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Wellington Scottish win Relay Champs

New Zealand Road Relay Championships, Moutere Hills

New Zealand Road Relay Championships, Moutere Hills

New Zealand Road Relay Championships, Moutere Hills – 6 October 2012

Wellington Scottish broke a drought of eight years with victory in the senior men’s event New Zealand Road Relay Championships at Upper Moutere Nelson on Saturday.

Scottish spent almost the entire eight laps of the 71.7km event chasing the leaders with their final lap runner Tim Hodge eventually overhauling New Brighton Olympic of Christchurch with just 5km remaining.

Ben Barry had Scottish in third behind Wesley’s Andrew Haigh and New Brighton’s Hayden McLaren after the first lap. By the third lap Mark Bailey was well in command for New Brighton and they looked to have the title sewn up. New Brighton’s Callan Moody fought hard to stave off the challenge from Hodge, but the New Zealand road champion had the speed when it counted. Scottish recorded 3h 53m 13s, 27 seconds faster than New Brighton with Wesley of Auckland third and Lake City fourth.

Hodge said it was challenging with the Scottish team four and a half minutes behind early in the race.

“We knew we had to pull something out to get the result. On lap four we started edging back and were in third and then we slowly moved our way up. Edwin (Kenyan Edwin Kaitany) had a blinder of a run on lap five gaining over a minute and Dan Wallis got within 30 seconds on lap seven. All the guys ran really well, they left everything out there for the team,” said Hodge.

“It is good for the Club, every year for the past eight years we’ve been going we’re told you’ve got to win road relays and we’ve come close, second last year and it’s fantastic that the team managed to pull it off this year,” he added.

“I didn’t know if I was going to catch him (Moody) for a while, the gap was sort of maintaining around 10 to 15 seconds. I’d noticed earlier on the lap that I was making ground on him on the up hill, so I decided instead of just sticking on him I would just float by him and hopefully hold on for the win,” said Hodge.

It was a first time experience for Kaitany.

“I have never done a road relay before and I enjoyed it. It was fun and I hope to be here next year for the relays,” he said.

Manager of the Wesley team Ian Sussex said it was a first for his Club to be on the podium.

“Andy Haigh has made a big difference to the Club in terms of going out and recruiting guys and guys coming back to Auckland, like Malcolm Hicks who we left with University of Canterbury for a couple of years. We didn’t quite get the gold for him, he’s been used to gold, but he’s happy with the bronze,” said Sussex.

Hamilton City Hawks won the women’s title for the first time in the 36 year history of the relays. Team captain Helen Rountree said a gold medal was definitely the incentive.

“It is an awesome result. We lost a couple of our stronger runners a couple of weeks ago, so we had two of our masters women run for us and they just did amazing and they’re stoked to have got a gold,” she said.

“After being between third and fourth in the middle stages, Camille (Buscomb) pulled us into first and then Sarah (Biss) held on with a strong final lap,” added Rountree.

North Harbour Bays were second with Papanui Toc H third.

Athletics Nelson almost made it a clean sweep of the three master men grades. They headed in Scottish in the masters 40-49, after a great final lap run from Phil Costley, and won the inaugural over 60’s relay again beating Scottish with Wellington third. Athletics Nelson were first across the line in the 50-59 grade but had a penalty of seven minutes added to their finishing time after their final runner Cliff Bowman was unable to complete the lap and was substituted. This dropped Athletics Nelson to third with Auckland University winning and Lake City second. Scottish won the master women for the second year and their fifth title in seven years. Port Hills was second and Olympic third.

Wellington Harrier showed real strength in the junior men with three teams finishing in the top 10. They won the title by over two minutes from Hamilton City Hawks and Auckland City. Wellington also finished fourth and ninth. They last won in 1993.

Auckland City Athletic won the junior women with Pakuranga second and defending champions Athletics Nelson third.

Wellington Scottish won the top overall club award from Athletics Nelson and Hamilton City Hawks. If Athletics Nelson had completed the over 50s relay intact and won the gold they would have won the title with three golds.

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