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Friday, July 6, 2018

2018 Wellington Primary and Intermediate Schools Regional Cross-Country Harcourt Park Thu 5 Jul

Results (to come)

This event was held at Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt on the banks of the Hutt River. A scenic place and perfect for spectators.

It was supposed to be held on Tuesday the 3rd of July but was postponed until Thursday because of the weather. And just as well because I doubt that you could have gotten better conditions. 

About 900 plus kids participated in the racing which was designed to find out who would make up the Wellington region team to compete at the inter-regional competition in Nelson. 

For these kids it is a big deal simply because of the process it has taken to get to the start line. 

This is how I understand it all works, but since I could not find anything background info to explain it all I have used a bit of guesswork. If I am wrong them somebody will let me know.
Within a region there are schools and zones and groups of zones.

Stage 1:   Individual schools have races to pick a team to compete against other schools in their zone.

Stage 2:  At the zone meetings the best from each school fight out to see who represent their zone at the inter-zone

Stage 3:  At the inter-zone zone meetings, the best performers in each age grade go through to a regional competition.

Stage 4: At the regional competition a team is chosen to represent the whole region at the inter-regional.

Stage 5: The inter-regional 

What I have been told though is that for this particular school term cross-country is the main sporting focus within the primary/intermediate school community. 

A lot of these kids may be playing other sports but as we all know running is a base activity and more than handy when it comes to contributing to overall fitness.  

And of course there has been a push in recent years to get children participating more in physical activity and running is a very easy and simple way to achieve that.

Typically with this type of event you will always get some outstanding performers for their age and the results (when they are published) show who they are. 

It is this group of kids who would also have lined up this year for the Athletics Wellington Kids XC series which was so ably managed and coordinated by Athletics Development Manager Jo Murray. 

With her departure from the role late last year and setbacks in getting a replacement this series has been cancelled for 2018 and will launch again in 2019.  

It is a pity that momentum has been lost but I guess that cannot be helped. 

It would be useful though if Athletics Wellington updated its website because it still says the series will be held later in the winter when it appears that is no longer the case. 

There is also a lot of other info that needs to be changed because it is either out of date or no longer valid.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

2018 Gazley Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K Races Wellington Waterfront Sun 1 Jul


Dom Post Report

My Race Preview

Niam Macdonald looking as happy as a dog with two tails

Miyuki Usui won't forget her trip from Sakai to Wellington 

It was evident on the faces of some of the runners coming in that they did it tough. The waterfront course is scenic enough but is far from being conducive to “really fast” times. 

When you combine this with a rising northerly and squally showers you could be forgiven if you decided to stay on the couch.  But then there is this:

On paper the half-marathon had a competitive field  and there were a number of runners who could have pulled off a sneaky victory especially since it became apparent that Aucklander Jono Jackson would not be a starter.  Jackson was originally on the entry list and then he wasn’t.

But it was Niam Macdonald’s day and it was worth 70.58 (is that a PB?) and $1000.

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Macdonald’s win in the half-marathon was a superb performance given the less than ideal conditions.  

It was probably the highlight of the day. Both Rees Buck and I agreed that on a fast course with decent conditions Niam could have knocked two minutes off that time.

Second home was “Stormin’ Malcolm” who likes to run everything as if it is 5km. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and I have no problem with adopting risky racing strategies because sometimes they can pay off.  

I actually suggested to Nathan Tse, who was up for his very first half that he should run it like a 10km. Perhaps I should have just said follow Malcolm Hodge.

Third was Brian Garmonsway from Trentham United Harriers who put in a typically sold run. But I am not sure what happened to Liam Back, because he did start. 

And I suspect that #MadHarry would not be happy with his run given that there is probably some sort of rivalry between Niam and himself.  He did look a bit more tired than usual but then the wind is likely to have been an issue.

When I was doing my preview blurb for the various races I did not pick up the likely favourites for the women’s half marathon race.  

So Stephen Day, as a successful NZ mountain runner himself, told me. He said “And in the women’s race there is a fast English woman listed Sophie Kelly, plus some of the best mountain runners in NZ – Sabina Grogan, Emerson Deverell and Sophie Smith."  

And as it turned out the finishing order for these runners was as Stephen listed, except Sophie Kelly ended up 7th in the grade 1.38.22.  

