Club Road Champs 2019 Results

This years Club Road Champs was held on a private road at 400 Raynes Road.

PlaceNameSurnameGradeGdPlDistNet TimeHouse
5LucieKibblewhiteSW 6kM38:41Tui
1Oscar EmeryMM608Km38:290
14Marc ScottMM50710KM39:11Ruru
PlaceNameSurnameGradeGdPlDistNet TimeHouse
7Kay StockmanMW55+35KM23:37Tui
16Michelle CurnowMW55+55KM29:12Kahu

WaiBOP Road Champs 2019 Results

We got way too many medals to mention everybody but there was some really good pack racing for the lucky, and some solo racing for the ambitious, or unlucky. There were heaps of PBs too.

Sweeney Cup 2019 Results

Events results viewed here

PlaceNameSurnameNet TimeHouseMin/Km
13LucySeymour43:37Non member05:27
17JosiahNey26:51Non member03:21
40SunilFernandez ritchie32:15Kiwi04:02
Fastest Times
PlaceNameSurnameNet TimeHouseMin/Km
1JosiahNey26:51Non member03:21
10SunilFernandez ritchie32:15Kiwi04:02
34LucySeymour43:37Non member05:27

Waikato BOP Cross Country Champs 2019 Results

For those keen on racing at Centre and national level we are getting into the nitty gritty time of the year with the main focus this week being the Waibop XC Camps which Hawks hosted at Tauhara park.

As race director I was a tad nervous, being a new course and venue, and not having Graham’s timing system this year. A bad start was finding out the Council gave us a key that didn’t fit the lock into the venue so some hastily organised extra early help to use pack horses was arranged . Thanks Mike R, Nick F and Garry. Fortunately President Shona was on hand to lead the way with the Webscorer timing we have been using at the Eastside the last couple of seasons with the only problems being as a result of my fat fingers putting the wrong data in on Friday night. Shona and Wendy H did a great job despite the clock being a bit low on brightness. Kirsten also gave a helping hand on course.

Some great running from Hawks had us dominating the field both in numbers and placings with way too many to mention here without boring you all.

WaiBOP site posted results here and here
Lots of photos by Tauranga Ramblers here.
And from Cambridge here.

North Island XC Champs 2019 Results

Good ole’ Taupo XC huh – conditions were perfect and the 18 (apologies if I missed anyone above!) Hawks that rocked on up R.E.P.R.E.S.E.N.T.E.D. Huge congratulations to Bridget for dominating her race and crossing the line first. Ditto to Joseph Morgan especially in claiming the course record! Race of the day had to be the Gentleman’s 50+ category. It was competitive, tight and “business time” from start to finish. Chris, John and Glenn did us proud and had Batman, Shona and I excited running around all over the course cheering them on (i.e. this became the warm-up for my race). I admire you guys so much……although those pain faces really got me nervous for my race. Well done Chris, taking out your age-group win and for edging out Craney ?.  

U14 Boh Ritchie
SW Maria Bentley (3rd), Grace Ritchie
M50-54 Bridget Deverell (1st)

U16 Joseph Morgan (1st – record), Adam Morgan
U18 Ben Bidois (2nd)
U20 William Swales
SM Sunil Fernandez-Ritchie
M50-55 Glenn Sexton (2nd), Michael Peck, Mark Cornaga
M55-59 Chris Smith (1st), John Crane (3rd), Garry Wilson
M60-64 Paul Ritchie, Vaughan Swale
M65-69 Grahame Clarkin

Personally, I’m an XC novice and had reservations about running. I actively avoided XC at school and have ever since! In fact, I remember the Athletics coach drawing me out of history class (way back in 1996) and giving me a right bollocking for failing to participate in the school XC. My excuse, fear avoidance. I was probably recovering from ankle sprain #254 courtesy of netball which was far more important that running was back then. But anyhow, we move on and race experience for road champs in September is required so a run over undulating hills on grass seemed logical?!

As we all know though, XC is brutal. Those little hills that we happily trot over during a long easy run feel like Mt Everest when we try to run fast up them. Lap 1 went well enough (i.e. legs burning but lungs were ok). Lap 2, yeah by this stage I completely doubted any ability I did have to jump the hurdles without face planting and losing my teeth, so I stopped and walked over them instead – much to spectators’ amusement. It cost me time, but I still managed to get on the podium. Happy to take that ?.

