Porten­ski hon­oured at Ti­tahi Bay cel­e­bra­tion


‘‘It re­ally made for a very re­laxed at­mos­phere and it was quite fes­tive. It re­ally gave this feel­ing of cel­e­brat­ing our love of run­ning to­gether.’’

Bernie Porten­ski would have loved watch­ing the scenes which played out in Ti­tahi Bay.

The leg­end of Welling­ton run­ning died in Fe­bru­ary, but her legacy lives on through the Bernie Porten­ski Me­mo­rial Cup, which was won for the first time re­cently by Hutt Val­ley Har­ri­ers run­ner Iso­bel Franklin.

Welling­ton Scot­tish this year changed their tra­di­tional 9.1-kilo­me­tre hand­i­capped club race around the roads, tracks and beaches of Is­land Bay into an event for all clubs, to com­mem­o­rate Porten­ski.

It was an event in keep­ing with a lot of what Porten­ski was about. She was al­ways en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to give run­ning a go, and a re­laxed, jovial at­mos­phere took hold on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 21, Franklin said.

‘‘One thing that was quite dif­fer­ent is that nor­mally when we get to­gether with the other clubs in the Welling­ton re­gion it’s in a com­pet­i­tive set­ting and there is a lot of ten­sion and ri­valry be­tween the clubs, whereas this was the first time we’ve got to­gether in a hand­i­cap race and it’s about com­pet­ing against your­self.

‘‘It wasn’t an in­ter­club com­pe­ti­tion, so it re­ally made for a very re­laxed at­mos­phere and it was quite fes­tive.

‘‘It re­ally gave this feel­ing of cel­e­brat­ing our love of run­ning to­gether, rather than the usual air of angst and com­pe­ti­tion.’’

Franklin was also a fit­ting winner of an event named after Porten­ski. She fin­ished 66th over­all in 56 min­utes and one sec­ond, but won the cup by beat­ing her hand­i­capped time by three min­utes and 29 sec­onds.

Ka¯piti’s Daniel Head­ifen was sec­ond when beat­ing his hand­i­capped time by 3.03, with Hutt Val­ley’s Peter Sparks third, 2.31 ahead of his time.

Franklin said she got a mas­sive kick out of col­lect­ing what she de­scribed as a ‘‘just beau­ti­ful’’ tro­phy.

‘‘I was ab­so­lutely stunned, I still can’t re­ally be­lieve it. It’s not ev­ery day that you win some­thing like that, in fact it’s prob­a­bly once-in-a-life­time.

‘‘I had a re­ally good race for me. I ran much faster than I nor- mally do. I could tell I was do­ing OK be­cause no­body went past me and I over­took about six or seven peo­ple.’’

Welling­ton Scot­tish had the two quick­est run­ners over­all, with Stephen Day the fastest in the men’s in a time of 32.31.

The fastest woman was Lind­say Bar­wick in 40.34, just beat­ing Welling­ton Har­ri­ers’ Vicki Humphries by one sec­ond.

Ninety-two run­ners com­pleted the course on Satur­day, with Franklin say­ing she could see the event get­ting even big­ger in the fu­ture.

‘‘I said to a cou­ple of the or­gan­is­ers that I hope they don’t mind if a lot more of us come back next year be­cause it was so much fun.’’

She wasn’t back­ing her­self to de­fend the ti­tle, but said hav­ing the tro­phy sit­ting at pride of place in her home would pro­vide her with all the mo­ti­va­tion she needed to keep her train­ing go­ing.

‘‘I get to hold onto un­til two weeks be­fore next year’s race, so I’ve got a whole year to en­joy it and be mo­ti­vated by it, be­cause it is re­ally mo­ti­vat­ing to win some­thing like that.

‘‘It’s a great hon­our and I feel quite priv­i­leged to be able to look after it for a year.

‘‘I’ll def­i­nitely be back and might im­prove my time, but the chances of win­ning it again, ever, are pretty re­mote.’’

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