But as you can see from the results Sabina Grogan (1st in 1.25.04) and Emerson Deverell (2nd in 1.25.45) looked like they had a good race and I suspect would have been in sight of each other for most if not the whole way. 

Coming in 3rd was Sophie Smith who stopped the clock at 1.30.56. 

In 4th place was Sarah Riceman in 1.31.05 with Letha Whitman from Wellington Harriers arriving in 5th place in 1.33.01. 
The Marathon race started in the dark and with a biting cold shower soaking everybody on the start line with everybody thinking the next couple of hours would be miserable. 

Last year’s silver medallist Stephen Day would have been one of the favourites for this race but he had to withdraw at the last minute reportedly because of a stomach bug.  

So the race was wide open.

But as often happens the first marathon runner across the line can get lost in the hordes of people from the other races sprinting up the concourse for a medal and a banana. 

And this was the case for Patrick McKenna who covered the distance in 2.40.04 for first place which given the day is pretty respectable.  

So no finish line photo by me but I imagine one of the 6 photographers on the course would have got him.

The first female across the line was Miyuki Usui from Japan who did 3.05.02 which is another darned good time.   

The funny thing though is that Miyuki got to the Wellington marathon as the runner exchange rep from the Senshu Marathon held each February in Sakai. One of the prizes up for grabs this year for the first Wellington woman home is a trip to Sakai to represent Welington in the Senshu.  

The second fastest woman in the marathon was Lisa Brignull from Christchurch in 3.09.08. 

Third home and winner of the bronze medal was Ingrid Cree who did 3.10.29 and must have been a worry to Lisa if she knew she was just lurking behind. 

I believe Cree is from Wellington and if I am correct she will be the winner of the Senshu Marathon trip. 

The 10k was another race where the outcome could not be reliably predicted. 

There was no stand out favourite but in my preview I picked Hector Farmer and Nick Sasse as people to watch in the men’s race. 

But it was Toby Gualter from Tawa College (and Olympic Harriers) that took gold in 34.23 by outsprinting Sasse who finished 2 seconds back for second. 

Third was serious triathlete Josh Hemara who finished in 35.49 but only after having to sidestep the incoming remnants of the kids race.

A standout performance in the men’s grade in this race which needs to be mentioned was Peter Stevens who as an old bugger in the 50-59 age group finished 5th in 36.24. Not bad if I say so myself.

In the women’s race Tina Faulkner has proven she has lifted her running to another level of performance by comfortably winning the grade in 37.35.  

Melissa Black was behind her in second place with a time of 38.18 and third was Alice Wilson who ran 39.14.

Other races included the walks for all the 3 distances and the kid’s magic mile which is out and back, fast and furious. 

You do have to feel sorry for the marathon walkers who would cop the bad weather for the most amount of time. 

Don Stevens told me he expected to be on his feet for between 6 and 7 hours. Go Don!

I would also mention Rees Buck and his professional announcing.  He knows about running and athletics so is not just a pretty face.

Meanwhile in Aussie at the Gold Coast marathon and half marathon events the Kiwi's did well.

Gazley Volkswagen Marathon Walkers Start

Gazley Volkswagen Marathon Runners Start 

Shoe Clinic Half-Marathon Runners & Walkers Start

“The Hits” Kids Magic Mile

Niam Macdonald Interview

Patrick McKenna Interview

Sabrina Grogan Interview

Miyuki Usui Interview

Toby Gaulter (10km)

Nick Sasse (10km)

Finish line clashes. 10km finishers running into the tail end of the Kids Magic Mile 

Josh Hemara (10km)

Peter Stevens (10km)

Hector Farmer (10km)

Tina Faulkner (10km)

Melissa Black (10km)

Alice Wilson (10km)

Ayesha Shafi (10km)

Niam Macdonald (Half-Marathon)

Malcolm Hodge (Half-Marathon)

Brian Garmonsway (Half-Marathon) 

Nathan Tse (Half-Marathon) 

Lucas Duross (Half-Marathon)

Harry Burnard aka #MadHarry (Half-Marathon)

Anthony Jackson (Half-Marathon) 

Sabrina Grogan (Half Marathon) 

Patrick McKenna (Marathon)

Sophie Smith (L) Sabrina Grogan (C) Emerson Deverell (R) 

Michele Allison - running legend (Half Marathon)

Trent Corbett (Marathon) 

Miyuki Usui (Marathon)