Nelson athletes dominate
The Athletics Nelson senior men’s team took top honours in the 36th Queen Charlotte Relay on Saturday, breaking the two-hour mark.
The slick combination of Sam Mead, Kalani Sheridan, Fletcher Pickworth, Jared Lautenslager and Angus Wemyss covered the undulating course in one hour 59.47.
Second were the Athletics Nelson junior men, comprising Jacob Bryan, Ben Baker, Jacob Babb, Jamie Wallis and Nick Matthews, nearly 13 minutes behind, with the Marlborough Harriers Club Barnstormers quintet of Phil Taylor, Ed Massey, Robbie Barnes, Dave Vernon and Stephen Blackwell third, a mere 24 seconds behind the second placegetters.
The first four runners from the winning team all registered the fastest times on their respective legs, while Matthews turned in the quickest time on the final leg, from Moenui to Havelock.
Forty running teams contested the popular event, with the winning combination coming up just short of the race record, which still stands at one hour 50 minutes.
The relay was held over five legs of varying distances on Marlborough’s Queen Charlotte Drive between Picton and Havelock.
It started at Waitohi Domain than travelled through Wedge Point (5100m), Momorangi (8600m), Linkwater (8100m), Moenui (6200m) and ended in Havelock township (6650m).
The veteran men’s title was won by the fourth-placed Athletics Nelson Silver Foxes team of Stu Cottam, Brian Kemp, Peter Leg one: Sam Mead 18.55. Leg two: Kalani Sheridan 28.21. Leg three: Fletcher Pickworth 29.27. Leg four: Jared Lautenslager 20.05. Leg five: Nick Matthews 22.18. Versey, Simon Leaning and Tim Cross.
The social section was won by sixth-placed Marathon Downs, comprising Jess barnes, Will Barnes, Sean Martin, Robbie Barnes (who ran two legs) and Anna Barnes. The Athletics Nelson junior women’s team of Kassidy Gibbons, Emily Dalton, Eloise Beattie, Lucy Martin and Breena Gibbons claimed the junior women’s crown with a 14th placing, while the Go Girls quintet of Becky Twidle, Jo Bray, Leanne Broughton, Cat Manson and Bids Taylor were the top senior women’s side, finishing 15th.
The 19th-placed Waimea Vet Vixens team, Liz Coke, Robyn Deane, Yvonne West, Odette Llewellin and Fran Kerse won the veteran women’s title.
Seven teams of walkers competed, The Athletics Nelson walkers combination of Jeff Lecky, Peter Hague, Bevan Cook, Claire McKenzie and Gwen Connor finishing first in a time of 4:02.16.
Race organiser Les McKay was pleased with how things panned out, especially with thundery weather hanging around the Sounds.
It rained at the pre-race briefing but cleared up for the race, the participants enjoying dry conditions all the way to Havelock, while Picton received late afternoon thunder, rain and hail.
Eloise Beattie from the Athletics Nelson junior women’s team takes off on the third leg after receiving the baton from Emily Dalton, right.