SRI CHINMOY 24 HOUR TRACK RACE CARNIVAL - Sovereign Stadium, Auckland
Incorporating the New Zealand 24-Hour Championship and the New Zealand Centurion's Challenge
Weather: Saturday --------- Cloudy and breezy
Night -------------------- Chilly and still
Sunday - Cloudy/ rain last half hour
Temperature ------------------- 8 - 13 °C
- VESA MURTO VICTORIOUS IN 196 KM RUN OF HIS LIFE!
- AUSTRALASIAN RACE WALKING RECORDS BY CANBERRA'S CAROL BAIRD!
- MARK BRIGHT RUNS NZ 50 KM TRACK BEST IN 6-HOUR RACE TRIUMPH!
- MAUREEN METCALF BECOMES 1st NZ WOMAN TO WALK 100 MILES IN A DAY!
- 6 OVERSEAS WALKERS QUALIFY FOR KIWI CENTURION CLUB!
- 12 HOUR & 6-HOUR WINS TO GARY REGTIEN, SUZI POTRATZ AND CAROLYNN TASSIE!
- RECORD FIELD IN 24-HOUR RACE!This years' 2001 Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Track Race Carnival kept us very busy ... 27 participants plus 2 teams in the 24-Hour, 7 entrants in the 12-Hour and 8 competitors in the 6-Hour. By 11:00am Saturday there were 44 ultra athletes moving around the track including 10 visiting race walkers from 5 different national backgrounds striving for the NZ Race Walking Club Centurion medals.
The Carnival was held in almost ideal conditions with the cloud cover providing a pleasant canopy and a not too cold night by Auckland July standards. The row of national flags beside the track, representing the 7 countries of the participating athletes, created a universal" Olympic" feeling as they fluttered in the breeze.
The Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race had returning Champions Gavin Smith (220-km personal best) and Margaret Hazelwood (205-km) joined by local, national and overseas challengers. In the men's race Shaun Cooper - Lake Taupo 153-km winner in 13:24, Geoff Tranter U.K (207-km race walking best), 2000 runner up Albie Jane from Stratford (187-km) and Christchurch's Vesa Murto (Lake Taupo 100-miler in 19:30) were contenders. Also to watch were Holland's Gerrit de Jong (100-mile time of 19:43) and 1999 runner up Peter Bloore of Rotorua (175-km).
In the Women's 24-Hour Race, Australian race walking champion Carol Baird (175-km) and top British walkers Jill Green U.K. (45 time finisher of the 100-mile event) along with her good friend Susan Clements (100-mile best of 23:13) would also be challengers.
The Sri Chinmoy 12-Hour Race would feature NZ masters champion Gary Regtien doing battle with Colorado USA's, Suzi Potratz. In the Sri Chinmoy 6-Hour Race Waiheke Island's Mark Bright would be burning around doing sub 90 second laps' in a quest for the Kiwi 50-km track record of 3:14:56. The 24-Hour Teams Relay had"Returning Runners" and"Willing Walkers", led by Roger Levie and Jacqui Jones and they would be looking to transcend the distances they covered in the 2000 race.
During the first 100-km of the 24-hour race a purposeful and steady running Shaun Cooper (9:01) led from Vesa Murto (9:40) followed by Barnaby McBryde (10:52), Albie Jane (11:06) and Peter Bloore (12:24). Behind the leading runners were some very disciplined and focused race walkers led by Parminder Singh Bhatti, U.K./ India (12:44), Herbert Neubacher, Germany (12:51), Geoff Tranter, U.K. (13:44), Graham Cleal, Orewa (13:57) and Gerald Manderson, Palmerston North (14:05). Returning 1998 and 2000 champion Gavin Smith, hampered by sore shins, was gallantly clocking up the kilometers at a reduced pace.
Year 2000 women's champion Margaret Hazelwood passed 100-km in 11:19 and had a handy lead over a pack of race walkers. These were led by Australia's cheerful and crisp striding Carol Baird (12:37), followed by equally cheerful Jill Green U.K. (13:18), Susan Clements U.K. (13:27), and the ever transcending Maureen Metcalfe, Hamilton (14:30).
