Queen Charlotte Relay 2014
Athletics Nelson again dominated the Queen Charlotte Relay. But this time with a different flair.
For nine straight years, a team made up of mostly Athletic Nelson juniors was the first to cross the line. But on Saturday a group of runners all with a Nelson affiliation called themselves the Athletics Nelson Pretenders and swept past the juniors to forge the victory in the senior men’s division of the 34.65km race on the scenic route from Picton to Havelock.
Sixteen-year old Sam Mackay-Wright ran the fastest senior men’s opening leg and his 19:32 effort up the steep 5.1km course had his Athletics Nelson team ahead of the Pretenders Simon Leaning but a minute behind the Marlborough Harriers’ veterans’ team. Josh Barry reeled in the Marlborough runner and was 30 seconds ahead of the Pretenders’ Chris Mardon after the second leg. The Pretenders’ Matt Lambert caught Hugo Lawrence three kilometres into leg three and gradually drew away to a one-minute lead. The Pretenders were three minutes ahead after Hayden McLaren’s 20:36 fourth leg, and Nelson’s Luke Kelly was overtaken for second by Marlborough. Nelson’s Jared Lautenslager quickly put his team back in second and ran the race’s fastest fifth leg, 22:31 on the 6.65m course. But he barely put a dent on the Pretenders’ anchor-man Simon Mardon, who crossed the finish line in 1:59:19.
Athletics Nelson’s senior women’s team, whose members were all under age 18, won by more than 17 minutes over runner up AvantiPlus Blenheim Flyers. The team of Jess Martin, Sophie Smith, Sami Jordan, Bridie Edwards, and Beth Versey ran 2:21:23 for one of the fastest women’s times in race history. The Athletics Nelson junior team of Angus Weymss, William Wallace, Tom Somerville, Thomas Littleworth, and Kalani Sheridan won its division in 2:12:28.
The Waimea Harriers’ team of Dallas Ward, Liz Coke, Robyn Deane, Odette Llewellyn,and Fran Kerse won the Veteran Women’s race in 2:45:53.
Athletics Nelson ‘s Eric Verstappen, Peter Hague, and Meryl Hague won the race walk in 3:56:30.