Not only did he take out the overall 31km round Raro race in a cracking time of 2 hour and 46 seconds, but also won his men’s 40 to 49 age category trophy.
After crossing the line and receiving his pearl shell finisher’s medal and island ‘ei, he said, “I’m glad that’s done, it was pretty hot out there!”
It was an eyebrow-raising comment, considering the overcast and wet conditions for the 42nd running of the road race.
He was followed across the line just over 5 minutes later (2.05.37) by Kiwi runner Brendon John Thompson and hot on his heels was Lisa Cross, third overall and first open women’s runner home in a blistering time of 2.05.55 for her 4th round Raro title.
“This is my 4th race and every time I’ve entered I’ve won!” she said.
But it was 4th across the line Robert Tang of New Zealand who was the talk of the top runners.
Tang shot off the early morning start line and led a blistering pace around the island.
“About the 3km point of the race I looked up and could barely see the lead police bike ahead of me,” says Steve Isles.
“That’s how fast he was going and ahead of me.”
However in the last 5km of the course the impacts of a speedy start kicked in for Tang.
“Just before the 28km mark he hit the wall,” recalls Isles.
It was at this point that Isles took the lead as Tang fell back in the top order to cross 4th overall.
The top two men were quick to welcome Tang home across the line after seeing their comrade suffering cramps after an epic lead.
The wet conditions certainly made for slippery conditions on the road however runners and walkers didn’t let this dampen their enthusiasm.
Gold medallist wins 10km
Golden boy of the Cook Islands tracks Alex Beddoes was the fastest of the lot clocking in a race time of 37:06 minutes to take out the title.
Veteran runner Greg Gustafson crossed just under 5 minutes behind the young Beddoes to take out second overall and first in his 60-to-69 year age grade.
Harriet Browning was the fastest of the ladies finishing 3rd overall and first female home in a time of 42:27 minutes.
Also of note in the race were the group of Walking Samoans from Porirua who were thrilled to be part of the Raro event to share their message of walking for healthier communities.
Round Raro race runners, walkers and supporters now look forward to a week of running events including today’s Hash House Harriers birthday run, the round Raro relay and the highly anticipated Nutters cross island run.