Sing Relay 2019 Results

Results from this weeks club event with race report to be posted in the next couple of days.

Chris Smith and Madison Rattray20.05
Marcus Daws and Tanja Miller20.13
Glenn Sexton and Zarah Rattray20.31
Joe Mace and Dave Clark20.39
Bridget Deverell and Iain Rattray20.45
Paul Reynolds and Mak Cornaga21.02
John Crane and Kerry Rattray21.04
Marc Scott and Connie Daws21.05
Dave Gunn and Sue Hunter21.29
Chris Keith and Toshimi Farrell21.37
Les Miller and Nichola McMahon21.38
Shona Dewson and Aimee Ferguson21.55
Sandra Jensen and Paul Ritchie22.05
Lucie Kibblewhite and Charli Miller22.25
Vaughan Swale and Rob Townsend22.40
Sunil Fernandez-Ritchie and Debboe Morris25.33

Club Cross Country Champs 2019 Results

Report by Glenn Sexton

This year Hawks decide to open our champs up to the other clubs in the Centre in an effort to encourage some better racing for our and the other clubs members . The day dawned nice and fine and with Lance leading the team and myself, Jai, Nick Freke helping, getting an early look at the course during the setup. Footing was firm with very little mud, making fast times a possibility.

People started rocking up from  about 1pm and the plan of inviting the other clubs looked to have been a success with visitors from a far as Taupo, Thames and Tauranga travelling along with a great turnout from Cambridge. The kids race had the biggest field we have had for years with 14 starters.

In the main race we had one field with the 3k,5k,6k and 9k all racing together. This format gives everyone a better chance of having someone to race, although once someone turns off early it can be a little lonely for a bit after.

A big thanks to Lance and the setup and take down team who once again did a great job marking the course, Graham of course for his timing services and all the other helpers we had on the day. Running down that hill to the turnaround tree it was also great to see so many supporters cheering us runners on and offering helpful encouragement. Hopefully next year the club  will again open the race up and have another days great racing.

Facebook Images>>

PlaceRaceNoTIMENameSurnameGradeGdPlDistNet TimeHOUSE/Club
470400:31:05michaelsuttonsm49KM31:05TGA Ramblers
670300:33:53reubentomlinsonsm69KM33:53new hawk
765900:35:10pauloverendsm79KM35:10hawk new!
PlaceRaceNoTIMENameSurnameGradeGdPlDistNet TimeHOUSE/Club
1371200:23:13mike causermm4046KM23:13cambridge
2165200:24:16MalcolmSmithMM4096KM24:16TGA Ramblers
2965600:26:42gavinsmithMM60+26KM26:42TGA Ramblers
PlaceRaceNoTIMENameSurnameGradeGdPlDistNet TimeHOUSE/Club
366100:21:51bridgetdeverellmw5015KM21:51hawk new!
671100:23:30maureen leonardmw5035KM23:30kiwi
864100:26:14Wendy FoxMW60+15KM26:14Kiwi
PlaceRaceNoTIMENameSurnameGradeGdPlDistNet TimeHOUSE/Club
193.43Davis Sinclair1KmBU10Camb
2114.02Zac Miller1KmBU10Kiwi
344.46Cory Brew1KmBU10
484.50Amber Rattray1KmGU10Ruru
514.53Jesse Smith1KmBU10Tauranga
6146.18Connor Gibbison1KmBU10Ruru
1107.50Matthew Sinclair2KmBU12Camb
238.10Annabel Chapman2KmGU12Camb
328.17Josh Smith2KmBU12Tauranga
478.32Layton Mace2KmBU10Hawk
5128.40Liam Miller2KmBU12Kahu
659.14Charlie Gibberson2KmBU12Hawk
71310.00Evan Rees-Jones2KmBU12Cambridge
8610.09Thea Mace2KmGU12Hawk

Taitua Arboretum Relay 2019 Results

On Saturday 15 th June we met at the Taitua carpark at the end of Taitua Road.

