Auckland Relay Course Auckland Relay Course CREDIT: North West OC

Auckland Relay Championship

Tuesday 12 June 2007, 10:50AM
By Greg Flynn


The Auckland Orienteering Relay Championship took place on Sunday 10th June in Woodhill forest. The courses were designed by North West's Andrew Bell and he produced some fantastic orienteering and excitement in the coastal strip known as Otakanini Topu.

The Auckland Relay Title is awarded to the top Auckland club (North West, Auckland and Counties Manukau) after the three fastest team times are added together. For this each club has their runners ranked, then split onto the three separate legs and then randomly assigned teams with a runner from each leg. To add excitement and panic this year started with a total mass start for all competitors and proved to be popular with stories of people going everywhere from the gun.

The top ranked runners on leg one completed a course of 5.8km headed by Thomas Reynolds (NW) in a time of 34:50. He was closely followed by James Bradshaw (CM) in 35:12 and Greg Flynn (NW) in 35:15 who all formed the leading pack after the first butterfly loop. One of the most impressive runs came from Greta Knarston (CM) in 38:14, a junior set to represent New Zealand at the Junior World Championships in 4 weeks time, she edged out New Zealand's top elite female Tania Robinson to be the first female home.

Leg two was taken out by another junior female in the Junior World Champs team Nicola Peat (CM) in a time of 32:48 for the 4.3km course, with a gap of more than 2 minutes back to Wayne Aspin (CM) and her father Bruce (CM) both in 35:02.

The 2.8km third leg was lead by Trish Aspin (CM) in 26:38, who showed an even cleaner pair of heals to be more than 5 minutes ahead of Nicola Kinzett (A) in 31:47 and Joanna Stewart (A) in 33:47.

The Club title went to Counties Manukau after the top three teams combined for a time of 5:32:17 comfortably ahead of North West in second and Auckland third.

The excellent planning of the courses with split controls, pivots and butterfly loops proved to be a winner and with the mass start restricting the time waiting being another. Even the foul whether went mostly un-noticed once the excitement started as the majority of the people spoken to really enjoyed the event and are looking forward to next years.