Nikau Peipi soars into the long jump pit at the recent New Zealand Track and Field champs. Photo: Alisha Lovrich Photography.

Nikau on a winning roll

It has been a huge few weeks for Marlborough athlete and touch player Nikau Peipi.

Following his efforts at the junior nationals, the 15-year-old Marlborough Boys’ College student was named in the New Zealand under-16 mixed touch team which will travel to Australia’s Gold Coast in September.

He has also been making startling headway on the athletics front.

After travelling to Brisbane in early March he proved his prowess with some strong offshore performances, earning a much-coveted international classification, allowing him to compete at the top level in para track and field events.

Across the ditch he finished 11th in the senior para men’s 100m, and made the top eight in the senior para men’s shot put.

He then returned home for the New Zealand Track and Field champs in Christchurch where he upped the ante.

Nikau claimed gold in the under-17 para 100m, setting a new national under-17, under-20 and men’s record with a time of 12.29, his personal best.

He also claimed gold and a PB in the under-17 para shot put, breaking the NZ U-17 record with a put of 10.43m.

Next came a third gold in the under-17 para high jump, his leap of 1.68m creating another national record and PB.

Nikau added a silver medal in the under-17 200m, recording a PB of 24.39. He also claimed silver in the under-17 long jump, leaping 5.10m.

 

Under-16 champion Mya Wiapo shows her prowess at the long jump. Photo: Supplied.

Records set at MGC athletics sports

Three new records were set at the Marlborough Girls’ College athletics championships, staged at Athletic Park last week.

In the under-16 high jump Paige Arbuckle cleared 1.55m, beating the previous record of 1.50.5 set by M Clayton in 1991. Lucy Harman created a new mark in the under-19 800m, her time of 2 minutes 21.86 seconds well inside the old record of 2.27.1 set by K Warmouth in 1979. The final record also fell to Harman, whose time of 5.02.80 in the under-19 1500m easily eclipsed the previous best effort of K Parsons (5.17.6) set in 2005.

Four age group champions were also decided. In the under-14 bracket the title was shared by Shani Tilbury (Wairau) and Sophie Bryant (Wairau), Jorja Bacchus (Awatere) won the under-15 title, Mya Wiapo (Wairau) took out the under-16 crown and Eleri James-Sitters (Kaituna) was crowned under-19 champ.

 

Results:

Event winners

Under 14

Shani Tilbury (Wairau) 400m, Long Jump; Sophie Bryant (Wairau) 200m; Bella Tupoutoa (Awatere) Shot Put; Jelaina Roubos (Awatere) 100m; Ella Barnes (Wairau) Discus; Ella Sowman (Kaituna) 1500m; Grace Straker (Awatere) Javelin; Lexi-lou Crighton (Awatere) High Jump; May Smith (Wairau) 800m.

Under 15

Jorja Bacchus (Awatere) 200m, 400m, Long Jump, High Jump, Shot Put; Lexi Timpson (Ōpaoa) 800m, 1500m; Amelia Jones (Wairau) 100m; Taylor Wareham (Ōpaoa) Javelin; Miela Paul (Wairau) Discus.

Under 16

Mya Wiapo (Wairau) 100m, 200m, Long Jump, Shot Put, Discus; Kaitlin Taylor (Wairau) 400m, 800; Maani Gasson (Opaoa) 1500m; Paige Arbuckle (Kaituna) High Jump (RECORD); Jenny Tobwara (Wairau) Javelin.

Under 19

Eleri James-Sitters (Kaituna) 100m, 200, 400m, Long Jump, Shot Put, Javelin; Lucy Harman (Awatere) 800m RECORD, 1500m RECORD; Holly Blake (Kaituna) Open 3000m; Sophia Wills (Opaoa) Discus; Meg Flanagan (Awatere) High Jump.

House relays/events

Flying Squadron relay:  Kaituna; 3 legged race: Awatere; tyre roll relay: Ōpaoa; 4x100m relay: Kaituna; ball throw – U14 Awatere, U15 Kaituna, U16 Wairau, U19 Ōpaoa; tug of war – U14 Opaoa, U15 Wairau, U16 Wairau, U19 Awatere.

