Christian Leopard followed up his dominant win in last weeks' Hastings Steeplechase with another emphatic performance at Saturday's annual Apley Road Relays. Leopard led off for his Napier Harriers team on the first leg on Dartmoor Road in impressive fashion as he carved 55 sec off the previous best lap time to stop the clock at 18 min 05 sec for the 5.7km leg. The Napier BHS student left the chasing Hastings Harriers and Hawkes Bay Multisport Club teams in his wake, which set the scene for the rest of the event.
Hastings' Neville Smith was 3 min 35 sec adrift at the first changeover, which gave the Napier team a huge advantage for the remaining four legs. Multisport responded on the climb up Apley Road on the 2nd leg with Luke Osborne setting the fastest time of 25 min 24 sec for the 6.7km grind. While Osborne overtook Hastings' Duncan Morrison on the leg, he was unable to make huge gains on Napier's Kristian Day, who was only 9 seconds slower. Any hope that the chasing teams had were cast aside in leg 3 as Lucas Duross chewed up the gnarly Puketitiri Road leg in 16 min 22 sec for the 4.7km. This was 1 min 17 sec quicker than Multisports' Steve Charles meaning Napier had a 6 minute gap going in to the last two legs. James Bell and Bradley Christison firmly shut the gate by setting fastest times over the remaining two legs to clear out for Napier as they rolled home in a combined time of 1 hours 30 min 30 sec for the 26km. Multisports eventually arrived at the Puketapu School finish 10 min 28 sec later with Hastings a further 4 min 13 sec back in 3rd. As dominant as Napier were, they were not quite able to break the course record set by Hastings back in 2008 where a 1 hour 28 min 21 sec round trip has set the standard to aspire to.
The other results were dominated by an impressive performance from the Napier Harriers Womens team, who were only 2 min 42 sec adrift of Hastings in 4th place. The team of Laura Langley, Ruby Muir, Roisin Pearson, Annie Kane and Georgia Creagh came within 3 minutes of the course record. The dominant effort saw the team pick up 4 of the fastest womens times, with only Multipsorts' Amber Morrison breaking the trend in leg 4. The womens result was repeated with Multisports in 2nd & Hastings in 3rd. In total, 16 teams competed over the distance.
In the under-14 event Oliver Marshall continued on his dominant way with a speedy effort of 11 min 59 sec for the 3.3km slog over the course on Puketapu Road. Napier filled all three spots on the podium with Kingston Webb 2nd in 12 min 52 sec and Adam Barron 3rd in 13 min 05 sec. Sophie Hogan was best of the girls in 13 min 55 sec.
Attention now switches to the Queens Birthday Road Handicap Road Race, which commences at 9.00am next Monday on Marine Parade.
Apley Road Relays Results:
Mens Relay – 26km.
1. Napier Harriers (Christian Leopard, Kristian Day, Lucas Duross, James Bell, Bradley Christison) 1 hr 30 min 30 sec.
2. Hawkes Bay Multisports (Michael Whitesmith, Luke Osborne, Steve Charles, Brendon Lodge, Cameron Campbell) 1 hr 40 min 58 sec.
3. Hastings Harriers (Neville Smith, Duncan Morrison, Todd Burnard, Sean Morrison, Todd Douglas) 1 hr 45 min 11 sec.
Fastest Times. Leg 1 – 5.7km Christian Leopard 18.02. Leg 2 – 6.7km. Luke Osborne 25.24. Leg 3 – 4.7km Lucas Duross – 16.22. Leg 4 – 5.6km James Bell 19.49. Leg 5 – 3.3km. Bradley Christison 10.41.
Womens Relay – 26km.
1. Napier Harriers (Laura Langley, Ruby Muir, Roisin Pearson, Annie Kane, Georgia Creagh) 1 hr 47 min 53 sec.
2. Hawkes Bay Multisports (Marie O'Connell, Amber Morrison, Annika Johnson, Hayley Davis, Annika Johnson) 1 hr 54 min 28 sec.
3. Hastings Harriers (Monique Way, Monica Burnard, Greta Porter, Jenna Tidswell, Sinead Darmody) 1 hr 57 min 39 sec.
Fasest Times. Leg 1 – 5.7km Laura Langley 22.45. Leg 2 – 6.7km Ruby Muir 28.51. 3. Leg 3 – 4.7km Roisin Pearson 19.41. Leg 4 - 5.6km Amber Morrison 21.37. Leg 5 – 3.3km Georgia Creagh 13.50.
Under 14 Boys – 3.3km.
1. Oliver Marshall 11 min 59 sec.
2. Kingston Webb 12 min 52 sec.
3. Adam Barron 13 min 05 sec.
Under 14 Girls – 3.3km.
1. Sophie Hogan 13 min 55 sec.
2. Alia Wentz 15 min 05 sec.
3. Briana Herbert 15 min 15 sec.