We selected EVENLY MATCHED TEAMS of three runners each, from the people that attended. This was a standard format relay of one 3km lap of the Arboretum for each runner. It was a perfect day in the Arboretum and most went for a full lap warm-up before teams were picked. This is an interesting and challenging course, twisting through the pebbled pathways of the reserve. After some intense battles in the earlier relay legs, the finishing runners were still battling up the steep switch-back hill to the finish line.

Thanks for the support again this year, with Garth Ritchie, Trish Stockman and Peter Horan taking the times. A very enjoyable event.


1 st Team Liv Theunissen, Paul Reynolds, Iain Rattray 39:05
2 nd Team Kerry Rattray, Ross Barnett, Sunil Fernandez-ritchie 40:24
3 rd Team Sue Hunter, Vaughan Kestle, Les Miller 40:29
4 th Team Stuart Glass, Tanja Miller, Chris Keith 41.01
5 th Team Wendy Fox, Mark Scott, Marc Scott 41:25
6 th Team Graham Clarkin, Sandra Jensen, John Crane 41:30
7 th Team Kay Stockman, Dave Clark, Gemma Horan 42:56
8 th Team Kaye Sharpe, Leon Govender. Kevin Knowles 44:09
9th Team Shona Dewson, Vaughan Swale, Micheal Peck 44:24
10th Team Tanya Podjurski, Maureen Leonard, Paul Ritchie 47:49
11th Team Debbie (long course) Morris, Maddison Rattray, Dave Gunn 50:40

John Crane11:29
Les Miller11:30
Sunil Fernandez-Ritchie11:36
Dave Gunn11:51
Chris Keith12:14
Ross Barnett12:18
Iain Rattray12:24
Marc Scott12:38
Marc Scott12:45 2nd lap
Micheal Peck12:49
Kevin Knowles12:54
Paul Reynolds13:07
Tanja Miller13:10
Liv Theunissen13:34
Gemma Horan13:59
Paul Ritchie14:08
Dave Clark14:18
Maureen Leonard14:19
Sandra Jensen14:19
Vaughan Kestle14:27
Sue Hunter14:32
Madison Rattray14:37
Kay Stockman14:39
Vaughan Swale14:48
Leon Govender14:54
Stuart Glass15:37
Graham Clarkin15:42
Wendy Fox16:02
Kaye Sharpe16:21
Kerry Rattray 16:30
Shona Dewson 16:49
Tanya Podjursky 19:22
Debbie Morris 30:44

Gilchrist Rose Bowl 2019 Results

Report by Lance Brew

With very cold and windy conditions on Saturday I was very pleased to see the amount of people at the club rooms on our return from setting out the course at the lake. Ross, Vaughan, Nick and myself even commented we didn’t think there will be a huge turn out with the terrible weather but to all of you guys credit there was 4 kids and 50 adults ready and waiting to run.

The kids lead the racing off first with 2 laps of the 1 km course with Zarah looking strong through out and the 2 Miller boys having a good battle with each other Zach came out on top here. Amber looked very composed for her run, ditching dad on her 2nd lap. Well done kids.

1st Zarah Rattray 8.36
2nd Zach Miller 9.12
3rd Amber Rattray 11.15
4th Liam Miller DNF

Onto the adult race and the race for bonus house points was up for grabs it was going to be a good battle right through the whole field as every placing in the race was worth placing points. If you were first over the line you gained maximum placing points right down to if you were last over the line you gained the minimum placing point. All the placing points for your house were added together and the house who had the highest placing points gained 75 bonus point for their house 2nd 50 points 3rd 25 points 4th sorry no bonus points.

The course for the weather we were having I thought was in good condition just a couple of slippery bits the worst part was the debris on the course even after we had cleared it earlier. The wind was absolutely blowing and made it even harder no matter where you were on the course.

It was great to see everyone pushing hard right to the finish line knowing that each place in the race counted there was some very hard fought tight finishes between people.

Thanks must go to all those who showed up to volunteer or just watch, it was bad enough running in those conditions let alone standing around in them.

All in all I believe the day was a success made by all who showed up.

House placing points results

1st 452 Placing Points Kiwi 75 Bonus House points
2nd 296 Placing Points Ruru 50 Bonus House points
3rd 219 Placing Points Kahu 25 Bonus House points
4th 114 Pacing Points Tui We need to lift our game here no bonus points.