House Points

1 Wairau 1281 pts; 2 Kaituna 1266; 3 Awatere 1217; 4 Ōpaoa 914.

Gus Marfell competes in Wanaka. Photo: Mark Grammer Photography.

Podiums aplenty for tri team

A 12-strong Marlborough multisport contingent picked up six podium finishes at Challenge Wanaka and the New Zealand Secondary School Triathlon Championships staged last weekend in Central Otago.

Saturday’s events were the Half (swim of 1.9km, bike 90km, run 21km) and the Aquabike (3km swim, 120km bike).

In the Half, local multisport coach Mark Grammer made an impressive return to longer distance triathlon, winning the M55-59 category, while Jeremy McKenzie – fresh off a win in the Coast to Coast teams event the previous weekend – finished second in the M40-44 grade and 13th overall.

Paul Sell placed second in the M50-54 division, and fourth overall in the Aquabike, sandwiched between a former Aquabike world champion and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympic cyclist.  Other Marlburians who competed in the Half were Sandy O’Connell, 11th M55-59, Andrew Hill, 17th M35-39 and Paul Beckett,  29th M30-34.

On Sunday, it was the kids’ turn, cheered on by some of their parents and their coach, the aforementioned Grammer.

Following their father’s lead, two of McKenzie’s kids were on the podium, Neve winning the U12G and Finn coming third in the U14B.

In the U19B, Gus Marfell and Fergus Greer were 10th and 16threspectively in a very strong field while, in the equally competitive U16B section, Ryan Marfell and Joe Coldwell were sixth and 25th respectively.

The final podium of the weekend came when Greer, both Marfells and Coldwell combining to take second place for Marlborough Boys’ College in the Tag Team Relay, where all the athletes had to complete a triathlon of their own before handing on to the next competitor.

Next on the competition calendar is qualification for the World Championships Sprint Triathlon in New Plymouth at the end of March.

The Marlborough men’s relay team with the McConochie Memorial Baton. From left: Joseph Brooks, James Hansen, DJ Arbuckle and Dave Hansen. Photo: Kim Bacchus.

Athletes compete strongly at Mahar Cup meet

Marlborough’s senior athletes performed with distinction in the 83rd Mahar Cup inter-provincial contest at Nelson’s Saxton Field on Saturday.

Competing against Nelson and West Coast, every member of the Marlborough team contributed points to their tally of 126, good enough for second place overall.

Nelson won the Mahar Cup with a total of 227 points while West Coast finished third with 89.

A highlight for Marlborough was provided by the senior men’s relay team of Dave Hansen, Joseph Brooks, James Hansen and DJ Arbuckle who combined superbly to win the prestigious McConochie Memorial Baton. The last time Marlborough won this event was in 2013 when the meet was last staged in Greymouth.

No Mahar Cup records were broken by either of the three teams.

The Marlborough Mahar Cup team was: Dave Hansen, John Rawcliffe, Seb Bacchus, Dale Smit, Joseph Brooks, James Hansen, Dale (DJ) Arbuckle, Tracey Sims, Laura Smidt, Lucy Harman, Mia Wiapo and Jorja Bacchus.

Individual event winners: Lucy Harman (senior women’s 3000m); Dave Hansen (senior men’s 200m, 400m, discus, shot put); Joseph Brooks (junior men’s 200m, 100m, long jump); Laura Smidt (senior women’s 1500m); James Hansen (under-17 boys 400m); Jorja Bacchus (under-17 girls high jump); Dale Arbuckle (under-17 boys high jump); Seb Bacchus (senior men’s javelin, high jump); Mya Wiapo (under-17 girls shot put, long jump)

Final points: Nelson 220, Marlborough 129, West Coast 90.

Final U17 grades scores: Male – Marlborough 23, Nelson 22, West Coast 8. Female – Nelson 59, Marlborough 15, West Coast 12.

Nikau Peipi stretches out during the 100m at the national schools champs. Photo: Supplied.

Halberg Trust offer support for talented teen

Marlborough athlete Nikau Peipi’s burgeoning sporting ambitions have received a welcome and timely boost.

The 15-year-old Marlborough Boys’ College student was informed late last year that he had been granted a 2020 Halberg Foundation scholarship to help him achieve his sporting goals as a Para athlete.

