Kingston Flyer no match for runner

Runners race the Kingston Flyer during the second Race the Train event. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Runners race the Kingston Flyer during the second Race the Train event. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Defending champion Oska Inkster-Baynes recorded a clear win over both the Kingston Flyer vintage steam train and his closest rival, Daniel Balchin, yesterday.

The 21-year-old Wanaka athlete finished the Race the Train 12km in 38min 9sec, well ahead of the train's time of nearly an hour.

Despite the sizable lead, Insker-Baynes said this year was a lot tougher because of the faster competitors.

An achilles tendon injury four months ago meant the week immediately before Race the Train event was his first ''100km week in a long time''.

Having matched Inkster-Baynes for 8km of the race, second placegetter Daniel Balchin, originally from Dunedin, said finishing within a minute of Inkster-Baynes

was ''not too bad''as he had raced the Lovelock Mile in Timaru on Saturday, where he also finished second - by 0.06 seconds.

His legs were ''feeling it today'' but he just ''could not resist'' giving Inkster-Baynes a bit of competition and running the unusual race.

With clear skies and the mercury in the mid-20s, Balchin said it was ''pretty hot out there''. Thijs Hubber was third man home.

Olympic triathlete Nicky Samuels (Wanaka) surprised herself when she won the women's ' 12km race, coming home ahead of Joanne Saxton and Renee Saxton.

The race featured a 5km and 12km division in which competitors raced parallel to the train in a bid to beat the locomotive.

Organiser Adrian Bailey, of Active QT, said about 300 competitors raced, down a little on the inaugural race last year due to the Kingston Flyer being out of action for almost a month.

Inspiration for the event was drawn from the original Race the Train in Wales, Mr Bailey's home country, and he expects the race to grow in popularity.