Photos on Hawks NZ website

NameTeam nameTimePoints
Samantha CorbettKahu15:4738
Kevin KnowlesKahu16:4730
Iain RattrayKahu17:1229
Mark CornagaKahu17:2527
Ray ChrystallKahu18:3023
Helen Hall KingKahu18:5320
Madison RattrayKahu19:1219
Leon GovenderKahu19:4414
Nichola McMahonKahu21:2110
Gilbert McDonaldKahu21:586
Debbie MorrisKahu28:341
Andrew WarkKahuDNF0
Showing up15
Charli MillerKiwi14:5045
John CraneKiwi15:0343
Les MillerKiwi15:2641
Samantha CorbettKiwi15:4738
Martin FerryKiwi15:5237
Pat GallagherKiwi16:0736
Sunil Fernandez RitchieKiwi16:1135
Garry WilsonKiwi16:2532
Olivia TheunissenKiwi18:1224
Gemma HoranKiwi18:4022
Dave ClarkKiwi18:4321
Maureen LeonardKiwi19:2117
Colin KingKiwi19:3816
Vaughan SwaleKiwi19:4215
Lisa JoblinKiwi20:2313
Kerry RattrayKiwi21:339
Shona DewsonKiwi21:358
Showing up20
Kent HodgsonRuru15:0244
Marc ScottRuru15:2342
Dave GunnRuru15:3539
Michael PeckRuru16:1534
Chris KeithRuru16:2033
Maria BentleyRuru16:3131
Malesa McNearneyRuru17:1828
Paul ReynoldsRuru18:1125
Grahame ClarkinRuru21:1811
Charlie EvansRuru21:507
Tanya PodjurskyRuru28:272
Showing up13
Lance BrewTui14:2446
Tanja MillerTui17:5826
Vaughan KestleTui19:2018
Ross BarnettTui20:3812
Kaye SharpeTui21:595
Mary RogersonTui22:134
Clare MontgomeryTui22:453
Showing up10

Places based on Time

NameTeam nameTime
Lance BrewTui14:24
Charli MillerKiwi14:50
Kent HodgsonRuru15:02
John CraneKiwi15:03
Marc ScottRuru15:23
Les MillerKiwi15:26
Dave GunnRuru15:35
Samantha CorbettKahu15:47
Samantha CorbettKiwi15:47
Martin FerryKiwi15:52
Pat GallagherKiwi16:07
Sunil Fernandez RitchieKiwi16:11
Michael PeckRuru16:15
Chris KeithRuru16:20
Garry WilsonKiwi16:25
Maria BentleyRuru16:31
Kevin KnowlesKahu16:47
Iain RattrayKahu17:12
Malesa McNearneyRuru17:18
Mark CornagaKahu17:25
Tanja MillerTui17:58
Paul ReynoldsRuru18:11
Olivia TheunissenKiwi18:12
Ray ChrystallKahu18:30
Gemma HoranKiwi18:40
Dave ClarkKiwi18:43
Helen Hall KingKahu18:53
Madison RattrayKahu19:12
Vaughan KestleTui19:20
Maureen LeonardKiwi19:21
Colin KingKiwi19:38
Vaughan SwaleKiwi19:42
Leon GovenderKahu19:44
Lisa JoblinKiwi20:23
Ross BarnettTui20:38
Grahame ClarkinRuru21:18
Nichola McMahonKahu21:21
Kerry RattrayKiwi21:33
Shona DewsonKiwi21:35
Charlie EvansRuru21:50
Gilbert McDonaldKahu21:58
Kaye SharpeTui21:59
Mary RogersonTui22:13
Clare MontgomeryTui22:45
Tanya PodjurskyRuru28:27
Debbie MorrisKahu28:34
Andrew WarkKahu

Huntly Half Marathon 2019 Results

Report by Glenn Sexton

Fog fog fog. This year the event is 39 years old and Huntly gave us a classic Waikato welcome back to a May date. The numbers were up to over 1000, the temperatures were down to below 10. Race organisers Run NZ were rapt with the late influx of entries and ran out of medals (bad for the entrants, good for the event) but being the nice people they are will be mailing one out to those who missed out.