The Halberg Foundation is a charity, founded by former Olympic gold medallist Sir Murray Halberg in 1963, which aims to “enhance the lives of physically-disabled New Zealanders by removing or diminishing the barriers that prevent them from participation in sport and recreation”.

Nikau was born with Poland Syndrome which means his left arm and hand is under-developed and he has an under-developed chest muscle. Despite this, he has competed with outstanding success in a variety of sports, taking on able-bodied rivals on the softball diamond, plus the rugby and touch field. His ability to adapt and succeed at such high levels have earned the admiration and respect of team mates and rivals alike.

In his sporting life thus far he has relished meeting able-bodied competition, and had only a fleeting attachment to Para sport, travelling to Timaru for a swimming classification many years ago. However a trip to the 2019 Halberg Games has seen the teen realign his goals.

The Peipi family were contacted last year by Justin Muschamp from the Halberg Foundation asking if Nikau was interested in attending the Halberg Games as part of a Tasman team.

The Halberg Games are an annual three-day competition across a variety of sports, open to 8-21 year olds with a physical or visual impairment. Last October they were held at Kings College Auckland.

Although reluctant at first, Nikau, with the family’s encouragement, decided to go and came away with some startling results.

In his first time proper shot at track and field (apart from compulsory school events) he won the 200 metres (26.42), long jump (5.16m) and shot put (12.39) and placed second in the 100m (12.97).

His efforts saw him named best male athlete in the athletics field and the most promising athlete of the Games.

After that, local coach Ian Carter was recruited to help hone his skills. Following a few weeks training, Nikau attended the NZ secondary school track and field champs in Wellington, tackling the same events as the Halberg Games, plus high jump. Again his results were superb, winning the shot put (10.19, with a heavier shot) and the high jump (1.58m), and placing second in the 100 (12.81) and 200m (26.21) races plus the long jump (5.01).

Motivated by some inspiring feedback from those performances, Nikau plans to attend any track and field competitions that arise from his performances, whether they are New Zealand or Australian events, setting his goals on becoming a future Para Olympian.

All this costs money, so the extra funds from the scholarship are particularly timely. He has been given a purpose two scholarship, valued at up to $5000. To qualify athletes must be aged between 14 and 21, have a physical or vision impairment and be a New Zealand citizen. They must also have competed at the 2019 Halberg Games, be eligible as a Para athlete and hold a national classification. Local businesses Roofline Marlborough and Wadsco Mototworld have also pitched in to help Nikau on his pathway.

Nikau said he was fully-motivated to give Para sport his best shot after enjoying his time at the Halberg Games.

“After [Justin] got hold of me I thought I’d give [the Games] a go … and when I was there they were really cool so I just thought I’d start that now. I really enjoyed the environment.”

He has also relished working with coach Carter. “We are basically just working on technique at the moment. We are going to start doing some strength work later this year though.”

His other sporting pursuits are not completely off the radar, with the youngster trying out for the MBC First XV this season and still playing touch.

Nikau’s mother, Rebecca Grant, says, “[Para sport] has never been on Nikau’s radar in the past as he performs to a very high level with his rugby, touch, softball etc. But since attending the Halberg Games he has become very interested to see where this can take him.

“He came home talking about the Para Olympics in Paris in 2024 and would very much like to work as hard as he can to get there.

“The next 12 months is going to be a very exciting time for our family to see how well he can do with Para sports.”

Next up for Nikau is a trip in March to a track and field meet in Brisbane, where he hopes to earn a Para classification, which must be achieved offshore to allow him to compete internationally.

The scholarship recipients will be named at the 2020 ISPS Handa Halberg Awards in February.

Jorja Bacchus claimed medals at both the North Island and South Island Colgate Games. Photo: Supplied.

Bacchus bags medals in both islands

Marlborough athlete Jorja Bacchus bagged high jump medals at both the North and South Island Colgate Games.

At the North Island event, staged at TET Stadium in Inglewood, Taranaki, she picked up silver, leaping 1.58m, a new Marlborough age group record. Last weekend she went one better, clinching gold at the South Island Games, staged in Christchurch. She again cleared 1.58m.

