Great Naseby Water Race 2014

Ben A on his way to winning the 100km

Ben Aynsley on his way to winning the 100km

The Great Naseby Water Race (GNWR) held its 8th edition over the weekend. The 2007 event saw 9 starters in the 80k and 5 in the 50k. Helen Chignall has now run at all 8 events and another 4 of us were still turning up for a trot on Friday and Saturday. The event has grown in that time both in the numbers (now around 160) and in the events on offer (5 different lengths) but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the family and community feel of the event. It always has and I hope it always continues to be an event that is so much more than the runners themselves.

Aileen has finally managed to relinquish some of her lap scoring duties particularly for the overnight stint. They were taken up by volunteers who have often been competitors at this and other events. Ron McLeay-Barnes and his team did a fine job with the aid station. Ron is a stalwart of the event having taken part for many years in the relay and providing support for Jamie and Aileen. Sadly missing this year were the Koedyk family and hopefully we will see them back next year in their many and varied roles.

Naseby means a lot of different things to different people. For some it is an “A” race, to others it’s a training run, for some it is a lifetime achievement. But I am seeing more and more that Naseby is a gateway drug. Support crews become enthralled with not just theirs, but with all the runners and support networks and relationship develop. From that we see crews step up to the relay or 50k or in some cases they have jumped in the deep end, floundered around a bit and come out with a buckle.

So there were actually a series of races starting on Friday and finishing on Saturday evening. There were some fantastic performances, not just at the front of the field but right throughout the pack. Congratulations to the ladies who started the 50k early and pushed their boundaries. To those whose 100mile plans did not go as they would have hoped but worked hard and dug deep within themselves to ultimately achieve what we all start with intentions to do, and that is finish.


Croydon Patton on his way to a 10hr PB in the GNWR 100mile!

Standout performances came from Becky Nixon in the 100mile, the very well judged 18:15 will not be easy to beat. Ben Aynsley’s 8:48 is the 2nd fastest in what has always been a well contested 100km. The ladies team record has dropped another few notches to 5:44 by Bernadette and Kath Ewer. However I think the one highlight shared by most of us was the 10 hour improvement from Mr Wooden Spoon Croydon Patton. Dropping from 34:30 to 24:21. When I first saw him on Friday afternoon he was running 4th to last and commented that he was going too quick, so those in front were suicidal. He would eventually finish in 16th!!!!!!! and handed the spoon to ever reliable and smiling Norman Chan.

It is always dangerous to have named people and leave others out. For that I am sorry but on behalf of the athletes, I thank all the volunteers, crews and with most heartfelt gratitude, Aileen and Jamie for letting us play.

Post Script:
There is always debate about the course, it’s length and vert. Those on Strava may have noticed there is now a segment: “Great Naseby Water Race 1 Lap”. It is between 10.0-10.1km long and has 150-160m of climb, nearly every watch measure it around that with the occasional watch measuring more.


About Mouth of the South

Matt Bixley has written 24 .

Outspoken and opinionated- which is great cause we never have to guess what is on his mind. “The Mouth of the South” started his love of trail running with a 8hr+ Kepler in 2004. Since then he has run 220+km in 24hr while representing New Zealand and now has 5hr50, top 10 finish to his name. You can follow him HERE on his personal blog

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