Tag Archive for: 2019

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
1VaughanKestle40:56Tui05:07
2KovoMcDonald33:29Kiwi04:11
3ConnieDaws40:54Kiwi05:07
4SophieHarris40:58Ruru05:07
5WendyFox42:01Kiwi05:15
6MaryRogerson45:13Tui05:39
7ClaireMontgomery45:01Tui05:38
8ShonaDewson43:08Kiwi05:23
9PatGallagher32:00Kiwi04:00
10WendyHarris43:15Tui05:24
11PeterHoran45:19Ruru05:40
12MarcusDaws33:03Tui04:08
13LucySeymour43:37Non member05:27
14KerryRattray43:42Kiwi05:28
15PaulOverend29:26Kahu03:41
16RayChrystall37:50Kahu04:44
17JosiahNey26:51Non member03:21
18MaureenLeonard38:27kiwi04:48
19VaughanSwale42:03Kiwi05:15
20JohnCrane29:43Kiwi03:43
21SandraJensen38:38Ruru04:50
22CharliMiller29:54Kiwi03:44
23KevinKnowles33:48kahu04:13
24DotLarsen43:19Tui05:25
25EmilyFyfe48:54?06:07
26PaulRitchie34:01Ruru04:15
27DaveGunn31:05Ruru03:53
28MikeHarris33:08Ruru04:09
29graceRitchie31:34Tui03:57
30MarcScott32:05Ruru04:01
31MichaelPeck32:25Ruru04:03
32CharlieEvans44:00Ruru05:30
33GemmaHoran38:42Kiwi04:50
34LucieKibblewhite49:31Tui06:11
35BradenCampbell32:58Tui04:07
36ChrisKeith33:49Ruru04:14
37AndrewWark31:00Kahu03:53
38PaulReynolds36:06Ruru04:31
39JordonSmith40:25Tui05:03
40SunilFernandez ritchie32:15Kiwi04:02
41GlennSexton32:47Kahu04:06
42TanyaPodjursky03:18Ruru07:55
Fastest Times
PlaceNameSurnameNet TimeHouseMin/Km
1JosiahNey26:51Non member03:21
2PaulOverend29:26Kahu03:41
3JohnCrane29:43Kiwi03:43
4CharliMiller29:54Kiwi03:44
5AndrewWark31:00Kahu03:53
6DaveGunn31:05Ruru03:53
7GraceRitchie31:34Tui03:57
8PatGallagher32:00Kiwi04:00
9MarcScott32:05Ruru04:01
10SunilFernandez ritchie32:15Kiwi04:02
11MichaelPeck32:25Ruru04:03
12GlennSexton32:47Kahu04:06
13BradenCampbell32:58Tui04:07
14MarcusDaws33:03Tui04:08
15MikeHarris33:08Ruru04:09
16KovoMcDonald33:29Kiwi04:11
17KevinKnowles33:48kahu04:13
18ChrisKeith33:49Ruru04:14
19PaulRitchie34:01Ruru04:15
20PaulReynolds36:06Ruru04:31
21RayChrystall37:50Kahu04:44
22MaureenLeonard38:27kiwi04:48
23SandraJensen38:38Ruru04:50
24GemmaHoran38:42Kiwi04:50
25JordonSmith40:25Tui05:03
26ConnieDaws40:54Kiwi05:07
27VaughanKestle40:56Tui05:07
28SophieHarris40:58Ruru05:07
29WendyFox42:01Kiwi05:15
30VaughanSwale42:03Kiwi05:15
31ShonaDewson43:08Kiwi05:23
32WendyHarris43:15Tui05:24
33DotLarsen43:19Tui05:25
34LucySeymour43:37Non member05:27
35KerryRattray43:42Kiwi05:28
36CharlieEvans44:00Ruru05:30
37ClaireMontgomery45:01Tui05:38
38MaryRogerson45:13Tui05:39
39PeterHoran45:19Ruru05:40
40EmilyFyfe48:54?06:07
41LucieKibblewhite49:31Tui06:11
42TanyaPodjursky03:18Ruru07:55

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 ?.  

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

Men
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.

ResultsTime
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

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.

Results

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

Christchurch Half & Marathon 2019 Results

Christchurch is well known for producing great running conditions for their marathon. This time wasn’t one of them. In atrocious conditions running was tough, and stories of hypothermia and the inability of fingers and hands to function were the rule, not the exception. We had Martin Ferry (2.54) and Sue Hunter (3.56) doing the marathon, and Grace Ritchie (1.22), Sandra Jensen (1.49) the half. Paul Ritchie was doing the 10k,  as well as 2018 Hawk and now Canterbury University runner Olivia Ritchie (3.03) also lining up in the full.

Christchurch Half report

By Sandra Jensen

I would seem that I am destined to run rainy half marathons on Queens Birthday weekend. Last year was the Mount Joggers half which was near torrential but I ran a nice time and had fun. By comparison that same event this year was cool but clear blue skies. Why didn’t I do that one again? Because I was doing the Christchurch marathon half instead.

I signed up last year and had not trained at all. Sure I’d run a marathon in that time (badly) and a lot of running in general including pacing a few halves but I hadn’t actually gone out to do a good time for a half in a long time. I’m a chronic under-trainer. I am too busy hence the now swearing off all marathons. I have better things to do.

Christchurch was wet when we arrived and cold. The flooding in the region was still evident as we landed. We checked into race rego and went to find our hotel. The google map lady with the bad pronunciation kept taking us the long way but we found the “Rendezvous” chosen because of the seedy name and settled in.