Jorja was among four young Marlborough athletes who represented their province with distinction at the North Island Colgate Games.

The province was represented by Bacchus, James Hansen and Dale (DJ) Arbuckle, who competed in Grade 14, plus Alex Hansen, who competed in Grade 11.

All four came away with some promising results which they took into the South Island competition last weekend, where 38 Marlborough athletes competed.

Results from the North Island Colgate Games:

Jorja Bacchus (girls grade 14) – 400 metres heat 1 preliminaries (4th – 66.37 seconds – a new PB reserve for the final); Shot Put (6th – 9.40 metres); High Jump (2nd – 1.58 metres – a new PB and a new Marlborough age grade record).

James Hansen (boys grade 14) – 100 metres hurdles final (7th – 15.95 seconds); 200 metres Heat 4 preliminaries (4th – 25.63 seconds – a new PB); long Jump (6th – 5.40 metres).

Dale (DJ) Arbuckle (boys grade 14) – 100 metres Heat 3 preliminaries (6th – 13.85 seconds); 400 metres Heat 1 preliminaries (6th – 59.62 seconds – a new PB and his first sub 60 seconds race); 800 metres (14th – 2 minutes 24.03 seconds); High Jump (7th – 1.60 metres); long jump (13th – 4.74 metres).

Alex Hansen (boys grade 11) – 800 metres (4th – 2 minutes 31.03 seconds – a new PB by 6 seconds); 1500 metres (11th – 5 minutes 43.55 seconds); High Jump (6th equal – 1.30 metres – 39 boys competed).

Senior athletics

Meanwhile the Senior Club held their first club night for 2020 on Tuesday, an evening which included the 10,000 metres club championship (men) and the 3000 metres club championship (women).

Dale Smit took out the 10,000 metres in 42:31.49 and Lucy Harman won the 3000 metres in 11:04.25 in tough, unseasonal conditions.

Megan Graham and George Varney, Marlborough’s running royalty. Photo: Peter Jones.

Withers run tests new year fitness

The 2020 King and Queen of the Withers were crowned in blazing sunshine at the foot of the Wither Hills on Saturday morning.

The popular post-festive season event, raced over 10km in the iconic hills to the south of Blenheim, saw a first-time King crowned and a familiar figure returned as Queen.

George Varney took out the King of the Withers in a very smart time of 41 minutes 37 seconds, breaking the junior men’s record of 44:20 set by Varney in 2018. It was the first overall title for the 18-year-old. Julius Stromberg came in second overall, nine seconds back, with Fergus Greer third.

Meanwhile, Megan Graham claimed her eighth Queen of the Withers crown, plus the open women’s grade, in 45:35, just over two minutes outside Nikita Watkins’ course record time of 43.11 set in 2018. Caitlin Fielder was second in 47.06. Julia Anderson was third in 49.29.

The field set off under slightly overcast skies but, to the runners’ dismay, the clouds cleared away soon after the starting gun and the temperature rose rapidly as they pounded around the demanding circuit.

Waihopai Valley farmer Richard Dawkins leads the field soon after the starting gun. Photo: Peter Jones.
Waihopai Valley farmer Richard Dawkins leads the field soon after the starting gun. Photo: Peter Jones.

Varney said “it got quite warm, quite quickly, which I didn’t expect”.

“It was a good challenge … Julius [Stromberg], who got second, gave me a really good push up the top and I managed to get away from him on the downhill, but it’s quite a tough race isn’t it?”

Varney hit the lead around the twin water tanks on the descent and was never headed, despite having to stop and throw up in the last kilometre.

Happily, he had forged a 200m lead and managed to maintain his momentum and claim the victory.

“I was a bit worried,” he explained, “because I could see him coming, so I managed to throw up on the run. I felt much better afterwards.”

The former Marlborough Boys’ College standout is on his way to Massey University in 2020, studying veterinary science, but has promised to come back and try to defend his title. He will continue to focus on track events after having plenty of success over middle distance locally and nationally.

Graham also had some time to spare at the finish line as she cruised to the women’s title, but said the race was as tough as usual.

