THE Penang Turf Club are often associated with either horse racing or golf but this is no longer the case as they are now into athletics as well.
This seemed to be the scenario if the 33rd edition of the Round the Island Relay, annually hosted by the Penang Athletics Association (PAAA) and the Penang Sports Council, was to be used as a yard stick.
The challenge, with its running route spanning a distance of 72.2km, took its more than 400 participants through the island’s scenic and interesting areas such as Balik Pulau, Teluk Bahang, Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah and Tanjong Tokong.
The turf club outfit, making a strong bid in the Men’s Open category, were rightly crowned champions when they clocked the fastest time of 4:29.08, which was more than 18 minutes ahead of their closest rivals, the Penang Forward Sports Club ‘A’, who dashed home in 4:47.32.
Pacemakers Malaysia 1 were placed third when they completed their race in a time of 4:45.44.
Penang Forward Sports Club, which were hoping to make amends in the Veteran’s category, after missing out on honours in the Men’s Open, again ended up disappointed.
The Taiping Road Runners team, who clocked in the fastest time of 5:03.06, were crowned as the Men’s Veteran champs, as Penang Forward Sports Club were again made to play the bridesmaids role for a second time during the recent event.
The club’s ‘D’ outfit were six minutes short of the champs when the runners returned with a time of 5:09.02 while third was Old Two Hiking Team (5:32.56).
The introduction of the Mixed Category, an event which blended in the men and women, proved to be the highlight of this year’s challenge.
PAAA secretary V. Govindasamy said each team in the Mixed category were built around six men and six women, and its introduction was to encourage more women to participate in the annual challenge.
I-Run Waterfall Warriors, started the ball rolling in a very promising fashion, fielding as many as four teams in the new category.
It was no surprise when they dominated the event by making it an I-Run Waterfall Warriors affair, when their representatives in the Metal, Water and Fire teams, all finished in the top three.
The Metal team clocked 5:48.33 to take top spot while the Water team came in second with a time of in 5:53.59 followed by the Fire team (6:17.32).
With a total of six teams featuring in the inaugural challenge, the others being Rubber Burners and Infinity Milers, I-Run Waterfall Warriors’ other team — Earth —ma-naged a fifth placing after returning a time of 6:52.27.