Hounds hare to a record victory
The Hawera Hounds and the Taranaki Race Walkers both smashed records in the annual Round the Mountain relay event at the weekend.
The Hawera Hounds bounded around the 150km course in a blistering 9h03m33s to clip more than 30 minutes off their old mark of 9h35m19s and bag their sixth straight title.
The Taranaki Race Walkers were equally impressive in the Taranaki Steelformers-sponsored event, finishing in 15h21m56s. Their time was 54 minutes faster than the previous best of 16h16m held by a Manawatu team.
"Everyone was going well and every time someone finished a leg, they were ahead of last year's time," Hawera Hounds spokesman Matt Cleaver said.
"Everything fell into place and about Mangatoki, we started thinking about going sub-nine hours. Dougan [mountain runner Dougan Butler] smashed the last two legs running back-to-back."
Butler flew over the 3.1km from Omata to Spotswood in 9m30s and the final 5km to the finish at New Plymouth's Pukekura Raceway in 17mins.
"That finished it off nicely," Cleaver said. "Having 14 runners this year, up two from last year, also helped."
Cleaver said it was good to finally beat the walkers who started 5 hours ahead of them and the composite teams (runners and walkers) who started three hours earlier.
Cleaver said of the 14 in the team on Saturday, six had been in the lineup for the past six years - himself, Butler, Richard Brewer, Warren Drought, John Nolly and Jason Cressingham.
"Richard and Warren have been going for years. Richard's first one was in 1982 and he's done most of them since."
Other members of the winning team from Saturday were: Matt Rogers, Nathan Foley, Matt Bennett, Karl Dravitzki, Scott van Dyk, Tomas Bridgeman, Joel Stewart and Tom Francis.
"We smashed the record," said Harry Terwiel, club captain for Taranaki Race Walkers. "It was a pretty good effort."
Terwiel said the team of 10 - himself, Jeff Wells, Mike Nield, Eric Kemsley, Peter Fox, Dave Wackrow, Serena Coombes, Vanessa Lowl, Rachael Gilberd and Theresa Large - each did two legs, with Fox from Hawera doing three including the final 5km.
"All bar two of us went right round the mountain. We had a big van. We started at 9pm on Friday and caught the first of the solo runners at Okato and were passed by the first running team at Tataraimaka. They came screaming past us," he said. "There was a bit of an age difference - the average age of our team is around 50. Jeff is 68. They're a bit younger and they were running."
Opunake team Oaonui Flames dominated the composite teams.
Led by Karla Hamilton, Oaonui Flames were first home in 14h23m40s, while second placed Patumahoe Plodders including two from Opunake - Neil Roach and Lynette Hickey - finished second in 14h25m04s. Third went to Family Affair from New Plymouth in 14h42m52.
The second schools' division was won by OMU from Opunake in 12h13m30s.
Race organiser Selwyn Brown (New Plymouth) was rapt with the way things went. "We had 143 teams and 12 solos, people from all over the place. There were lots of visitors . . . it was a sensational weekend," he said.