THE Trentham Harriers Rabbits retained their title as the fastest team of the annual Marton to Wanganui Relay on Saturday, with the top three finishers being a repeat of 2014's podium.
Numbers were down a little for the Wanganui Harriers Club event, running in cool but windy conditions from Marton Park through 66.3km up the Turakina, Whangaehu and Matarawa valleys to arrive in town at the Wanganui East Club by early afternoon.
At 7am the first to depart were the walking teams and individuals, along with the slower running teams given permission to go early.
An hour later the individual runners, two-person teams and composite teams left, before the remaining eleven running teams departed at 9.30am.
The Rabbits lived up to their name, being followed home by Napier Harrier Club's Gold team, while the local Wanganui Harriers where in third.
Club spokesman Bill Charnock said the first person home of the solo runners was Inglewood's Des Murray, who was the only individual to break the seven-hour mark this year.
Featherston's Carl Laffan was in second place with Lance Gray from Palmerston North third.
Charnock said special mention had to be made of Feilding's Perry Newburn, the trans-America runner who completed a double run of the course after leaving Wanganui on Friday at 11.30pm.
"On arrival in Marton he had 15 minutes rest and a coffee and began the return journey," said Charnock.
"His time for the return was good enough for fourth fastest individual on the day."
In the two-person race, the winners were Gerry and Wouna Le Roux from Palmerston North, with Feilding Moa Harriers' Dave Walters and Debra Arnold the runners-up while Palmerston's Stephanie Gichrist and Greg Taylor came third.
The walk race proved a trifecta for the Taranaki Races Walkers, with their three teams finishing ahead of the chasing Manawatu Striders and the teams from Wanganui Harriers.
"The composite division was another trifecta, this time for Bush Harrier Club filling the top three places ahead of Levin Harriers and two teams from Stratford," said Charnock.
As well as the main race, there were four junior teams who completed the final six legs of the adult course, covering 26.76km.
The winners were Wanganui Harrier Club's 'Smelly Boys' team, followed by the Hutt Valley Juniors and Wanganui's 'Sporty Chicks' in third.