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Saturday, July 14, 2018

2018 Wellington XC Champs Grenada North Park Tawa Sat 14 Jul

To get this look .... need to do this

Site of the Battle of Boggyburn

Race Report (via Athletics NZ)

"Isaac Murphy, fifth at last week’s North Island championship came through well to win the Wellington senior title. He covered the 10km in 35:09 to head in Niam Macdonald-Joslin by 43 seconds. Malcolm Hodge was third in 36:29.

Kara Macdermid won the senior women’s 10km in 41:05 from Nicole Mitchell and Maiya Christini. M35 Brian Garmonsway 36:56 from Stephen Day 37:24. 

Peter Stevens was first in the M50 in 39:29. MW35 Carla Denneny 46:13 from Mel MacPhee 46:54. 

Seamus Kane followed up his win in Taupo the previous week winning the MU/20 8km in 28:58 from Toby Gualter and Jack Hammond. 

National youth road champion Jayme Maxwell won the WU/20 6km in 27:01 by a wide margin over Caitlin Douglass. 

Liam Lamb held a ten second advantage over Noah Macdermid in the MU/18 6km in 22:33. Dylan Lynch was third in 23:09. 

Kirstie Rae second to Hannah O’Connor in Taupo won the WU/18 4km in 15:54 beating Emma Douglass and Esther Kozyniak. 

Under 15 3km winners were Jack Hunter 11:32 and Maia Wilkinson 13:01. 

Winners in the 2km races were U/13 Joe Martin 7:48 and Phoebe Gray 8:37, U/11 George Gray 8:15 and Liliani Cuevas-Haxton 8:39."


The Battle of Boggyburn.  The struggle wasn’t so much between the runners but with the underfoot conditions .  Like sticky toffee somebody said.

Most knew Grenada North Park would be muddy and in the worst parts, the going tough. 

But the boggy sections were probably more strength sapping than anticipated which was evident from how exhausted some runners looked.  

A few shoes were lost. 

The relatively high rainfall over the last month and the fact this park has sections which never completely dry out made the course a slog. The irony is the weather was perfect with clear skies and virtually no wind.

Some of the short sharp downhill sections were also problematic with a few people slip sliding away, especially when a sharp turn was required as part of the manoeuvre.  Long spikes were needed on these bits, but they wouldn’t be much help when struggling through the six inches of mud further on at Boggyburn itself.  

This course has critics and fans alike. Many argue it is true cross country course and a contrast to the manicured courses that favour track runners.  

Personally I am not in favour of using this course for the nationals but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating and we shall no doubt get some reaction later about whether the course was suitable.  Time will tell.

The racing was pretty solid although comparing times to previous years won’t indicate much because for most people times are likely to be slower due to the conditions. 

The race of the day was the Senior Men’s 10km which saw Isaac Murphy (WHAC) storm around the course leading from start to finish. On lap 1 he had the Scottish duo of Malcolm Hodge and Niam Macdonald nearly on his shoulder with #MadHarry (Scottish), Louis Hogan (WHAC) and Brian Garmonsway (Trentham United) further back.  

As the race progressed some of the early leaders slipped back with others moving through.  Niam Macdonald had the best go at closing the gap but he couldn’t hold the pace and by the last couple of laps Murphy had increased his lead and was never going to be caught.  

All in all a strong and convincing performance by Isaac Murphy on a mudbath of a course.  

In the Senior Women’s 10km race Kara Macdermid from Palmerston North got so far ahead and out of sight of her opposition that somebody thought that Nicole Mitchell was the women’s leader. The times show the huge gaps between first and fifth place.  

Those coming for the National XC Championship races in a few weeks are in for a big surprise because the ground is now well and truly mashed up and is unlikely to get better.

Of course it will be interesting to see if those who ran today change their racing tactics for the nationals based on the muddy experience. 

Dan Hunt of VUW Harriers thinks he would not go out so fast and then try and hang on. He says that holding back a bit means you are likely to have something in reserve to improve the chances of moving through the field as the race progresses.  It could work but I can guarantee you won’t find “Stormin’ Malcolm” using that tactic. 

Dan also thinks that not being part of a bunch of runner’s gives you better choices when choosing which line to take when approaching the hurdles and navigating the gnarly bits. 

On the other hand Dan’s club mate Will Critchlow thinks he needs to go faster in the middle parts of the race. 

And finally here is a video of Steve Plowman talking about the prospects in today's races for some of the athletes he coaches. He made some interesting comments about getting some of his people running the 5km option to ensure they are more fresh for the nationals.


Some parts of the taped course probably need to be wider especially the short downhill bit just before Boggyburn proper where there is a sharp left hand turn at the bottom. Not enough runway folks.

The Baby Boomers and Gen-X people did a good job at getting the ground nice and mucky for the Millennial's and Gen-Z competitors who followed.    

It was good to see Wayne Atkins come as a spectator.  Wayne who these days is wheelchair bound was a pretty capable all round runner in his day.  He attended Rongotai College and was one of Wellington’s top juniors when with Scottish. Shifting across to WHAC he became part of the Blue Kenyans (WHACs A Team) which dominated Wellington running for most of the 80’s and 90’s. Wayne will be coming back for a look at the nationals. 

Wayne Atkins at the 2005 World Mountain Running Champs, Mt Victoria Wellington
There were more than one or two local elite runners missing.  Perhaps they knew that it would be a messy affair and decided it was better to keep the running shoes clean. The more likely reason is that they were taking a rest from racing and keeping injury free.  After all there is such a thing as over-racing.

Race 6 Senior Men and Women and Masters 10km 

Race 5 Boys and Girls U11 & U13 2km 

Race 4 Boys and Girls U9 1km

Race 3 Men & Women U18 & U20 4km to 8km (I might post more photos in this grade)

Race 2 Boys & Girls U15 3km

Race 1 Masters and other grades 5km