“I was a bit worried today, [second-placed] Caitlin Fielder was out in front at the start, until the hills came. She was smoking it and I thought ‘Oh, no, competition’ … it was good though, made me run harder.

“I was running with Nick Rayner at that stage and he said, ‘what are you doing back here’ and I told him I was just pacing myself, I’ll be right.”

And she was, passing Fielder, an ultra-distance runner based in Spain, on the first hill and staying in front from then on.

“I didn’t have to stop as much this year,” she added, “a bit more recovery after having [baby] Ameika I think, I’ve been doing some training when I can, a bit of buggy-running, resistance training really.

“It’s hard work pushing Ameika so when I’m running by myself I feel pretty free.”

Although numbers were slightly down across the three grades [run, hybrid, walk] this year the quality of participants was high.

MGC middle distance athlete Lucy Harman won the junior women’s title in 54:59, which was outside the record time of 50:21 set by Graham in 2010.

The open men’s title was claimed by Stromberg, who came home in 41:46, not far off the record of 40:33 set by Daniel Hopata in 2007.

Ian Anderson won the veteran men’s title, finishing in 44:27, well outside the mark of 38:55 set by former Olympian Phil Costley in 2012, which stands as a record for all grades.

The veteran women’s grade was taken out by Julia Anderson in 49:29, outside the record of 47:41 set by Suzie Aviss in 2006.

Larry Smith won the male walkers title and the overall crown, finishing in 1:28:35. The record of 58:35 was set by Barry Neal in 2008.

Wanda Smith won the female walkers crown in 1:29:57, the record being 1:14:10 set by Barbara McGuire in 2008.

The hybrid event was won by Paul O’Shea in 1:00:46, with Bella Rayner second in 1:04:16.

Water polo is talented teen Abbey Moody’s preferred sport. Photo: Peter Jones.

‘Throwing things’ propels Abbey to the top  

She has just won a national track and field title, and perhaps broken a New Zealand javelin record into the bargain, but Abbey Moody’s true sporting love lies elsewhere.

The 15-year-old, who recently completed Year 11 at Marlborough Girls’ College, is one of those fortunate sportspeople who are able to excel at the top levels of more than one sport.

In early December she travelled to Wellington for the national secondary schools track and field champs and came away with a gold medal in the junior javelin.

She finished over 10 metres ahead of her nearest rival, her throw of 42.42m awaiting ratification as a new NZ record. She also came fifth in the discus, throwing a personal best of 34.11m.

That PB and pending record gave her a “four-peat”, having set new marks at MGC, Tasman, South Island and now national levels this season.

Previously this year Abbey underlined her burgeoning potential as a water polo player, her efforts as part of the MGC team earning her most valuable player awards at both the division two senior nationals and the under-16 division two nationals.

Asked to name her favoured sport, there is no hesitation.

“Water polo – that’s my passion. I’ve just been doing it longer and I want to go further with it. It’s a team sport and is growing all the time. My ultimate goal is to play for New Zealand.”

She is well on her way to that ambition, having been included in Water Polo NZ’s “Born 2004” squad which has been set up to prepare a group of athletes for the 2022 World Champs.

Abbey’s interest in water polo began when she was just 10 years of age, initially playing flipperball for a Bohally team in the 2m pool.

“That was such a fun team,” she recalls, “then I started playing for Marlborough Girls’ and just went on from there.

“[Water polo] was just different to most sports … so much fun and you got to meet new people. Physically it’s a full-body workout and you have to be switched on mentally as well … it’s quite a strong sport, you feel strong in the water and when you shoot a goal or steal the ball it’s just an amazing feeling.”

She has also set athletics goals, one of which was a strong showing at the NZ schools champs, which she can certainly tick off.

Her record-breaking throw, Abbey’s first of the competition, followed some patchy training form, but she said her sport was all about what happens on the day. “With the first throw, if it flies, it flies, you’ve just got to see how it goes,” she suggested.

Not a fan of running, Abbey admits she has always been keen on “throwing things”, which led her into the field side of track and field.

“The first time I threw a javelin was in year nine at the MGC athletics and I think I threw it 16 metres,” she recalled.

