Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Big Wilco Relay 2012

Douglas Patterson of Island Property, poses with his champions of the Premier Male 2012.
For release: To run something as BIG as a Relay around Efate you need a BIG Sponsor with a BIG amount of staff to make it successful.  Wilco was that sponsor and they were very happy to put on Event for the local community who are their most valued customers.
The man is charge at Wilco was Troy Harris who had just spent tireless hours working on the Kiwanis Race day had no time to breath before launching into the relay.  This was the third time that Wilco had put on the event and each time Troy looked at ways to improve it.  This year as much as possible he decided to rely on the Wilco Staff to act as Bus Officials and on the Checkpoints out on the course.  And the Wilco staff put in a BIG effort, some of them up as early as 2:00am picking up other staff and having them at Wilco for 4:00am.  Out on the course it rained several times, but they were not deterred, they kept performing their tasks to make sure that all the runners recoded a time and that Relay was safe and fair for everyone.  Out there with them was the staff from Event Logic the Race Organiser working together.
The BIGGEST effort of the day was from Joe Blake who ran the entire race himself in a very respectable 11:43 minutes and by himself came 20th of 30 teams who went around the island.  Joe was born on Iririki Island and is the brother of well know Gary Blake from Ridgeway Blake.  When Joe crossed the finish line, Paradise FM was there to interview him and Joe obliged not even out of breath after his herculean effort.
The BIG winners for the day were Island Property once again taking the Pierre Paul cup that they won in 2010 named in honour of their fallen team mate who was tragically killed training for the relay in 2010.  Island Property did the race in 8Hrs and 23 minutes, closely followed by Namalamal in 8hrs and 24 minutes and Iakuei in 8hrs, 25 minutes.
Not to be out done the other BIG winners were, Tradebase Girls for the Premier Female event in 11hrs and 16 minutes followed by Isangel Girls in 11hrs and 35 minutes, and Prouds Roadrunners 1 in 11hrs and 37 minutes.  The Iakuei Mixed team in 9hrs and 10 minutes blitzed the opposition coming in over an hour ahead of second placed Bred Bank NAFE in 10 hrs and 14 minutes, third was Ecole Centreville in 10hrs and 17 minutes.  First for the Social Category was Tusker Hash Harriers in 11hrs and 36 minutes, followed by Team Tequila in 12hrs 37 minutes and Roadrunners 2 in 13hrs and 14 minutes.
A BIG feature of the Wilco Relay that was introduced when Wilco took over the event was the introduction of the Schools Category which is FREE to all schools with the winning teams receiving Wilco vouchers for school improvements.  The 2012 Winners were Suango in 42 minutes and 30 seconds, Vila North in 42 minutes and 50 seconds and Ecole Centreville in 43 minutes.  The ten runners from the schools run the last leg of 12km from Shark Bay to Wilco between them, getting let go as the first runners passes that checkpoint.
Wilco would also like to say a BIG thank you to the International teams that came over for the Event.  There were two teams from the Jump Start Foundation who also sponsored the Isangel girls to come up from Tanna and The Pluggers.
There was also a BIG BIG effort from some cyclist and motorcyclist who followed the winning teams right around the island.  A BIG thank you to them for their efforts and volunteering their time.
One of the BIG differences this year was the support of the Police who were out there in force to try and maintain order for the many vehicles who travel around the Island to support teams.  The Police quickly arrested a drunk driver who struck one of the runners from Australia.  They reported that he was in jail at the same time as the runners was in hospital.  Thankfully the runner is recovering from a deep flesh wound and there was nothing broken.
It is also worth mentioning that Team Health ran the race for fun and were right up there with the winning teams.  Some of Team Health were a part of a team that declined to run one section of the race where a World Record run was recorded in the section from Dry Creek to Rentapau where the runners would’ve had to run at over 21 km/h.  Given the choice of any of their runners rerunning that section or being awarded the prize money and receiving a life ban, they choose the later.  The vast majority of the team were out there on Saturday saying they were doing it for fun and to prove themselves.
Wilco and Event Logic would like to say a BIG thank you to all those involved and look forward to BIGGER and better things in 2013.