After a dismal wet start the weather settled and by the time the A Division started at 10.00 am we were drying out. For the first time, we started the C Division on their own at 8.30 am. Well let’s say those who were ready went to the start!
The 9.00 am B and 10.00 am A divisions resulted in 18 teams in total. The lead changed hands among the A and B divisions a few times. Alex Brown from Dunedin for the Composite South Island Team lead from the start in the A division and his 43:08 (6.00/km for 7.195 km) in the rain was not enough to hold off Eric Kemsley of Taranaki on lap two. Rozie Robinson did 50:20 to overtake Peter Fox. She was 2:12 faster than Laura Langley on this lap. Then Graeme Jones of Hawkes Bay/Manawatu/Wanganui did 38:52 (7.5 km) to give them the lead. But then the South Island finished off with Jamie Shaw, now at Otago University, doing the last two 5 km legs as a 10 km in 48:54 completed a big victory in 4:01.06 over Taranaki in 4:18.57 and the fast finishing Racewalking Auckland in 4:23.08. Alana Barber’s 10 km for Auckland was the fastest of the day in 45:15. South Island took the Ekiden Trophy but Taranaki won the RWNZ Championship from Racewalking Auckland and Trentham.
In the B Division Manawatu/Wanganui, all of whom were from the Manawatu Striders won comfortably 4:41.25 from Scottish 4:58.35 and Trentham B in 5:12.16.
The C Division Community walkers had seven teams and their times were a surprise to many of them. The Neva Bean’s team 1 from Wanganui won in 4:58.17. Their team 2 was second in 5:09.59 from Churton Park DARN (from Wellington) in 5:17.13. There were 101 walkers in the senior races. It was a good atmosphere throughout the race with lots of vocal support. The Sin Bin operated and four A and B walkers served their times. Only one C Division walker would have been sin-binned for jogging if the Sin Bin had operated for them.
Shoe Clinic Wellington Scottish Junior relay during the Ekiden
The introduction this year of a four-walker team relay was supported very enthusiastically by the senior walkers and spectators. Each walker did a 1.25 km lap and then after all four had done one they all did a second one for a race total of 10 km. They had to be 14 and under on the day. Seven teams started out of an anticipated 10. Egmont from Taranaki led from the start winning in 1:05.32 with Laura Kehely showing her experience with the fastest junior lap of 6:51. (5:48/km for 1.250 km). Manawatu Hawked Bay was second in 1:09.24 and Mana of Wellington third in 1:12.12
All 24 walkers looked good and only on towards the end of a few second laps did a few styles fade. Bart Jones had coached/demonstrated to all of the Wellington area teams, and this race is hopefully the start of more junior events. The attached photo is the Egmont Junior team and David Lonsdale.