“I came fourth that day but there was another girl there – Eleri James-Sitters – who threw it about 32 metres and I was amazed with the way the javelin just flew through the air … how much power she had … it’s sort of a similar motion to throwing in water polo.”

After expressing an interest on improving her javelin technique Abbey was put into contact with local coach Ian Carter who offered his help and has had a major influence on her career so far.

“He drives an hour into Blenheim and an hour home for our sessions, which are usually three times a week … and it’s all voluntary. He’s so passionate about the sport.”

Ian is not the only one sacrificing his time to further Abbey’s career, with her Picton-based parents Felicity Gardiner and Richard Moody often having to get up at 5am to drive her into Blenheim for gym then pool sessions.

She also mentioned the input of her water polo coach, Alistair Keay, who does a lot of research and is continually updating his knowledge of the sport. “He did a lot for the MGC team both this year and last year too.”

Abbey resides in Picton, where she attended Waikawa Bay School and Queen Charlotte College, in years 7-8, but faces a change of scene in 2020, having decided to attend St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland for the final stages of her secondary education.

The shift north is mainly water polo-inspired, says Abbey, with a higher level of competition available there and the national coach, Oliver Gibb, being based at the 1300-student strong private school.

Wherever the multi-talented youngster plays her sport she will be seeking that feeling that makes it all worthwhile, a feeling she knows well and wants more of.

“When you just hit it right and everything feels so easy.

“When you take the shot or you throw the javelin and it makes you happy and everyone else happy … it’s just the best feeling, so different to succeeding in other areas, knowing that hard work does pay off in the end.

“That keeps you motivated.”

Abbey Moody. Photo: Peter Jones.

College athletes shine at nationals

Abbey Moody and Nikau Peipi spearheaded a strong performance by Marlborough college athletes at the recent New Zealand track and field secondary school championships.

The annual champs were staged at Newtown Park in Wellington.

Moody eclipsed the junior javelin field by almost 10 metres with a superb throw of 42.42m. This beat the New Zealand record by almost two metres, although the new mark is still to be ratified.

Peipi showed his all-round ability to totally dominate the para junior multi class events, winning the shot put, long jump, 200m sprint, high jump and 100m sprint.

Lucy Harman narrowly missed qualifying for the final of the senior 1500m, ending up being just one place from making the cut. This was a top result considering that it is her first year in the senior competition. George Varney placed 10th in the corresponding senior boys final.

Dale (DJ) Arbuckle, James Hansen and Paige Arbuckle were competing at their first national competition at secondary school level but certainly made their mark.

The unpredictable Wellington weather lived up to its reputation with extremely windy conditions prevailing on the first day of competition then, on the final day, the road races, which were to involve Harman and Varney, were cancelled due to heavy rain.

It hasn’t been a good week weather-wise for other Marlborough athletes in the past week either.

The senior club night last Tuesday was cancelled and the children’s club night on Wednesday was also affected for some grades.

The Children’s Interclub Mini-Multi event which was supposed to have been held at Saxton Field on Sunday was also cancelled.

Results from the NZ schools champs:

Marlborough Boys College

Dale (DJ) Arbuckle: Junior High Jump (13th – 1.60 metres), Junior 800m run (5th in Heat 1 Preliminaries & 22nd overall – 2 minutes 26.05 seconds)

James Hansen: Junior Long Jump (27th – 5.22 metres), Junior 300m Hurdles (6th – 44.12 seconds – PB), Junior 100m Hurdles (6th Heat 2 Preliminaries & 15th overall – 16.35 seconds)

Nikau Peipi: Para Junior Multi Class Shot Put (1st – 10.19 metres), Para Junior Multi Class Long Jump (1st – 5.01 metres), Para Junior Multi Class 200m Sprint (1st – 26.21 seconds), Para Junior Multi Class High Jump (1st – 1.58 metres), Para Junior Multi Class 100m Sprint (1st – 12.81 seconds)

George Varney: Senior 1500m Run (10th – 4 minutes 14.26 seconds)

Marlborough Girls College

Paige Arbuckle: Junior High Jump (6th – 1.58 metres)

Abbey Moody: Junior Javelin Throw (1st – 42.42 metres – record), Junior Discus Throw (5th – 34.11 metres)

Lucy Harman: Senior 1500m run (7th in Heat & 15th overall – 5 minutes 04.48 seconds)

Marlborough runner Billy Hebberd produced the fastest time on the first leg at the QC Relay. Photo: Peter Jones.

