Event Reports 2016/17

Buller Gorge Marathon 11 February 2017

Report by Warren Gregory

Despite the Met Service long range prediction of a wet day, Westport turned on a fine but cool and calm morning for the 35th edition of the Buller Gorge Marathon. Conditions for running were as near to perfect as could be expected and many club members exceeded their expectations on a course that isn’t always easy.

26 Marathon Clinic members made the journey to Westport with the majority staying Friday and Saturday nights in the Buller Court Motel as usual. We were very pleased to be joined by Jenny and Rainer Hoffmann visiting from the UK together with daughter Gilly and husband Trevor Kitto (former members) visiting from Wellington.


Team photo at Victoria Square before boarding the buses

16 members had entered the half marathon but unfortunately Neil Gillon had to pull out at the last minute due to injury. Rainer Hoffmann decided to take Neil’s place even though he has been unable to run much in recent times (also due to injury!) and ran and walked the 21 km.

Most of the club’s half marathoners were veterans of the Buller run but for Terry, Clare and Campbell it was their first time.  Clare (1:38) and Campbell (1:37) were very happy to attain personal best times.

In the more senior classes, the club came away with two ‘first-in-class’ placings. Janice Gregory (1:54) held off former member Liz van Til and 16 other women to come home first in her class and Chris Littlewood (1:52) held off 7 other men to win his class. Two other runners, Jenny (1:53) and Warren (1:50), finished in the top 10 of their classes with Warren narrowly beating David Gillon (1:50) for 10th place in the M6069 category as they crossed the line together.


Julie looking very happy at the 1 km to go mark


Jayden fully focussed

Five members entered the full marathon and all finished in good condition and with creditable times. They all received a boost from the club members gathered at the ‘1 km to go’ mark. For Julie (4:36) and Kevin (4:16) it was their first marathon and, having trained conscientiously, they both made it look easy. This was also Julie’s first time running at Westport.  Rob Loveridge (3:01) warmed up for his marathon run by completing the mountain running section of the Coast to Coast course on Friday in a time of 3:42 which earned him third place overall and first in his class and then topped that off with a marathon run in just a whisker over 3 hours. Jayden Anker (2:51) starred for the club by slashing 6 minutes from his personal best time to take third place in his class and fourth place overall.

We were also pleased to welcome along to the after-run barbecue two runners recently arrived from the UK who have shown an interest in joining our club. Steve Darby (2:53) finished first in his class and 5th overall and Hannah Oldroyd (2:55) finished first in her class and 7th overall and came within seconds of setting a new course record.

The Cobblers team comprising Warren and Kay Bayliss, Maureen Heffernan and Ruth Littlewood ran well in the 4 x 10.5 km relay run over the marathon course. This is a very popular option with about 80 teams participating and it would be great to see a Christchurch Marathon Clinic team there next year too.

After their runs and after cheering home other runners, most members returned to the finish line in Victoria Square where drinks, food, music and good company filled in the afternoon before the prize-giving ceremony at about 5 pm. It was great to see three members up on stage receiving prizes and we also bathed in some reflected glory as prospective members Steve and Hannah took away prizes too. Unfortunately we were less successful with the major spot prizes – we got none!

On Saturday evening, 26 attended the barbeque at the Buller Court Motel where certificates were presented and stories of the day’s events re-played. Thanks to the cooks (Neville and Richard) and to Julie S and Janice G for organising the food. Thanks also to Julie for organising the motel accommodation.  Then, on a slightly rainy Sunday morning we breakfasted together at the PortSide Bistro before heading back to Christchurch.

For those who haven’t yet experienced it, the Buller Marathon weekend is a great opportunity to get away for two nights in Westport where you’re guaranteed a well-organised, scenic run, a warm welcome from the locals, and a good social time with fellow club members.  And the weather is almost always fine too despite the sometimes gloomy forecast!

