Fastest person home in Sunday's Peak Trail Blazer was Eric Speakman. Photo: supplied.
Local runner Eric Speakman said he didn’t really have time to take in the scenery at Sunday's Peak Trail Blazer on Te Mata Peak in Havelock North.
He became the first person to run a sub 50-minute time at the community fundraiser, smashing the course record by over four minutes and securing the title of Rod McDonald Wines King of the Peak.
In near-perfect running conditions, a record-breaking 720 people took part over the two courses, with Mr Speakman crossing the finish line in an eye-watering 46:40mins on the 12.8km Te Mata Peak trail, beating the previous course record of 50:54 set in 2012 by Scotsman Graham Bee.
Mr Speakman also took home the newly-formed ‘Lucky Legs’ prize for both the quickest up- and down-hill legs, pocketing a further $100 for his efforts. He was also inducted in to the prestigious Hall of Flames sub 60 club along with 20 other runners, the largest number of people inducted to date.
An Olympic 1500m hopeful, Mr Speakman is a member of Napier Harriers who has recently returned from Stonybrook University in New York after graduating in May.
Race Director Jo Throp said the results were amazing. “We’d heard prior to the race predictions the sub-50 barrier may be broken, and when we recorded Eric at the top of the Peak in 27:20, we knew it was game on! But to break it by such a margin – we’re a little lost for words, really.”
Ruby Muir retained her Hawke’s Bay Orthodontics Queen of the Peak title for the second year, crossing the line in 55:25mins, convincingly beating her time of 56:06 from 2014 and setting a new female record.
Ruby Muir retained her Queen of the Peak title for the second year, also in a new record time.
But Ms Throp said that people shouldn’t be fooled by the apparent ease with which the top runners cross the finish line. “I can tell you that these guys don’t just roll out of bed and run this fast. It takes a lot of training and dedication to run like this - it still hurts, they’ll be wobbly on their legs for a few of days and most of them need to walk at some stage on the course.”
Rod McDonald Wines King of the Peak Eric Speakman said he was feeling pretty tired. “The climb up Te Mata Peak was a lot more challenging than I remember, but it’s an awesome course – hard and fast to begin with along Joll Road, with little time for rest on the way up, but then you fly down the other side.”
He spoke at the prize giving about the amazing vibe of the event which he had been hoping to compete in for the last couple of years, commenting on the great ‘shout outs’ he’d received from others on the course on his way up and down.
Walking on the Te Mata Peak trail, Derren Hutchinson took out the title crossing in 1:37:01 bettering his time from last year by a mere 40 seconds, while not far behind him Anna Treadwell came in at 1:40:31 in her first attempt at the Peak Trail Blazer.
Sixteen year old Napier Boys High School student Bradley Christison 52:30 took the title of Up & Coming (fastest 5-17 year old boy on 12.8km Te Mata Peak), coming 4th over all and running himself into the Hall of Flames.
Olivia Webster from Hastings took out the female Up & Coming in a time of 1:17:09. Both up and comering winners will get some guidance and training help from Steve Willis, Athletics NZ and local man Craig McDougall, from Hastings Giants Boxing Academy.
Second place in the men’s 12.8km Te Mata Peak trail went to Lucas Duross 51:14, who was the King of the Peak in 2011, and third place ($50) went to Devon Beckman 51:35. Second place ($150) in the women’s 12.8km Te Mata Peak trail went to Dulia Daly 59:35 and third to Kirsty Skidmore 1:05:03.
On the short course, the Tainui Trail, the title of Prince of Tainui went to Arthur Miller School student Seb Barton-Ginger (17:51) and from Parkvale Primary Aniela Apperley (19:13) on what had been a slightly longer course than in previous years due to the changes made in the Tainui Reserve because of safety concerns.
Twenty-one runners won themselves a bottle of wine each and a place on the highly-sought after Hall of Flames Sub-60 club leaderboard which hangs at Hawthorne Coffee in Havelock North, for completing the 12.8km Te Mata Peak trail in under an hour.
Ms Throp said organisers were thrilled with how the day went. “We certainly had our challenges this year, there’s always something to throw a spanner in the works, but the people who take part and their enthusiasm for the event make it all worth while and keep us coming back.”
The brainchild of three Havelock North Primary mums, Rachel Cornwall, Susie Devonshire and Jo Throp, the event aimed to raise funds for the school, raise the school’s profile within the wider community, promote health and wellbeing, and utilize the fantastic natural resources of the Tainui Reserve and Te Mata Peak.
As well as raising funds for Havelock North Primary, the event has donated over $17,000 to the community to date. This year 20% of the funds raised would be donated to the Te Mata Peak Trust and a further 20% to Heretaunga Women’s Centre.
Full results will be placed on the website as soon as possible at www.peaktrailblazer.co.nz