I had decided that with my lack of training I would hang with the 1 hr 50 pacers but in the end I never saw them, instead keeping ahead of them the whole race. Race day though was cold and wet and cold and a little bit more cold. I probably wore more clothing than I had ever for any race and none was removed during the run. My legs went numb and I worried about chaffing mainly because I couldn’t feel it if it was happening so feared and longed for a hot shower after the finish. 

The 19th km was my slowest, the legs were dead. the last 2 km weren’t so bad but it was almost a km from when you caught site of the finish line and that was a very very long km. The legs could not sprint, and I was numb, cold and very wet. Why I reached for a cold drink at the finish is beyond me.

I finished in 1 hr 49 mins and 25 seconds. By no means my fastest half but given the conditions and lack of training, I’m happy. Sue Hunter managed her sub 4 hr and my husband Mark produced a cold beer for her husband Steve who completed his first half in under 2 hrs. I’ve never seen such a happy face after a beer.
Christchurch marathon would be not a bad run in slightly better conditions as it’s predominantly flat (go figure) and it’s also hard to not contemplate how scarred the city still is. 

I reckon we will be back for that one.

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 >>

Whitianga Race Report

Report by Helen Hall-King

Last year it was Noosa, this year it was Whitianga, There were many similarities to the annual Hawkettes weekend away – beach, shops, wine and laughter – but first you had to race.

It’s not just road relays that have pre-weekend dramas.  Wendy H could not find her favourite running shorts.  The house was turned upside down and inside out, the fridge and washing machine were pulled out, draws were searched (they are now very tidy) but still they were not to be found.  The sunglasses she lost six months ago were.  Oh dear, the next best pair would have to do.

Friday afternoon/evening came and we were away.   Stopping in Tairua for a stretch of the legs was needed.  While waiting for the next car to arrive a shop was spied across the road.  Let’s look in there – that was it – shopping was commenced.  Purchases were made and off we went.

Our house was found. Very flash.  Thanks Wendy H for the e-mails to and fro to make sure we had everything covered.   Race numbers were then needed to be collected so off to the Whitianga Hotel for these.  All that can be said about this experience is that it took a while and perhaps they could have some lessons on how to sort a spreadsheet!

Dinner was pot luck and with race strategies sorted early to bed it was, and there were plenty of them – one each for all nine of us, together with three bathrooms and four toilets (essential for race morning!)

Race morning dawned bright and windless.  Pre-race rituals were attended to and then it was off down the road to the race start.  Only being 1.3km from the start line made it a short stroll with no parking worries.
Wendy H and Helen went down first.  The ½ marathon started at 9.00 with the 10km due to go at 9.20am.  Very much ladies hours but we coped with that!  Warm up went well and just prior to our start the rest of the group arrived.  Time for a photo (thanks Chris) and then we were away.  The first 5km was very chaotic.  Out 2.5km and then back 2.5km followed by two 8km laps.  Sounds simple but you were continually running into runners coming back towards you and the path was not very wide.  Then, the 10km started and you were then running into 10km runners who had to run out 1km, back 1km and then do one 8km lap.

Anyway, we managed to negotiate that and continue on our merry way.   The course was flat and fast and conclusive to fast times and there were enough people entered to be able to have someone around you the whole time you were out on the course.   One the second lap you were passing the 10km walkers so still had people in your sights the whole way.  Wendy (I’m never doing another one again) ran a controlled race to finish to run a PB just a shade over 2hrs.  Helen placed 10th women, 2nd in her age group and ran a time 3mins faster than last year.  

The 10km had the balance of the Hawkettes taking part.  Their race started running into the ½ marathoners coming back towards them so was congested but this did not deter from their great runs.  After the disaster of last week’s Hawkes Bay 10km (poor organisation on the part of the organisers), Annette was looking to have a stress free, uncluttered run.

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
xPaulEwart21:20Ruru
xMaryRogerson27:07Tui
xmaureen leonard23:08KIWI
1TanyaPodjursky29:47Ruru
2DebbieMorris31:52kahu
3JohnCrane17:53Kiwi
4garrywilson20:06kiwi
5charlimiller18:06kiwi
6daveclark23:08kiwi
7JemimaAntoniazzi18:37Kahu
8KayStockman24:10Tui
9lesmiller18:090
10helenHall-King21:42kahu
11SteveRossiter26:45Kahu
12DotLarsen25:16tui
13JoeMace19:27Tui
14PaulReynolds22:17Ruru
15IanRattray21:370
16corinnadecker21:53Kahu
17KerryRattray26:06Kiwi
18grahameclarkin25:28ruru
19NicholaMcMahon25:20Kahu
20glennsexton18:30kahu
21kevinknowles20:00kahu
22SarahWoolerton28:00Kiwi
23mariabentley19:22ruru
24LisaJoblin23:36KIWI
25RobTownsend18:27Kahu
26colinking23:37kiwi
27peterhoran28:27ruru
28sandrajensen22:43ruru
29toshimifarrell22:36ruru
30Marcscott19:08ruru
31KayeSharp25:48Tui
32ClareMontgomery25:51Tui
33AndrewWark18:57Kahu
34LanceBrew17:34Tui
35ShonaDewson26:05Kiwi
36Wendy Harris26:24Tui
37VaughanKestle24:19Tui
38MarkCornaga22:00Kahu
39sunilfernandez18:40Kiwi

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.

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