The longest and toughest race in the Masterton Harriers' summer series was held last weekend with 58 runners and walkers contesting the event.
The course at Rangitimau was a true test of stamina with the senior athletes competing over 16km, the first part of which involved tracks and farmland before they confronted a 10km climb. And then it was on to a less testing sealed road and back to the start-finish at the Rangitimau Hall.
The weather was relatively cool when the walkers set off at 8am but it warmed up considerably for the runners with only the occasional shade and breeze providing respite.
Fastest time in the A grade race was returned by Andrew Davenport, who finished in 1hr 2min 52s. He had one minute to spare from Ben Winder, with Graeme Butcher in third place. Davenport also took first place on handicap and moved into the overall lead on handicap points.
There was a similar situation in the B grade where Lesley Graham was first home by two minutes from Sue Bankier and also took the handicap honours.
Graham now heads the overall points list, too. Her time of 1hr 16min 18s was the best for a female on the day.
William Blake won the C grade event (and handicap) in 1hr 28min 26s and Jim Barr likewise in the D grade with a time of 1hr 36min 22s. First walker home was Brenda Farley in 1hr 56min 29s.
The junior and midget grades competed over 4km and 2km with Chris Blake the fastest junior and Carlos McRae calling the tune among the younger brigade.
Finally, special mention must be made of D grade runner and life member Graeme Roberts who valiantly and determinedly kept going and completed the longer journey in 2hr 50min 49s.
A grade, Fastest time: Andrew Davenport 1hr 2min 52s. Handicap winner: Andrew Davenport. Overall handicap points: Andrew Davenport.
B grade, Fastest time: Lesley Graham 1hr 16min 18s. Handicap winner: Lesley Graham. Overall handicap points: Lesley Graham.
C grade, Fastest time: William Blake 1hr 28min 26s. Handicap winner: William Blake. Overall handicap points: Annie Hawkes.
D grade, Fastest time: Jim Barr 1hr 36min 22s. Handicap winner: Jim Barr. Overall handicap points: Claudia Baechie.
Walkers, Fastest time: Brenda Farley 1hr 56min 29s. Handicap winner: Hugh Rockell. Overall handicap points: Cath Wedderburn.
Juniors, Fastest time: Chris Blake 20min 13s. Handicap winner: Robert Spote. Overall handicap points: Chris Blake.
Midget grade, Fastest time: Carlos McRae 9min 36s. Handicap winner: Joel McRae. Overall handicap points: Joel McRae.
The ninth and final race in the series is on Sunday, February 24, starting from the clubrooms at the Colin Pugh Sports Bowl in Masterton. Seniors will compete over 10km.