New Zealand 24-hour Championships - Sovereign Stadium, Auckland
9:00 am Saturday to 9:00 am Sunday 6/7 July 2002
Saturday: Windy, showers/ sunny periods
Night: Cool/ still with occassional rain
Sunday: Showers, wind/ some blue skies
Temperature: 10-15 °C
** Carolynn Tassie's 205 km outright victory in NZ 24-hour championship
** Ashley Smith's 193 km triumph at age 61
** 100-mile centurion walk by Canberra's Carol Baird
** Vesa Murto and Margaret Hazelwood win 12-hour races
** NZ age record for Colin Clifton and Dianne File
** 11 teams complete 12-hour relay
This year the Self-Transcendence 24-Hour and 12-Hour individual races started together at 9:00 am Saturday morning. 28 runners and race walkers from across New Zealand and Australia took part.
Former 24-hour champions Vesa Murto, Christchurch (winner 2001) and Margaret Hazelwood, Picton (winner 1998-2000), competed in this year's 12-hour race. They both ran strongly and, along with Greg Prosser (Hamilton), Doug Parkhill (Auckland) and Susie Potrataz-Pestillo (Auckland/ Colorado, USA), were able to set the early pace for the 24-hour competitors.
The 24-hour runners were led by 1999 winner Michael Symons along with Ashley Smith, Albie Jane, Barney McBryde, 1997 women's winner Carolynn Tassie and race walker Carol Baird (2001 women's champion from Canberra, Australia). Top master's runner Gary Regtien 66, also started confidently, passing 50 km in 5:02 and 50 miles in 8:56.
During Saturday it was a race of attrition. The vigorous northerly wind extracted an involuntary toll from the athletes each lap. The evening saw calmer conditions and some rain. Michael Symons, Gary Regtien and Albie Jane found the going tough and had to rest. In the Self-Transcendence 12-hour race Suzie Potratz-Pestillo (winner 2001 race) also had to stop.
At 9:00 pm Saturday night the blast of the hooter heralded the finish of the 12-hour individual's race and simultaneously started the charge of the 11 first leg runners and walkers in the Self-Transcendence 12-Hour Teams Relay.
Vesa Murto had showed fine form as he cruised to an easy win in the 12-hour race with a final distance of 117.404 km. He was followed by Greg Prosser (103.437 km) and Doug Parkhill (101.244 km). Margaret Hazelwood also looked in good shape and was a comfortable winner of the women's division - running an excellent 110.189 km. Maureen Metcalfe was second with 82.806 km.
The 4 person team relay runners and walkers looked fast and dynamic. Their speed and enthusiasm kept the lap counters alert and their fresh energy gave a boost to the tiring 24-hour competitors.
Meanwhile Carolynn Tassie had moved into overall 1st place in the 24-hour race and 61-year-old Ashley Smith (Waitara) was on a crusade in the men's division. Looking very fit and focused Ashley ran and walked with purpose and adapted his race well to the demanding conditions- even wearing a wet towel on his head to keep awake during the graveyard period. He reached 100 miles in 19:22:54 and clearly was hungry for more kilometers. Ashley added a wonderful 21 km to his previous best - becoming the 2002 Men's Champion with 193.126 km.
Ashley was followed by a resolute Barney McBryde from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team who, in spite of some difficulties, was determined to explore the 170 km + zone and was very happy to reach a personal best 174.040 km. In 3rd place was Mark Grey who persevered through the night and finished with 154.111 km. Peter Bloore was cheerful and gritty in achieving 143.586 km while fellow Rotorua runner,"marathon man" Colin Smyth 63, showed determination and character in covering 123.154 km.
75-year-old Colin Clifton of Tauranga brought forth his renowned warrior qualities to set a Kiwi 24 hour (70-75) age benchmark of 108.492 km.
Carolynn Tassie ran a marvelous, controlled and well-paced race showing her fitness, talent and smooth running style. She included short walks and breaks and always seemed to have something in reserve. She was first runner past 100 miles (18:33:32) and reached 200 km in 23:30:48. Carolynn past Margaret's 205.018 km race record with 1 minute remaining and became the 2002 outright champion with a race best 205.213 km.
2nd placed Carol Baird again showed her relentless, efficient walking style and in better conditions may have broken her recent Australasian 100 mile record. Her 20:48:52 100 mile split was 7 minutes faster than her 2001 winning performance and qualified her a New Zealand Centurion for the second time.
Fay Smith battled on for 3rd place with 144.000 km as did Shirley Rolston of Christchurch who ran and walked 131.170 km. Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team runner Dianne File 56, ran steadily to establish a New Zealand women's (55-59) age record of 129.496 km.
1st place in the 12-hour teams relay was"Team Tri One" (140.885 km) led by Louise Bockett (38.0 km), Russell Troy (34.8 km), Ken Fairgray (34.4 km) and Richard Pamatatai (33.685 km). They were followed by their friends"Team Tri Two" (136.523 km) captained by Roger Levie (41.323 km), Lisa Markwick (33.2 km), Stu Renner (33.2 km) and Jodie McLeod (28.8 km). In 3rd place were the"Green Coast Rats â€˜C' Team" (134.890 km) with Bill Dron (36.0 km), Bruce Livingstone (34.09 km), John O'Donnell (34.0 km) and Sandy Barwick (30.8 km).
At the awards ceremony Sandy Barwick and Richard Tout presented the Sandy Barwick and Richard Tout 24-Hour Perpetual Trophies to 2002 champions Carolynn and Ashley while Dudley Harris and Maureen Metcalfe presented the New Zealand Centurions Club medals.