Logout

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
11.2 C
Masterton

ADVERTISE WITH US

My Account

- Advertisement -

Octogenarian Wallis marks 70 years on the run

ATHLETICS

The year is 1953, and Ray Wallis, 13, runs the race of his young life as his Kiatere Harriers team win the Colts team title at the Anderson Rally in Dannevirke.

Fast forward 70 years and the sprightly Wallis lines up to tackle the event, which he said he hasn’t missed competing in each year, apart from when the race was in hiatus.

The first Anderson Rally was held in 1934 and then annually, except for the World War II years, until the Dannevirke Harriers Club went into recess. In its heyday, Olympians and New Zealand international runners competed with the race boasting fields of up to 700 athletes.

The Feilding Moa and Napier Harrier Clubs agreed to jointly revive the event last year, attracting about 150 athletes from the lower North Island.

Originally, the race started and finished on Dannevirke’s High St and comprised about a third on the road and the rest cross-country, but now, it is completely off-road.

Wallis’ days of running are in the past, and he planned to walk the race, made up of four 2.5km laps. However, Saturday’s race conditions, which were among the worst he had experienced, forced him to pull out after the first lap.

“It has always been tough, with a couple of deep creek crossings and slippery tracks,” he said.

“It was pouring with rain, absolutely bucketing down, and at one stage, you had to go down about 800m of a clay farm track, and you just couldn’t stand up unless you had spikes on. I didn’t have spikes on, so I decided discretion was the best side of valour.”

Wallis wasn’t lacking for support with his family there for the race, and his son, Glen, who was also part of a winning Colts team in the 1970s, finished sixth in the men’s 50-59 7km race.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
Trending
Masterton
moderate rain
11.2 ° C
11.2 °
11.2 °
98 %
4.3kmh
100 %
Tue
12 °
Wed
11 °
Thu
11 °
Fri
11 °
Sat
12 °