As the rain stayed away the runners turned up, with 254 competitors taking part in the Wanganui Harriers' annual Marton to Wanganui Relay on Saturday.

Harrier clubs from Trentham, Napier, Feilding and Hutt Valley were among the various club and social group teams who undertook the 66.37km trek from Marton Park back to the city via the Turakina, Whangaehu and Matarawa Valleys.

Harriers spokesman Bill Charnock said ultimately 16 runners and walkers pushed themselves to complete the entire distance single-handed.

The fastest was Nelson's Billy McDougall, the sole South Island entry, who reached the Wanganui East Club in 5h 21m 10s.


Wanganui's Brent Harris was in second place, about 20 minutes behind, while Stratford's Mark Caskey came in third place a further 40 minutes back.

The first woman home was Wellington's Vivienne Cheng, who completed the distance in 7h 5m 24s.

There were five teams in the two-person category, four of them walkers, so runners Deb Arnold and Dave Walters from Feilding Moa Harriers were first home in 5h 58m 50s.

The various teams from The Neva Beans finished in the next three spots, with an eight minute split between them after the nine-hour mark.

Another category was the composite class, were teams split the 10 sections into walking and running legs.

Fastest through this year were the Bush Harriers from Pahiatua, who finished in 6h 29m 14s, while 26 minutes behind them were the Stratford Runners & Walkers Club, and third went to I've been Thinking, another 23 minutes back.

The closest finish of the day was in the walkers event where Davy's Foxy Fillies from Taranaki held off the fast-finishing Al's Mob from Manawatu, with the 7h 28m 12s time being enough to take the title by 1m 03s.

Another Manawatu Striders team, Beauties and the Beasts, were third.


The biggest section is the team's running race, with an impressive 25 groups leaving last at 9.30am from Marton Park.

Fastest combination was the Rabbits from the Trentham Harriers, who took just 4h 10m 1s to cover the 66.37km and be the next full-distance entry to arrive at Wanganui East after McDougall, who started at 7am.

Second place in the team's went to O for Oarsome from the Napier Harriers, 15 minutes behind, while the local Wanganui Harriers rounded out the podium when their final runner arrived 22 minutes later.

After trialling the concept among club members last year, the Wanganui Harriers included a formal Youth Team Relay, which covered the shorter 26.75km distance, starting from Okirae.

Four teams entered this event, and the winners were the Hutt Valley team, who finished in 1h 41m 57s.

The Wanganui Harrier Club A team were runners-up seven minutes behind with Rangitikei College filling third spot.

Charnock said this part of the event will grow next year, given more teams indicated they wanted to take part but could not make it in 2014 due to other commitments.

He said feedback at the prize giving was very good and interested parties should keep September 12-13 weekend free next year.