick White (Olympic, B13) and Tessa Hunt (Wellington, G13).
The main relay saw a record number of teams competing and with all the grades being run together, there were 94 first lap runners on the start line. One of the highlights of the day was provided by the junior women with the Olympic and Wellington teams fighting for the win right to the last few strides. Wellington’s Jean Kozyniack ran the fastest lap (14.24) of the day for the junior women on lap one to give her team a handy lead, but the Olympic team’s depth saw their final lap runner Susannah Lynch set off on the last lap with a 22 second lead over Wellington’s Kelsy Forman. With their team mates waiting nervously at the finish, the last lap runners entered the long finishing straight shoulder to shoulder and matched each other stride for stride to the finish which they crossed almost together. After some deliberation, the officials gave the win to the Olympic team but only by the slimmest of margins. Hutt Valley’s Phoebe Knight ran 2nd fastest lap of the day (15.25) to lead her team into 3rd place with Scottish’s Ariana Harper running the 3rd fastest lap (15.28).
It looked as though the finish in the master women's race might be heading the same way when Olympic’s last lap runner Katie Jenkins set off only a few seconds behind Scottish’s Anne Hare. Katie had to run the fastest time of the grade (16.25) to chase down the 1996 Olympian to give Olympic the win by only 4 seconds. Anne ran 3rd fastest in grade with a 16.33 lap with Kapiti’s Deb Finn running 2nd fastest lap (16.26) to anchor her team to 3rd place.
Wellington’s Elaine Bent ran the fastest lap (15.20) in the open women’s grade to give her team the lead after the first lap. However the Scottish women, lead by Nicole Mitchell (2nd fastest lap of 15.29), had too much depth for the other teams and they steadily extended their lead for a convincing win. The Wellington team took 2nd and Demelza Murrihy-Topp (3rd fastest lap time of 15.51) lead the way for her Scottish team to take 3rd place
In the junior mens race, Jake Tennet’s fastest lap (12.52) got his Wellington team off to the perfect start and they lead from start to finish to record an impressive win, beating all but two of the senior men's teams. Wellington showed their depth in the grade with their teams taking 1st, 2nd and 4th with only the Hutt Valley (3rd) lads preventing a Wellington clean sweep. Wellington runners Oliver Smith (13.02) and Kieron McDonald (13.05) ran the 2nd and 3rd fastest laps of the day. It was good to welcome a new Athletics NZ affiliated club to the event with St Pats Silverstream entering two teams in the junior mens grade.
The open men’s race was not surprisingly dominated by the teams from Scottish whose teams made a clean sweep of the first three places. A little bit of local knowledge, combined with a ton of speed saw Hamish Carson scorch over the sand hills and the paddocks of QEII Park to record the fastest lap of the day – the only athlete to go under 12 minutes with a lap time of 11.58. Next fastest lap times went to his team mates Ben Barry (12.27) and Dougal Thorburn (12.28). The Scottish men will be looking forward to defending their national road relay title in Christchurch in October and competition for a place in their A team will be incredibly high.
The master mens race attracted the largest number of teams with 24 teams starting the race - there may be some interest in having a mens 50 year grade in the event next year. Victory went to the Scottish team which continued their dominance of the grade in recent years. Todd Stevens’ fastest lap of 13.27 was clearly the fastest of the day. The talented Olympic team ran second, lead by Mike Waterman (2nd fastest lap of the day with 13.50) and the Wellington team took 3rd. Scottish’s Vaile Mexted ran the 3rd fastest lap of the day (13.55).
::[Official relay results, PDF format]::
Top three placings and Olympic results below