63-year-old shines in annual Naseby race

Alison Barbara
Alison Barbara
Perhaps the loudest applause at the Great Naseby Water Race prizegiving yesterday was for one of the oldest competitors.

Alison Barbara (63) was not only the oldest to compete in the longest of the event's ultra marathons, the 200km race, she also won the women's section and was second overall.

The only one to finish ahead of her was Glenn Sutton, of Dunedin, who earlier this year competed in Death Valley in the United States in a 135-mile (217km) run. His time over Friday and Saturday was 26 hours and 35 minutes.

Barbara, who had been competing in ultra marathons for five years, finished in 31 hours and 39 minutes.

The race started at 8am on Friday morning and ran through the following night. There was "lots of carnage", as organiser Jamie Sinclair put in, and several runners were forced to withdraw. One reached 190km before she could go no further. Only three men and three women finished.

Barbara, who is manager of the Dunedin North Medical Centre, was thrilled with her efforts and quipped that she and others at the practice were modelling healthy lifestyles.

One of the centre's doctors, Craig Pelvin, was third in the men's 100km.

"They are starting to join me in my madness," Barbara said.

The event drew about 175 competitors across the 200km, 160km (100 miles, known as the Miler), 100km, 80km, 50km and 60km two-person team's race.

One long-standing record was broken, by Jason Palmer, of Balclutha, in the 50km race. His time was 3 hours 39 minutes.

The most sustained applause at the prizegiving went to Mr Sinclair and fellow organiser Aileen Sinclair. They founded the event and have been running it for 13 years.

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