Nelson runners take QC Relay honours again

The Athletics Nelson junior men’s team took out the annual Queen Charlotte Relay title in comprehensive fashion on Saturday afternoon.

The team of Janek Manderson, Fletcher Pickworth, Luke Clatworthy, Matt Bowen and Ben Baker covered the five legs of the twisting course from Picton to Havelock in a sharp time of two hours, three minutes 20 seconds.

They finished well clear of the second-placed Beavertown Hopefuls combination, comprising Billy Hebberd, Sophie Lee, George Varney, Marty Moran and Ian Thomas, who completed the course in 2.16.45.

Third was the Mad Dogs combination, a Picton-based crew of Karlos Tautari, Stu Barnes, Mark Hodren, Henry Evans and Hayden Gaudin, who came home in 2.22.43.

Three members of the winning team turned in fastest leg times. Pickworth was fastest on the second leg, Bowen took the honours on leg four while Baker completed his team’s victory with the quickest time over the final leg from Moenui to Havelock.

Hebberd turned in the quickest time on leg one while Stephen Blackwell, winner of the Woodbourne half and Tussock Run covered the third leg fastest.

The long-standing event began in 1982 and has been contested annually without a break.

 

Team placings 

Senior men: Transition Coaching 2:22:50, Wire Runners 2:23:11.

Senior women: Speedplay Green Stripes 2:43:37, Kfit Kruiser 3:05:19.

Veteran men: Old Eggs For Fast Legs 2:32:11, We run better than the Government 2:52:13, That 70’s team 3:05:23.

Veteran women: Waimea Vet A 2:42:34, Garden Tavern Runners Club 3:00:06, Waimea Team Buddies 3:11:40.

Junior men: Athletics Nelson Junior Men 2:03:20.

Junior women: Athletics Nelson Junior Women 2:39:49, Marlborough Harriers Junior Women 3:07:32.

Social: Beavertown Hopefuls 2:16:45, Mad Dogs 2:22:43, Marlborough Harrier Social 2:29:55.

Walkers: Waimea Walking Team 4:06:06, Locked Knees 4:08:58, Sharp Walkers 4:59:00.

 

Leg placings

Leg one

Senior Men Chase Edmonds 0:24:21; Senior Women Grace Wallace 0:28:31; Veteran Men Graeme Sellars 0:24:45; Veteran Women Klaartje Von Schier 0:22:44; Junior Men Janek Manderson 0:21:40; Junior Women Iris Meffan 0:25:13; Social Billy Hebberd 0:20:58; Walkers Jim Kerse 0:39:09

Leg two

SM Gus Marfell 0:30:32; SW Andrea Livingston 0:41:27; VM Stuart Cottam 0:34:19; VW Klaartje Von Schie 0:35:11; JM Fletcher Pickworth 0:28:33; JW Lucy Martin 0:38:03; Social Robbie Barnes 0:32:01; Walkers Peter Hague 0:52:51.

Leg three

SM Fergus Greer 0:30:29; SW Laura Smidt 0:32:38; VM Ian Carter 0:34:42; VW Emma Marsden 0:40:10; JM Luke Clatworthy 0:27:51; JW Ella Donald 0:36:04; Social Stephen Blackwell 0:27:39; Walkers Daryl Nish 0:55:18.

Leg four

SM Billy Hebberd 0:24:22; SW Laura Smidt 0:28:08; VM Derek Shaw 0:28:08; VW Fiona Lees 0:30:09; JM Matt Bowen 0:22:12; JW Heidi Stephens 0:29:18; Social Marty Moran 0:26:43; Walkers Ian Courtenay 0:40:12.

Leg five

SM Dakoda Jones 0:26:03; SW Jo Dwyer 0:32:32; VM Alistair Cotterill 0:30:17; VW Tania Gardner 0:30:40; JM Ben Baker 0:23:04; JW Lois Braukal 0:28:20; Social Ian Thomas 0:24:59; Walkers Gillian McDougal 0:50:10.