Records shattered at Peak Trail Blazer

By Grant Harding

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A record number of participants - 630 - lined up in near perfect conditions on Sunday, and the race pace was hot in all categories.

Graham Bee, a Scotsman living in Napier, smashed the course record in the 12km Peak Trail Run to take home the title of 1/4 Acre Wines King of the Peak. His time of 50min 53.46sec for the course from Havelock North Primary to Te Mata Peak and back earned him $400 and other prizes.

Previous record holder and 2010 champion Ross Morrison was second, with well-known runner Ross McIntyre third.

The first seven home entered the Hall of Flames for sub-hour times, although Morrison and McIntyre were among the five 2010 inductees.

Amber Morrison, Ross's sister, was first woman home, sixth overall, and the first-ever woman to break an hour for the gruelling run. She was duly crowned Aesthetic Dental Queen of the Peak, and took home the same prize package as Bee.

Second and third places in both the men's and women's categories received $150 and $50 each.

Lucknow Primary School student Alex Eaglestone continued the record breaking in the 2km Tainui Trail with a time of 15 minutes 56.96 seconds to be crowned Prince of Tainui. Sophie Bassick of Taradale Primary won the Princess of Tainui title.

Race director Jo Throp said the organisers were "blown away" with the increase in entries this year. "Two-hundred extras came along - we're really thrilled at the way the event has taken off," she said. "We think it's got great potential because of the wide variety of participants it attracts.

"The biggest category increase by far was in the 12km Te Mata Peak trail which had double last year's entries."

The introduction of prize money had increased competition at the top end, but had not diminished the event's family-feel, Ms Throp said.

"It was truly exciting to be a part of it and see the top runners come in. And the smiles on the faces of the children participating were brilliant."

Even the weather played ball, other than "a couple of extremely strong freak wind gusts".

A fundraiser for Havelock North Primary, the event also shares 25 per cent of its funds each year.

This year that money would be donated to Kaiapoi Borough School in Christchurch which was affected by the 2010-11 earthquakes.

Peak Trail Run (12km): Male - 1. Graham Bee, 50:53:46; 2.Ross Morrison, 52:13:93; 3. Ross McIntyre, 53:46:97; Female - 1. Amber Morrison, 59:33:69; 2. Renee Holtom, 1:02:20:70; 3. Amy Symonds, 1:04:09:90.

2012 Hall of Flames: Graham Bee, Ross Morrison, Ross McIntyre, Lucas Duross, Jon Clearwater, Amber Morrison, Matt Gummer.

Peak Trail Walk (12km): Male - 1. Bob Anderson, 1:43:47:55; 2. Graeme Fowler, 1:44:51:43; 3. Philip Pearce, 1:48:56:51; Female - 1. Katrina Lukies, 1:57:11:80; 2. Niamh Lee, 1:58:58:47; 3. Christine Lee, 1:59:02:58.

Tainui Trail (2km): Male - 1. Alex Eaglestone, 15:56:96; 2. Ryan Morton, 16:19:56; 3. Chris Cunningham, 16:25:04; Female - 1. Sophie Bassick, 18:17:10; 2. Jubilee Engelke, 18:20:52; 3. Chloe Barton, 20:07:93.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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