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Record holder does the double

Friday 1 October 2010 | Published in Regional

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Greg Gustafson won the Nutter’s Coast to Coast Run on Wednesday night in a time of 54 minutes. Gustafson is a double winner after taking out the Round Raro Road Race on Saturday. He still retains the 45.19 record for the Nutter’s Run which he set 12 years ago.

Gustafson, 55, said that his current level of fitness is due to the running and triathlon training which goes on on Rarotonga.

“I think this island has the largest amount of triathlon and running training per capita in the world,” he said. “The events they put on are incredible and so well attended.”

Gustafson confessed to taking a bit of a tumble on the downhill dash. “I think I gained a bit too much speed on the downhill. My foot slid under a root and I did a cartwheel.”

It certainly didn’t do his time any harm, even if he picked up a few bruises.

Gustafson lead from the outset and was closely tailed the whole way by second place getter Dexter Hayward, who finished less than a minute behind.

A visitor from England, Hayward got third in the Round Raro after leading for the first 20km. He is on a trip around the world and is hoping to hit a major race in every country. So far, Hayward has competed in a marathon in Alaska and America and ran for 19 hours in a 125km triple marathon in Canada.

First local home and third place went to Rhys Woodger, who’s intensive training with partner Vanessa Palmer has certainly paid off. Woodger looked comfortable and composed even as he reached highest point on the trail at the intersection to the Needle.

Harriette Carr from Wellington, New Zealand, was the first woman home, making it back in just a few seconds past the hour.

Many commented on the improvements to the track made in the clean up by Air New Zealand’s Green Team, who worked to clear the path and improve signage in June.

“The track is wider and clearer now and it’s easier to see where you are going,” said Gustafson. “It’s so much better than it was last year.” He vowed to be back next year to defend his title.

Len Polyononamous Edwards of Hash House Harriers said that the 47-person field was close to a record number.