Well I hope this is the last year that this event is held at
Grenada Park. It’s not reflection on the
organisers who did the best they could but the place is a swamp and only
suitable for ducks.
An attempt was made to design a course that avoided the
worst bits that turned the races into a muddy disaster last year but there is
no escaping the fact that this location has had its day.
Harcourt Park and the
old Waikanae locations are all possible alternatives but if these become
unavailable then just double up on the Dorne Cup and use it as the championship
This year the course had to be changed a few days out which
effectively had the races running on the edge of the park with several sealed
bits. The change was intended to protect the grass from being cut up which was
a council requirement for allowing the park to be used.
While this redesign may have been well
intentioned it meant some sections were quite
narrow guaranteeing the water logged ground would get turned to a muddy bog and
making it difficult to pass in places.
Overall the fields were down and there have been a number of
reasons put forward for why this might be. The weather, school holidays,
injury, a foreboding of mud and the wetting of feet, the moon landing 50th
anniversary, the private enterprise WUU2K thingy the week before and of course
the Grenada location itself.
But to be fair in any given year it is not unknown
for there to be a drop off in attendance for races as the season progresses. Not
to mention that some people just don’t do XC at all or are at least extremely
selective when they do.
Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about the numbers
because having more people going over the same ground at this event would have
made underfoot conditions worse.
When looking at the results one thing that stands in terms
of placing is the number of male runners that Maiya Christini left in the dust
when she raced around the course to pick up the women’s 2019 championship title.
Other women who showed a clean pair of heels over some of the men included
Melissa Black, Esther George, Andrea Peat all representing WHAC.
Another good performance noted was in the Men’s U20 race
when Finn Malloy (Trentham) made the pace for most of the 8km with Liam Back
(Wanganui Collegiate) sitting on his shoulder waiting to make his move. The field
was tiny but it was still a good run from Malloy who told me later that he has
been doing some (better?) training under the watchful eye of Coach Alistair Leslie. But
it would have been difficult for Finn to drop the lanky kid from up line given
he is the current secondary schools Senior Boys XC champ.
Seamus Kane wore out the opposition in the Senior Men’s race
to pick up what I think is his first senior title.
The underfoot conditions
would have made the going tough and holding the pace would have been challenging.
Isaac Murphy, last year's winner, did try and get away when the race was over half way gone but the
effort probably cost him.
On the assumption that the lap distances were accurate some races
would have been slightly longer or shorter than advertised.
Mel Aitken was probably disappointed that the race was not 4
Lindsay Barwick looked like she was thoroughly enjoying herself.
Stephen Day got his revenge on Andrew Wharton as part of the
continuing 100 year running war between the two, a rivalry more compelling than the Game of Thrones . The score is currently 398 to 398. But while Stephen thumped Andrew he could not catch the tough Brian
Garmonsway who rarely has a bad day.
Whatever happened to the big shield trophies that go with
the championship win. I think one is for the teams race.
Race 6 Photos (SM & MM35-50)
Race 5 Photos (B&G U12 & U14)
Race 4 Photos (B&G U10)
Race 3 Photos (MU18 & U20, WU20)
Race 2 Photos (B&G U16)
Race 1 Photos (WU18, MW-50-70, MM70, Other Non-Champs)