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Friday, 25 May 2012

2012 Ekiden Race Walking Relay Championship, Trentham, Upper Hutt Sun 20 May

By any measure, race walking is not the most exciting of athletic events, and it is probably better to be a participant than an observer. While the sport is technically and physically demanding it is often parodied by those who think it’s weird.
For a few years now, Scottish has organised the annual Ekiden Relay which doubles at the Race Walking NZ Relay Champs. The event attracts walking teams from around NZ. Teams are made up of 6 walkers who between them cover 42.2km using a 1.2km lap.

Dave Lonsdale, race organiser has posted his report on the event here.

Making a rare appearance this year was local Quentin Rew, recently named to be part of the NZ team to contest the London Olympics. Rew  who has a competitive running background is relatively new to race walking but has proven to be pretty darned good at it.  His rise to prominence hasn’t been without its interesting moments .  For example he time he was disqualified at the 2009 National Track & Field Champs in Wellington when at the finish of the 3km race which he had effectively won, he was disqualified for executing a forward roll.  The infraction wasn’t technical reasons but because of his “ungentlemanly conduct.   Somebody should have told the officials that Rew attended Otago University where such behaviour would have been applauded amongst the student body.  He later told a Hawke’ Bay newspaper he had done something similar at the end of a walking race in 2005 when competing in the Otago Track & Field Champs, presumably without a problem.  There was recently an interview with Rew published in the NZ Herald that makes interesting reading, especially the bit about cheating.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

2012 Vosseler Shield Mt Victoria Wellington Sat 19 May

The Vosseler Shield is a tough bugger no matter which way you look at it. Starting on the lower Eastern side of Mt Victoria, the course takes runners up to Alexandra before dropping down to the Western side of the hill. It’s all mostly run on single track with some bits of open space. None of it is easy with little flat running to speak of. It has been described as the toughest cross-country race in NZ and once you run it you have to believe it. Even the kids, who are not spared the gut wrenching first uphill section, would agree. Responsible for it all is Grahem Tattersall the WHAC Race Director.

This year the Senior Men’s 10km winner was nationally ranked triathlete Martin van Barneveld while in the Senior Women’s grade it was Sarah Drought from Wellington Harriers. The only glitch of the day was the failure of the electronic timing section, but the day was saved by handy human backup. 2012 provisional individual results

Dave Kettles heading down the track for the last time

Thursday, 17 May 2012

2012 Barefeoot Running and Weird Shoes

Mark Handley (Olympic) is noted locally for running barefoot when the opportunity arises. He’s good at it – in fact he won the Wellington XC one year racing around the course without shoes. These days the new trend in shoes includes a “five fingered foot glove” model which fits snugly to one’s footsie. It must feel different, but does it offer a similar experience to barefoot running. Pictured below is a pic of Mark in “footsie au naturel” at the Varsity Relays and club mate Chris Speakman wearing the latest foot glove.


development of innovative footwear continues then it could go anywhere. Maybe some of these models might make an appearance at future races.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

2012 University Relays, QEII Park Paekakariki Sat 12 May

This relay is run through the sand dunes and bleached grasses of QEII Park. For the main race the 4 members of each team navigate a 3.86km lap with plenty of undulations to make it interesting. There are no obstacles because as I understand it the organisers are worried about OSH issues and the risks of being prosecuted by the Labour Department if somebody should hurt themselves. From what I could see, it looked as if Scottish had mashed up its Senior Men's A and B teams to redistribute their combined strength more evenly.  The result was that the Wellington Harriers A Team spreaheaded by junior running star Julian Oakley came through to grab a rare senior grade win and put some early season points on the board. The 3 kids races were non-relay scratch events of no more than 2km in distance.  2012 Results

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

2012 Shaw Baton Relays, Battle Hill Pauatahanui, Sat 28 Apr

The annual dash and splash, skip the light fandango, at Battle Hill ended with the predictable Scottish win in the main Senior Men’s race. This now brings the number of consecutive victories to 17, which in terms of dominance might be good for Scottish but not necessarily for the sport as a whole. Despite that the race is a cracker and a good indicator of early season form. I missed getting out this year, so no photos from me. The images below are all from 2010. Results 2012 2011