To the races, Hawks had a fantastic turnout and it was great to see our singlets out in force. There are way too many to list so congrats to everybody, especially those who did PBs. I know of a couple of young 50 year olds who ran one and acknowledged how far their running has come since joining Hawks.
I missed the start of the 10k as I was helping with the course setup so I jumped on the bike to lead  the 10, 5 and 2k and it was great to see some good racing.

A special thanks should go to El Presidente Shona for organising the volunteers, and of course the volunteers themselves, many of whom helped then put on their shoes to run also.

Bring on next year and Huntly’s 40th.

Full results on Huntly Half Website>>

Photos by Mike Riley in the Facebook group >>

Tauranga Cross Country 2019 Results

Report by Tanja Miller

The annual Tauranga Cross Country was held on Saturday 25th May 2019 at Waipuna Park.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous and if anything it was a little too hot! There was lots of sunshine, no wind and the track was firm underfoot.

Unfortunately I was injured and unable to run, which left me feeling a bit sorry for myself!  However I did get to watch some great racing from the sidelines and cheer on my children when they ran. It was disappointing to see small fields this year but those who did compete raced with enthusiasm and dedication.

The highlight for me, as a triathlete myself, was the women’s 4km event. The race was dominated by up and coming youth triathletes who were the 1st, 2nd and 3rd runners home. A very strong Hannah Knighton ( U/20) was shadowed by Charli Miller (U/18) for most of the race. Hannah managed to get away to take the win in a time of 15 mins from Charli who was 8 seconds back. Third place went to Olivia Cummings (U/18) a talented triathlete from Tauranga in 15:23.

Once again Tauranga Ramblers produced a well run event with lots of prizes. It was especially exciting for the younger runners who each received a little goody bag after their race. My son enjoyed the banana, mini bag of chips and Mars bar that were in his. It was a nice reward for having to run up the dreaded Waipuna hill!
Thanks Tauranga Ramblers and see you in 2020! (hopefully I’ll be able to run at the next one!)

House Points Update 22.5.19

This is the current points standing after the first 2 club based races it looks pretty tight at this stage.

House Points 22/05/19

1st Kiwi 26 Points
2nd Ruru 22 Points
3rd equal Tui and Kahu 21 Points

How it works is when you show up to a club based race you gain a PARTICIPATION point don’t worry if you cant run/walk if we need volunteers ie marshaling, timing, registering etc you will gain a point.

Some club races we will be offering bonus points for your house up for grabs like Gilchrist rosebowl as you will get a participation point for attending but also the house who through the 4 km race gains the most placing points will gain a further 75 bonus points for 1st, 50 for 2nd, 25 for 3rd and sorry 0 for 4th so the more house members show the better the chances of gaining good bonus points.

Bonus points are also on offer with in the club cross country and club road champs if you place in the top 3 of your age group you will gain 3 bonus points for 1st, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd.

Trophy Day Results 2019

With the weather playing it’s part this year and shining down on us we had a great showing of runners turn up to put themselves through a tough 5 km course for the seniors and 2 km course for the juniors.

We started the day off sending out our 7 juniors first who all ran outstandingly all coming home in under 10 minutes. They all seemed to be holding themselves back for the easier 2 km specially as the had a 500 m hill to start of with. Right from the start Zarah Rattray looked strong and powered her way up the hill followed closely by Layton Mace and Zach Miller (may of paid the price for going a little hard to early). With Thea Mace, Charlie Giberson, Cory Brew and Amber Rattray all with in touching distance of each other nearing the turn around.

Zarah roared home coming down the hill to finish 1st followed closely by Layton, Zach managed to hold on for 3rd from a hard finishing Charlie.

Zarah 7.59 
Layton 8.08
Zach 8.45
Charlie 8.48
Thea 8.56
Cory 9.25
Amber 9.53

On to the big race in which we had 42 runners race. This is a self handicap race so you needed to estimate your finishing time and when that time showed up on the starting clock you set off, making sure you didn’t come into fast as you may be disqualified by our timing guru Graham. Sorry to say this year we had 3 who came in just to fast and had to be Dq’d and I’m talking seconds here.

