Fast Times In Paekakariki Races

Highlights from this year’s race would be Wellington Harrier’s Gabby O’Rourke slicing 3’13” off the Women’s record in the 10.9km Don Melrose Memorial race. Slick time as well from Stefan Przychodzko in the 5.45km race.  Race organizer, Bryn Kempthorne

 Good numbers for the  Don Melrose  races

 By Roger Childs

Paekakariki racesSoutherly winds and drizzle on Sunday 9 February didn’t deter 97 competitors in the annual Paekakariki Road Races organised by the Kapiti Running and Tri Club.

The races honour the memory of the late Don Melrose, a long time resident of the village and a founding member of the Kapiti Harrier Club. Two of Don’s sons, Craig and Grant, competed.

The varied course covered a 5.45km loop of undulating roads and tracks and included the Parade, parts of Wellington and Tilley Roads and a section of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Excellent times despite the weather!

Gabrielle O'Rourke and Mitchell Rutter, trophy winners
Gabrielle O’Rourke and Mitchell Rutter, trophy winners

The feature races for men and women, over 10.9km, were for the Don Melrose Memorial Trophies. $100 was up for grabs if the winner could beat the existing record. The men’s race was won by Otaki teenager, Mitchell Rutter, who was close to picking up the cheque being only 20 seconds outside Tim Stewart’s record.

In the women’s race 47 year old Wellington legend, Gabrielle O’Rourke, beat the record finishing in 41.19. Early in the first lap she was trailed closely by well known local star Jo Johansen, but O’Rourke pulled away in the Queen Elizabeth park loop to win by 41 seconds.

In the three lap 16.45km race Paul Sharp was a comfortable winner in 62.43, heading off local fitness expert, Andrew Smith,who recorded 65.41. Local teenagers dominated the short 5.45km dash with Stefan Przychodzko and Naomi Dyer easy winners in 19.24 and 25.11 respectively.

Bart Henderson won the 10.9km walk in 63.08 and Mary Hadfield (pictured alongside on the left) Mary Hwas first woman home in 83.49. In the one lap walk sisters Olivia and Jill Mazey dead-heated for first in 51.53.


After match function: race analysis, feasting and prizes

IMGP2125After the race runners, walkers and supporters enjoyed a lavish morning tea at the Paekakariki Memorial Hall. This was followed by the prize giving and Dawn Melrose presented the 10.9km memorial trophies named after her late husband.

The spot prize draw included two Stirling Sports $200 New Balance shoe vouchers, two pairs of fancy Tifosi optics sunglasses, as well as Fisherman’s Table vouchers. One of the pairs of glasses was won by well known Paekakariki walker, David Humfrey.


(Photographs by Bryn Kempthorme)