Gamble Pharmacy made it a clean sweep of victories in the three-leg Investec Night Relay series which came to an exciting climax in Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday.
The local five-man team dominated the racing throughout the 2013 season, which took runners and walkers on a picturesque 21km course around Port Elizabeth‘s North End Lake during the months of March April and May.
With Uitenhage-born Olympic marathon runner Lusapho April setting the pace, the overall win was no gamble for the team that managed to break the course record twice during the series.
Although April did not join his all-conquering team at the final race due to other commitments, his team-mates still made it to the finish line first in a time of 1 hour 5 minutes and 20 seconds to become the undefeated champions of the series.
Gamble team manager Antonio Seconds said his team were ecstatic after the win. “The weather conditions were excellent and everything fell into place.”
He said they had been participating in the series from the start three years ago and planned on returning to defend their title.
In the category for walkers, the Rawston family also took their third win on the trot in a time of 1 hour 27 minutes.
“It was wonderful to win. This was our first series, so we didn’t know what to expect. As we went along, the competition became hotter and hotter,” said Rose Rawstron.
Her husband Phil and daughter Tammy made up the rest of the undefeated three-man team.
She added that the competition was well organised and provided a great platform for networking.
“It was great to go out on a high,” said Investec Specialist Bank regional manager Cumesh Moodliar.
“Not only did we have our biggest field of the series, we also had lots of queries about next year’s races.
“It’s great to see the PE business community out in such festive spirits – and even better that the benefits spill over to urban renewal.”
Event organiser Mike Zoetmulder of Zports said he was very pleased with this season’s turnout and was already planning for next year’s series.
More than 140 teams had laced up their running shoes for the final race, he said. “As the winter drew closer, we saw more people joining us.
“We doubled our entries during the last race. We even had 13 late entries on the night, which is unheard of.”
He said the vibe had been fantastic throughout and gave participants an opportunity to socialise.
“The event also highlighted some of the beautiful assets Port Elizabeth has to offer. Many people don’t even know we have a gorgeous lake in North End.”
Zoetmulder said the level of competition had increased over the past three years.
“We are definitely back for a fourth year next year. Investec have pledged their support for three years.”
He said the event was designed to provide a fun team building and networking experience for businesses and organisations and, with each lap measuring a mere 4.2km, it opened the door for less serious athletes to take part.
Lucky draws, live entertainment, food stalls and a beer garden complete the offering for participants.
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