It was hard to see how the racing was going on in front of me as I was last to leave and having to be a hunter. Although I have to say it was awesome to get to the board walk and look down and see the number of runners flying down to the finish and thinking how many can I get which wasn’t many, sorry President for pipping you right at the line.

It was awesome to have 50 runners show up and race lets keep this up, but what was even more awesome to see was Brain Mayall (Club Patron) down supporting and bring his family along. Also having a lot of our life members either racing or watching was great.

I would really like to thank the marshal volunteers Mike,Wendy,Vaughan Swale, Graham, Ellie and Tanja really appreciate your helping hand sorry if I forgot anyone.

Good luck everyone who is racing this weekend the 25/26 May I will hopefully see some of you on the start line in Huntly Sunday.

PlaceNameSurnameNet TimeBIRD
xmaureen leonard23:08KIWI
36Wendy Harris26:24Tui

Rotorua Marathon Results 2019

The event calendar 2 weeks ago was chocka block with Rotorua Marathon and associated events, T42 and The Kauri run all being held. Hawks decided not to have a club race on the weekend due to this. My workplace has a couple of tragic running nerds who regularly analyse and study results so needless to say the  smoko and lunchtimes the Thursday and Friday beforehand  filled with predictions, and Monday and Tuesday after with back slapping and congratulations on how well we predicted.

Rotorua was the highest profile race having its 55th running, including the infamous washout year in 1999. While everybody has their own goals and aspirations, our run of the day went to Cecilia Flori, putting Hawks on the open winners podium for the first time in a few years. With her high weekly workload  in preparing for Western States 100 miler, Cecilia has a huge base and from all accounts could have kept going for another lap. The other outstanding efforts went to Kevin Knowles winning the MM60 title in 3.13 who was 8 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, and Hawks Charli Miller and William Taylor winning the mens and womens in the 10k.

There are way too many names to scroll through to find all the Hawks so apologies to those not mentioned and well done all.

Place Name Time Division Division Place
16th Cecilia Flori 2:51:54 F 35-39 1st
18th Rodrigo Jaca Gonzalez 2:54:47 M 16-34 7th
38th Kevin Knowles 3:13:57 M 60-64 1st
58th Nathan Campbell 3:22:38 M 35-39 10th
167th Vaughan Swale 3:53:35 M 60-64 11th
322nd Wendy Fox 4:22:23 F 60-64 2nd

If anyone is missed in the above results table, please let us know via the contact us page – website admin

Reduction Relay Results 2019

Reduction Relay results held on the 2km loop course located between the clubrooms and Cobham Drive.

PlacingTimeTeamMembers of team
1st27.35228Sunil Fernadaz-Ritchie, Kevin Burt, Kerry Rattray 
2nd27.51226Glen Sexton, Olivia Theunissen, Wendy Fox
3rd27.53231Chris Keith, Casey Gibbison, Charlie Gibbison
4th27.59229Marc Scott, Connie Daws, Toshimi Farrell, Dave Clark
5th28.32227Dave Gunn, Lisa Joblin, Zarah Rattray
6th28.51224Ross Barnett, Lucy Farrell, Hugo Field
7th28.57225Spencer Devine, Jemima Antoniazzi Phoebe Field
8th 28.59234Lance Brew, Vaughan Swale, Dot Larsen
9th2926232Michael Peck, Garry Wilson, Rosie Burt
10th30.33230Marcus Daws, Mark Cornaga, Debbie Morris
11th 32.01233Gemma Horan, Vuaghan Kestle, Sarah Woolerton
Kids Race
1st10.3623Cory Brew
2nd11.1724Amber Rattray
3rd14.0230Lucas Brew
4th15.1126Connor Gibbison
5th15.4828Kerriann Brew
6thDNF21Amelia Daws
7thDNF22Dylan Daws

NZ Mountain Running Champs 2019 Race Report

Wellington, 13th April 2019
By John Crane

It seemed like a good idea at the time … a couple of months ago, Kent and I with a beer in our hands. Not so much after a quick check of the course after we arrived late on Friday afternoon in a ‘brisk’ southerly … and we’d only looked at the first 1.5km or so. We hadn’t yet seen what awaited us further into it or really understood that the ‘Hill from Hell’ was called that for a good reason.

