Race 3 of “Sprint the Bay” was on “Kaiwaka,” another brand new map. Described as “very unique and tricky terrain” it was set in the riverbed of the meandering TukiTuki river with unusual contour and vegetation detail. After the earlier urban stages this terrain challenged runner’s physical and technical abilities to the max.
Elite “yellow jersey” wearers Matthias Muller (Swiss) and Venla Niemi (Finland) successfully defended their leads with both winning. In the absence of Julian Dent it was Ian Lawford (16th) who was the leading Aussi, with Olle Poland close behind. Ian was 2mins 34 behind the winner. Bridget Anderson enjoyed her best result of the carnival with a fine 5th, just 90 seconds down. Susanne Casanova was our next best in 12th.
WA’s Anthea Feaver continued her great form in W50, making it 3 consecutive wins, with a 2 minute margin over ACT’s Toni Brown. One of the victims of the tricky terrain was W40 leader Su Yan Tay who was 5 minutes off the pace in 9th. Steve Doyle was happy to break into the placings with his 2nd in M40. Likewise Ted Van Geldermaisen broke through for a win in M50. Debbie Gale took her first win in W60, while Rosemary Kullman was happy with her 3rd. Day 1 leader Jan Hardy had to be content with 4th. Rob Rapkins won a close encounter in M60 though Nick Dent lost only 36 seconds in 3rd.
In the younger classes Stephen Melhuish was our best senior boy in 6th, while Lanita Steer was 4th. ACT’s Noah Poland did well to take 3rd in junior boys while Asha Steer also grabbed the bronze position in the girl’s section.
Race 4 saw competitors travel to the city of “Napier” to run through the “art deco capital of the world!” This was super-fast urban terrain favouring those with genuine speed. Matthias Muller snatched another victory and will head into the final day with about 50 seconds over local lad Tim Robertson. Olle Poland (ACT) ran well for 13th, just one minute behind, as did WA’s Oscar McNulty, who was only a few seconds slower in 19th. Olle will go into the final day with a slight lead over fellow junior Ian Lawford for Aussi bragging rights.
Hannu Rihma (Finland) took the honours in race 4 but fellow Finn Venla Niemi’s 4th was close enough that she will wear the yellow jersey into race 5. However Kiwi Laura Robertson is within striking distance. The outstanding Aussie female run of the day was from Garingal’s Lisa Gray whose 9th was just 2 minutes behind the international visitor. Lisa has certainly a turn of speed so the great result wasn’t a complete surprise. Close behind her were Aussie representative Bridget Anderson (10th) and champions Arrows runner Lauren Gillis, in 11th.
Su Yan Tay restored order in W40 by taking her third win and will lead Kiwi Anna Robertson (that last name keeps popping up!) into day 4. NSW’s Karen Blatchford grabbed 3rd spot in race 4. Anthea Feaver showed great consistency for her 4th win in W50, this time with a minute to spare over fellow Aussies Ann Herceg and Carol Harding. Another kangaroo trifecta in W60, with Carol Brownlie winning ahead of Jan Hardy and Debbie Gale, and for good measure Janet Bush was 4th. It may well be a Tasmanian showdown with Debbie having a slight overall lead over Jan.
Steve Doyle was reunited with 4th place in race 4 but will be locked in a battle with several Kiwis tomorrow for 2nd place, as first seems unassailable. Jeremy Day had another win and Grant McDonald another 3rd in M50. Jeremy and Ted Van Geldermaisen lead overall into the last day. A close 3rd for Nick Dent ensures that he leads M60.
Jarrah Day placed 4th in senior boys and Lanita Steer was 5th in the girls. In the junior boys Queensland’s Aidan Tay got amongst the places with 3rd, whilst very young Victorian Mason Arthur did exceedingly well for 8th. In the girls Asha Steer was an agonising 4 seconds behind the Kiwi winner Lara Molloy and Asha will look to consolidate her place tomorrow, Tara Melhuish did well for 7th.
The final day has two distinctive terrains. The morning utilises a new map called “the Slip” which evidently is quite similar to the World Cup farmland map, “the Slump.” The final stage is back in traditional urban sprint terrain of Havelock North Village. (Map from earlier in carnival below.)