Perfect conditions for racing greeted the 33 walkers on Saturday when the Taranaki Race Walking Club (TRWC) held its Annual Open walk on the Kaimata Street circuit in New Plymouth. This event always attracts top walkers from around the Country and a range of ages (this year the youngest was 9 and the oldest 86). Not only were the walkers competing for a series of cups but the event also incorporates the Race Walking New Zealand (RWNZ) 15K Championship.
The Hawera cup is awarded for the first walker (on handicap) in the 15km event. This was very keenly contested with only 40 seconds separating the first 5 walkers. Harry Terwiel (Taranaki) in his first judged walking event, walked well for 3rd place, Dave Wackrow (Taranaki) was second only 4 seconds behind the winner Vanessa Lowl (Taranaki); who required a PB to edge the competition. The mens 15km RWNZ championship saw an early battle between David Sim and Mike Parker both of Auckland followed closely by Eric Kemsley of New Plymouth and Andrus Lei of Palmerston North. After about 4K Mike Parker gradually pulled away and increased his lead through the race to eventually win the RWNZ championship by 2 minutes from David Sim. There was a spirited challenge from Kemsley and Lei, but in the end Kemsley had to settle for 3rd only 13 seconds back from Sim.
In the women’s 15km RWNZ Championship Rachel Gilberd (Inglewood) shot out to a commanding lead from the gun. After 5km this had increased to 30 seconds over Vanessa Lowl (New Plymouth). It looked likely that Gilberd would race away and win comfortably. After 8km the early pace of Gilberd began to tell and by 10km Lowl had the lead. Once she had gained the lead then she just gradually increased to take the Championship comfortably from Gilberd with Denise Stewart-Jacks (Inglewood) in 3rd place.
Helen Baverstock (New Plymouth) was a deserved winner of the Womens 10km Handicap Cup. She was presented the Campbell Cup in only her first year of walking and in fact her first judged event. Tom Hastie of New Plymouth took everybody by surprise and raced his fastest 10km for many years and comfortably won the Master Men’s cup.
The standout performance in the Juniors event was the men’s 19 where Matthew Holcroft (Waikato) celebrated being picked to go to the Junior Olympics later this year by walking the 5K in 24m 25s.
Open Walks Summary
Women 10K Campbell Cup - 1st H. Baverstock, 2nd K. Tahere, 3rd A. Fraser
Fastest Time – K. Tahere 1h 9m 5s
15K Hawera Cup - 1st V. Lowl, 2nd D. Wackrow, 3rd H. Terwiel
Masters Men 10K Handicap – 1st T. Hastie, 2nd equal A. Lester and J. Wells
Fastest time – J. Wells – 59m 46s
Junior 1K - H. Gilberd – 8m 8s
Junior 2k N. Moratti – 16m 58s
M16 3k – H. Sim – 20m 50s
W16 3K – D. Moratti – 20m 51s
M19 5K – M. Holcroft – 24m 25s
RWNZ Mens 15km championship – 1st M. Parker – 1h 18m 1s, 2nd D. Sim – 1h 20m 56s, 3rd E. Kemsley – 1h 21m 9s.
RWNZ Womens 15km championship – 1st V. Lowl – 1h 29m 54s, 2nd R. Gilberd – 1h 35m 10s, 3rd D. Stewart-Jacks – 1h 37m 20s.