Anyway, there we were and we had a mission. I’d suggested to Kent on one of our training runs up Sanitorium Hill (Maungakawa) that our target was for him to get a much deserved M50 NZ Championship title, for me to get on the M50 Championship podium with him and also to get the M55 Age Group win as an added bonus.

So, we’d arrived in Wellington mid-afternoon on Friday, picked up Matt Scott from the centre of town (Marc Scott was driving down to join us later) and headed around to Eastbourne across the harbour where we had an Airbnb booked for the night. Matt stayed at the house to wait for Marc and Kent and I headed over the hill to Wainuiomata to check the course. The start line was at the bottom of a steep climb of around 600m on a gravel road (straight into oxygen debt – oh good) then onto a steeply undulating, rocky track with a thin layer of clay which was very slippery in places after recent rain. Still, with the strong wind drying it out we thought it would be okay by the time the race came.

After that it was back to the house to meet Marc and sort out some food and beer for the evening (essential pre-race nutrition). We gave Marc and Matt the download about the course and Kent and I discussed which race shoes – Inov8s or trail shoes (because you always bring a couple of ace shoe options, right?). Then Marc groaned – he hadn’t brought any of his running shoe options at all (he was wearing a very smart pair of brown leather casual shoes – not quite the Inov8s that Kent and I reckoned were the best for the course!).  Somehow he’d left his 3 pairs at home. Fortunately, my spare pair fit him reasonably well, so was all sorted (but he wasn’t having the Inov8s ;).

Then it was down to the local pub for food and beer. We were about to walk back when it started raining quite hard – so another beer until it stopped. It rained even harder during the night and still a howling southerly. That wasn’t going to make the course any easier.

After hanging around for most of the morning we headed over the hill to the race registration and start area. Fortunately, the rain had stopped and the wind dropped off. Just needed someone to level out the hills now and it could be an enjoyable run!

Our race was 8.5km and the M50 men had the largest numbers of any grade with 20 entries. Kent took control from the start with Michael Wray of Wellington Scottish going up the hill with him and Marc and myself also tucking in behind them. We continued to climb (with a few short, sharp downs) to about the 2.8 km mark. Kent had a firm lead by then. I could still just about see him pulling further up each hill we came to and he was going strong. Marc and Michael Wray had dropped off by this point and it was starting to get tough. We then hit a fairly steep and tricky downhill for about 1 km before taking a sharp turn and starting a steep and slippery climb on clay and rock. We kept going mostly up for the next 1.5 km or more – and this included the aptly named ‘Hill from Hell’.

I was starting to struggle and had been passed by Jim Jones from Wellington Scottish who was going really well (hopefully not well enough to catch Kent). My calves were starting to cramp too as I pushed off on the hill climbs. We reached the highest point at about 5.4km, then mostly downhill from there. Sounds good, but it was steep, slippery with plenty of short, sharp rises in between and my calves had become a couple of tennis balls – making the downhill almost as tough as the uphill. Finally, the last 600m of steep downhill on the gravel road and through to the finish.

First thing to check – Kent had won (first part of our mission – tick). I wasn’t sure if I’d held 3rd place as there were a few runners from other grades coming though (and I thought I’d seen some grey hairs amongst them) – but it appears I did (another tick). I’d also claimed the M55 age grade win (final tick). Marc came through shortly afterwards in 6th place (nice shoes!), completing a great team effort.

There was a bit of hanging around for prize giving and a freezing shower, but we managed to get our moment on the podium before having to dash to the airport to catch our flight (and just had time for a celebratory beer before boarding).

The event was very well run and organised by Wainuiomata Harriers, but I have to say, Athletics NZ were conspicuous by their absence. They had managed to find a past ANZ official to give out the Championship medals, but no ANZ signage or anything to suggest that they had any interest at all in the event. That’s a shame for a national championship and poor support from our national body.

Anyway, we have a new NZ Champion in Kent. He totally controlled the race from the start and put in a huge performance on a brutal course. Well done and well deserved! Mission accomplished.

C:\Users\John Crane\Desktop\Mountain Champs.jpg