Ascension : ‘SERCOLOIDS’ TAKE RELAY FIRST
Submitted by The Islander (Gavin Yon) 07.07.2005 (Article Archived on 21.07.2005)
Amongst other activities, celebrations for the opening for the First National Park on Ascension Island involved the run of the Island Dew Pond race, which was open to individuals and 6 person relay teams.
Amongst other activities, celebrations for the opening for the First National Park on Ascension Island involved the run of the Island Dew Pond race, which was open to individuals and 6 person relay teams. Serco Defence and Aerospace, who sponsored the event in 2004, were up for the challenge and entered a relay team with the runner of the first leg running on to compete in the individual race.
At 8 AM, after a short team bonding session and the obligatory photograph everyone was ready for the ‘off’. Serco athlete, Jim Reed wet his hands in the Turtle Ponds, and on the sounding of the horn, he was off like a startled hare. He sped all the way up Cross Hill to the first changeover at Needles Tank. His solid run gave the team the lead and inspired Dave McGhie to set off at a courageous pace. He ran his heart out ascending rapidly to God be Thanked Tank, where he handed over to one of the 2 Firemen in the team, Mark Harvie. We were still in the lead but the rest of the field were after us, especially the Scout teams. Mark had a tough leg up the steep hill into Two Boats village and on to the base of the mountain itself. Tough it may have been, but by the time he handed over to Steve Roulston, he had established a healthy 2-minute lead by the half waypoint. Now came the Ramps! No pain no gain, so Steve thought, as he set off not wanting to be caught. So he pushed himself hard, lungs close to bursting, on up bend after bend to ‘Convalescents’ where Gavin Pare, our other Fireman, was waiting nervously for the baton. As Steve crumpled, gasping for breath, Gavin shot off into the distance (foolhardy me thinks), still in the lead. Of course Gavin slowed, but he ranted and raved at himself urging his little legs to keep going as fast as they could. Now the views from the Ramps are stunning as you all know but I’m afraid neither Steve nor Gavin were able to acknowledge this as their focus (more like too exhausted to bother looking) was 100% on the race and not being the one to loose the lead. Needless to say, Gavin passed the baton and the lead to Mal Moss. There was no way he was going to relinquish the lead; however, after the first 100 meters he got a little bit anxious as his heart and lungs were screaming for him to STOP! He began to think, “Why didn’t I stay in bed”? But after this initial shock to his system he got his second breath and forged his way on up through the Ginger, Elephant grass and finally through the Bamboo. He made his way along the newly constructed boardwalk (easy going for the geriatric), all the way to the summit to dutifully complete the course by Dew Pond. We had completed this gruelling event in a time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 50 seconds. Well done to all, especially Jim who probably sacrificed his personal time in support of the team, but still went on the finish in an excellent time of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 26 seconds.