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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

2018 Scottish Waterfront 5k Race Wellington Tue 27 Mar


Strong northerly winds and rising created havoc for the cone and finish chute technicians.  I doubt that the runners thought conditions pleasant either especially since it was the last race of the season.

Back on the waterfront since October 2016, Ayesha Shafi was the first woman home in 19.41. This follows on from her good showing at the Wellington 5,000m track championship last Saturday when she ran 18.33.

Just behind Ayesha in second place was Letha Whitman in 19.43, the current Wellington woman's 10,000m track champion.  This is her third start on the waterfront and while the windy conditions were not conducive to good times there is always next year

Danielle Trewoon picked up 3rd place for the women with a time of 20.43. Danielle must be in good shape because she was only a few seconds off her PB from a few weeks ago and when you consider the weather conditions her performance tonight was very good. Next year I think we might see a sub-20 minute from Danielle as well as a few others.

Well what can I say about the men’s race?  Daniel Jones has never been beaten on this course and holds the record. He is the current Wellington 10,000m and 5,000m track champ and a noted off-road runner.

So “Daniel the Animal” cruises home in 15.56 just doing enough to head off the opposition. Daniel’s next big goal is the Gold Coast marathon in July but between then and now his Scottish club will be looking to him to help underpin it’s winter cross country campaign.

Second home for the men was Bejamin Hamer who ran 16.07. Ben is waterfront first-timer, hails from Nelson but has been living overseas (California?).  I would bet a dollar to a donut that Ben is not new to athletics or to 5k races, so note to the recruiters.....

Mark Moore was third in 16.08, one second behind Ben. The time is a PB for Mark and his 3rd placing the best of all his waterfront races.

Will Critchlow was next home in 4th and I can declare him the winner of the Critchlow/Thompson challenge.  I got an on camera interview with Will when he finished but this turned out to unusable because all you can hear on the soundtrack is ferocious wind.

So now that the waterfront racing season is over until October, Daryl is keen to get your ideas on how the series can be improved.

My suggestions are:

1 Reduce the entry fee

2 Offer 3 free races. Make the first and last races free and perhaps one early in the new year. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

2018 Wellington 5000m Track Champs Newtown Park Sat 24 Mar


A week after Dan won the well supported 10,000m championship race at Newtown Park it hosted the 5000m event. 

A large number of entries meant that the field was split into two.

In the first race for men under 50, it became clear early on that some would be out for payback against established rivals.  

Right from the gun it looked as if Dan Jones was out to do a “Mo Farrah” and grab the 10k/5k title double.  And based on current form this looked entirely feasible.

The pattern of the race pretty much unfolded like last week. But instead of Hiro Tanimoto leading taking the pole line it was #MadHarry with Dan right on his shoulder.  Chasing was Malcolm Hodge, Rowan Hooper, Niam McDonald and Colin Sasse.

Further back was the familiar site of Bert Prendergast, Ben Twyman, Stephen Day and Andrew Wharton: the new gang of 4.

Behind this group was a long procession.

Dan was going for the win, and a good time.  #MadHarry was trying to get away from Niam, keen to get some revenge for Cardrona, grab silver and maybe a PB.

Malcolm was chasing anything that moved.

Niam was chasing Harry, hoping to repeat the finishing order from last week at the NZ Mountain Running Champs in Cardrona, grab silver and maybe a PB. 

The pressure is on

The gang of 4 was still going strong, with Andrew Wharton looking comfortable. Andrew wants Stephen’s scalp and Stephen knows it.  Ben wants to get even with Bert for his “ambush at the pass” move at last week’s 10,000m race.  I know it’s complicated.

Rowan has disappeared.

Up front Dan keeps up a relentless pace and is now beginning to lap the slower runners. @MadHarry is still on contact but looks a bit stretched. Tenacious though.

Malcolm is still close to Niam and his deceiving loping style. Or is it the other way round?

The gang of 4 has now split. It’s the Bert and Ben show with Andrew lurking a bit back. 

Stephen does not look as if he is having a good day with Alistair Saunders creeping up.

Meanwhile back further back it looks like Logan Slee and Hugh O’Donoghue are having a bit of a duel.  So too are Dan Hunt and Cameron Forrest.

There are a few runners who are isolated without anybody to key off. They are racing the clock with the hope of picking up a PB.  Big fields can do that.

Where is Colin Sasse?  Well he was with Hugh O’Donoghue  now that Logan has flicked ahead.

With only a few laps to go, Dan has dropped #MadHarry but with Niam chasing hard and Malcolm chasing Niam. Now is not the time to ease off and their faces show they aren’t .As it was all three were in the home straight together which will make future races with this lot very interesting.

Back further Ben is ahead with Andrew still a danger. Both have Bert’s scalp.

“Daniel the Animal”  has finished and the results show how everybody else ended up. 

Race two was for 50 and over plus the women entrants. Another sizeable field

Grant McLean stormed to the front from the gun closely followed by Michael Wray with Ruby Muir and Nicole Mitchell tracking them both.

The brains trust at the finish line say that Grant had been doing secret training for this event, but then somebody suggested it wasn’t that much of a secret.

As the race progressed it became apparent what Grant’s tactics were going to be. Not noted for his fast finishes Grant looked like he was going to try and open up as a big a gap as possible and then gut it out to the end.  It’s a fine line to tread in terms of pace judgement.

Nicole Mitchell was sitting on Nicole’s shoulder without attempting to push the pace. Ruby looked untroubled in the early stages of the race but somewhere after half way it all fell to pieces.  Ruby was leading and then the next time we saw them it was Nicole by herself way out in front. Something wasn’t right.  Somebody said that Ruby had been injured which could account for the crash.  Anyway she pulled out of the race leaving Nicole to soldier on and the speculation now was whether she might catch Michael.

But Michael may have had other plans on his mind.

With only a few laps to go Grant had slowed considerably and his face showed he was suffering. 

Perhaps smelling blood Michael looked to pick up the pace. But would he have enough time to haul in Grant. The brains trust never agreed on this – yes he will, no he won’t. Sheesh!

But with the only a lap to go Grant it became certain he would not be caught.

The rest is history. It was a great race and all credit to the old fox for outfoxing the other foxes.

So a good couple of races which will have produced some well deserved PB’s.

My only issue is whether it is good planning to have a 10,000m championship race one week followed by a 5,000m championship race the following week.  

Also is March the best time to have these two races given they are offered when the track and field season is virtually over.  Of course it isn’t as if they are of no value as every race helps with future races in more ways than one.

Disclaimer:  Some of the above may be true or untrue