Name Class Class place Overall place Time
Half marathon
Clare Sunde F2034 7 79 1:38:02
Tui Wagstaff F3544 27 294 1:54:00
Joanna Frampton F4554 42 547 2:11:18
Jenny Hoffmann F5564 5 282 1:53:14
Janice Gregory F6599 1 300 1:54:23
Campbell Letts M2039 30 75 1:37:02
Craig Burke M4049 46 293 1:53:59
Carl Tinker M4049 76 213 1:49:28
Grant Morris M4049 59 382 2:00:40
Terry Churchill M5059 13 138 1:44:53
Richard van Wynbergen M5059 26 268 1:52:42
Warren Gregory M6069 10 233 1:50:32
David Gillon M6069 11 234 1:50:32
Neville Ross M6069 19 309 1:54:51
Rainer Hoffmann M6069 43 880 2:55:44
Chris Littlewood M7079 1 267 1:52:38
Full marathon
Julie Scofield F3544 15 131 4:36:29
Jayden Anker M2039 3 4 2:51:24
Gary Rowe M4049 20 75 4:05:03
Rob Loveridge M4049 5 12 3:01:52
Kevin Willis M5059 11 91 4:16:45
Relay Team: The Cobblers Mixed Team
Kay Bayliss 35 77 5:46:14
Maureen Heffernan
Warren Bayliss
Ruth Littlewood

Full results are available here

Bell Hill Challenge 29 October 2016

Report by Julie Scofield 

I was quite excited to be competing in the Bell Hill Challenge as other club members had given it glowing reports. I knew the climb was steep, but then I heard you had to hold the fence in parts to get up!! Oh… too late, I’d already entered!! 

There was a lot of rain the night before the event so I had my jacket, hat and gloves packed just in case it hadn’t cleared… both Kevin and myself made our way to Neville’s house for a 7.45 am departure. Everyone was in good spirits and we made our way to the event. On approaching we could see a Hill (well more of a mountain) in the distance with snow on it… Neville told us that was Bell Hill, my response was “are you serious?!?” 

We made our way to the car park and got ourselves sorted and collected our race numbers, then spent the remaining time trying to stay warm. The rain had stopped but it was really cold, luckily there was no wind.

Then we had the race briefing giving us details of the run as well as risks and warnings… as another competitor said “it just gets better and better” which gave us all a laugh. At this stage all I’m thinking is I hope the fence which is meant to help me get up the hill isn’t the one which is electrified!!

The race started pretty much right on time at 10 am… we all set out and it was all good, then we come across a huge muddy patch which couldn’t be avoided… oh well, there goes my nice dry socks! I started to run up the hill but this didn’t last long and I thought a fast walk would be more productive- it turned out to be more of a slow plod as I tried to stop myself from slipping and rolling back down to the bottom. Not sure what the people behind me were thinking; let’s just say I never looked back..

I eventually made it to the top with Kevin not far behind me so I kept going thinking he’d catch me up on the downhill (it was slippery and given my track record of falling over I was taking no risks)… I didn’t see Kevin again, turns out he decided to take some photos at the top. There wasn’t really anyone around me by that stage so I was wondering if I was even on the right track, luckily not long after some other competitors came whizzing past – whew!!

I made my way carefully around the course, going over and though fences and over fallen trees which added to the experience. The sun came out at some stage so it did warm up throughout the event…. running through the forest tracks was really nice and I was enjoying it.

Finally I could see the end, it got a bit windy during the last km or 2 and I had to chase my marathon clinic cap!! I got to the finish, met by Neville and Kevin… wait!!! how did that happen? I didn’t see Kevin pass me… it seems some competitors were given the wrong directions by a marshall and possibly did the walkers shorter distance and other runners did the extra loop back to front so I’m not sure how accurate the results are… my watch measured 18.8 km so I think I was on the right track. Next year they are going to have more marshalls to make it a little less confusing.

We then had lunch of a sausage sizzle and coffee and then headed into the farm shed for prize giving – good choice as not long after we made our way inside there was rain and hail which stopped just before we headed out to make our way home. 

It was a awesome day out with great company and a run I would definitely recommend doing if you haven’t already. 

For reports before October 2016 please go to Event Reports 2015/16 page





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