“After a minor glitch on Friday at the Hamilton airport, we arrived safely in Christchurch about 5 hours after our original arrival time, with a bonus stop at the Auckland airport. Christchurch was cold, really cold! Emily and I went for a run when we arrived at our accommodation, and about 2mins into the run I had to turn back to get my puffer jacket, complete with fluffy hood to get through the run without freezing to death.
Saturday morning brought beautiful blue skies and light winds, perfect conditions I thought! The race was held at Halswell Quarry, I had never been there before. The course was 4x2km loops totaling 8km for the Senior Women’s race I was to be competing in. My main rivals I thought would be Annie Keown and Rachel Kingsford, and I was right, wow did they put up a fight! In my mind I imagined a lovely grass course, hard underfoot, maybe one or two tiny jumps and some slight undulations. This picture was all wrong! The course was muddy, really muddy. I feel like I was running in a farm paddock with no end in sight. Each loop I ran I would look for a smoother path, one less dug up than the lap before, only never to prevail. For the first 5km it was neck and neck, Rachel, Annie and I. No one was backing down, each wanted the title as badly. Annie dropped back with just under 2km remaining, still no salvation for me, Rachel was in good condition, I was not. With one last acceleration I managed to pull clear with about 1km to run, I pushed hard trying to break free as I knew the sprint finish was not a sure option for me, it was uphill and muddy-I, a track runner couldn’t guarantee a fast finish in these conditions. So happy to finally reach the finish line in first place! My first National Cross Country Title. I was proud of myself, and utterly exhausted. The other Waikato women ran so well, with Emily Roughan finishing in 4th place and Sally Gibbs in 5th, after winning the Masters race earlier in the day.
It was great to see fellow Hawks athletes competing too. Isiaah and Jacob Priddy and Harry Ewing all running extremely well and medaling in their age groups. John Crane winning his age group and Kent just missing out on a medal in his category! (Yes, both Kent and John ran faster than me over the course, another win for you both). Emily ran her best race of the season in the toughest of conditions and Tim Stewart ran a solid race against a very tough field in the Senior Men 12km race. Well done to any hawks members I have missed.
Finally, I would like to thank the Hawks club for helping to fund our athletes to this meet. Without the help of your contribution I wouldn’t have been able to make it down there. Next up road season! Looking forward to having Nationals in our back door step this year”.
Event report by Camille Buscomb