Recreating 1971's 100x1 mile world record relay at the Lovelock Track - a dawn to dusk celebration of Arch, of Owairaka Athletics & of running.
The red dawn sky in Aotearoa is considered an auspicious start to the day. A small crowd gathered at the start/finish line just before 7am, Jon Turner welcomed the dawn - "E hī ake ana te atākura" - with a karakia and moments later the 100 x 1 mile relay (2022 edition) was under way.
The inspiration for the relay was the world record breaking 100 x 1 mile relay organised by Arch Jelley back in 1971. Arch celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday - it seemed apt to celebrate 100 with another 100. The event was many months in the planning - kudos to Nick Moore for hatching the plan, seeing it through and wrangling the runners and schedule to make it all work on the day. And to the hard-working club committee for jumping in, taking on roles and running with it. Inspired!
Simon Mace kicked things off with a brisk 4:51.65 - the 3rd fastest time by a club member all day. Second fastest was Wim Luijpers, running late morning in Owai colours for the first time and clocking in with 4:50.76. Wim looked set to win the Joe Giles Cup for fastest club member, right up until lap 100, run by Nick Moore. Others might be a bit tired by the end of the day - he'd been on duty since 6am - but not Nick! He ran the final lap just after 6pm, in 4:48.53 - fastest time by a club member on the day. It was an exciting, nail-biting finale to a wonderful day!
Jack Paine, leading a quartet of quick young Pakuranga athletes, ran the fastest mile overall, in 4:26:81. The fastest woman was club member Bella Earl who ran 5:15.40.
You can see the full results, mile-by-mile, here ⬇️
Arch himself led a crowd of friends, legends and well-wishers for the 24th leg of the relay. Sun shining, baton in hand, number pinned on his shirt, Arch strode with a smile. What a joyous sight! So many friends, runners and well-wishers, celebrating 100 years well-lived, on the track.
Ray Puckett, Jeff Julian, Dave Sirl, Chris Pilone, John Robinson, Heather Matthews, Glenys Kroon, Christine Pfitzinger, Arthur’s sons Roy and Gary Lydiard, Dave Goss, Millie Sampson, Fred Smith, son Martin and daughter Sue, Larry Wiechern, Peter Moy and Pat Munro were among Arch's crew on the 24th mile.
Arch passed the baton to grandson Stephen Jelley for mile 25, followed by Christine Pfitzinger, Suzanne Stolberger and Christine Munro running 26/27/28, who were all coached by Arch at Owairaka to national and international success.
There was cake, too, a few speeches (fact checked on the spot by Arch), a chance to look at old photos and dust off the old kit ("gets smaller every year" said a few).
Photos: Simon Aspden & Kate Doherty
Throughout the day, old connections were remembered and new ones made. Families ran together, some raced, and some ran for the joy of it. Our youngest runner was just 5 years old. The bake sale recalled the legendary Owai afternoon teas of times past. It was wonderful day to be part of, and an absolute pleasure to host Arch and so many others at the club. Thanks to those who came, ran, reminisced, baked, timed, counted, sausage sizzled, helped, organised, laughed, cheered and so many other things with us.
A special thank you to all our committee and incredible community who contributed to making the day work, including: Julie Collard, Winona Lee, Natalie Burrows, Sarah Yallop (officiating and timing), Bazyl Piotrowski and Jon Turner (set up, registrations and trouble-shooting throughout the day), Kuldeep Singh (the fixer, shopping, sorting batons and organising the barbecue), Blair Muschamp, Charlie Li (barbecue), Rachael Monkhouse (a powerhouse in event planning and promotion), Kate Doherty (tireless work on comms, promotion, oversight, and a lot of officiating), Tim Morrison (for keeping everything on track), Tony Plowman and his wife (for baking the birthday cake and sorting lots of stuff), Dion O'Neale (DJ and a whole lot more), Pat Munro, Natasha Muschamp, Toni Munro, Kathy Anderson (crack team on the bake sale), Pete Kenny (for setting up timing on the day and lots of support with accounts).
Go Team Owai!