The Sri Chinmoy 12-Hour Race saw an absorbing dual between Gary Regtien and Suzi Potratz. Gary, running at age 65â€“69 100-km world record pace reached 50-km in 4:28 followed by Suzi in 4:40, 11 times Ironman Finisher Pam Dickson, Rotorua (4:59), and Dianne Kowalewski, Stratford (5:19). Suzi led through 40-miles - 6:15 to Garyâ€˜s 6:20. Gary held a slender 2 minute lead at 50-miles which he gradually consolidated to finish in 1st place with a fine 108.916-km. Suzi completed an excellent 107.841-km to win the women's race followed in 2nd place by Dianne with a gritty 90.600-km. James Reed, 66 also from Stratford walked an impressive 83.857-km.
Mark Bright dominated the Sri Chinmoy 6-Hour Race with a scintillating New Zealand 50-km track record of 3:12:12. Running like a fine tuned greyhound he raced around the track in 1:20's and 1:30's to take 2:44 off the previous record. After a 90 minute recovery break he cruised another 14-km to achieve a final distance of 64.000-km. Robert Hulubicki was 2nd with 59.932-km. 1997 Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour winner Carolynn Tassie was 1st women with a steady 60.451-km followed in 2nd place by promising race walker Breige Rendell from Napier with 47.765-km, and in 3rd place by Shirley Barber (45.410-km). Beverley Horton, 66 from Auckland walked an excellent 42.149-km.
In to the chill of the night Vesa ran, shuffled, walked- doing what ever it took to keep moving. He passed 100-miles in a personal record 17:05 and was having his best race as he moved into new territory. Vesa went on to win the 2001 24-hour championship with a fine 196.400-km. Shaun feeling a little hypothermic took several long breaks and started walking towards the 100-mile mark, which he reached in 19:30. Barney, moving well, passed 150-km in 18:51 before a knee strain slowed him and he started limping onwards around the track.
Race walkers Parminder, Herbert and Geoff showed their buoyant spirits, commitment and experience as they steamed passed 100-miles in 21:18, 22:18 and 23:04 respectively to join the NZ Centurions Club. Runners Peter and Barney followed through in 23:05 and 23:12. Peter continuing on to finish 2nd with 168.757-km followed by Geoff in 3rd place with 167.248-km. Graham Cleal walked a personal best 154.414-km to win the 60-69 category while evergreen 74 year old Colin Clifton from Tauranga covered an inspiring 126.556-km to win the 70+ age group trophy.
Margaret had a tough time during the night and after several long breaks was unable to continue. Carol showed her race walking talent, resolve and positive attitude as she strode through an Australasian record 100-mile split of 20:55 to win the women's championship and established a new Australasian 24-hour walking record of 176.728-km. Jill, who along with Herbert, achieved her 5th national Centurion Club qualification, reached 100-miles in 22:18 and ended up in 3rd place with 162.400-km. Susan also qualified as a Kiwi Centurion, passing 100-miles in a personal best 23:00, and proceeded on to finish 2nd with 165.200-km. Maureen, inspired by what was happening around her, unleashed her considerable potential and powered through the second half of the race to become the 1st Kiwi woman to walk 100-miles in a day.
The 24-hour team"Returning Runners" led by Roger Levie (50.800-km) and Greg Argent (50.596-km) transcended their year 2000 tally by 20-km to achieve an excellent 281.396-km final distance. Their"Willing Walkers" team of friends headed by Jacqui Jones (38.000-km) also improved - adding 14-km to last year's total to finish with 167.709-km.
At the awards ceremony Sandy Barwick and Gary Regtien presented the Sandy Barwick and Richard Tout 24-Hour Perpetual Trophies to 2001 champions Carol and Vesa while Dudley Harris and Ross Pilkington presented medals to the 7 new Kiwi Centurions.