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Saturday, February 2, 2019

2019 Wellington Track & Field Champs Newtown Park Day 1 Sat 3 Feb

This looks close. How did it end up?
#Mad Harry before he lost discarded a shoe. Spectacular!

Track Results

Field Results

The champs are held over two days for a couple and I presume these are the reasons. 

It gives athletes a day’s break between some of the middle distance events; it means with the small number of officials the programme can be better managed; and for athletes entered in multiple events the need to be in two places at once is much reduced.

Day 1 of the champs can be regarded as successful with good performances across both track and field.  More spectators would be welcome though. 

The starting line-ups for some events were disappointingly thin while others had bumper entries notably the 1500m which as it turned out resulted in some exciting racing. 

To make life interesting there was also a contingent of Japanese runners in attendance participating under the watchful eye of local distance star, turned chaperone for the day, Hiro Hanimoto. 

As can be expected and indeed even hoped for there would have been some personal bests and maybe the odd age grade record. But the wind seemed to pick up a bit later in the afternoon and may have thwarted some potential super hot performances.

Commentating throughout the day were roving field announcers Charlie Nairne and the mischievous Shaka Sola. They kept spectators updated on the action unfolding at the various events, all delivered with wit and humour interspersed with occasional dollops of music you are unlikely ever to have heard.  

The women’s 1500m was dominated by the well performed Kirstie Rae (WHAC) with the main competition coming from clubmate Andrea Peat. These two picked up first and 2nd respectively with times of 4.40.63 and 4.51.37. 

When looking at the results for these and other races it needs to be borne in mind that fields can be comprised of different grades which means that some great age performances can occur at the back of the field.

In the senior grade 1500m the race was between Seamus Kane (Scottish) and Kieron Sexton (Vic Uni).  

But it was Isaac Murphy (WHAC) who did the initial front running and tried to steal a march on the field by taking off at the end of lap 2. 

But he died which left Seamus and Kieron to sort it out between them.  

Kieron who would have been buoyed by his win in the 800m B race at the Capital Classic would have had plenty of confidence in his finishing speed. 

He essentially used the same as well tactics by staying on the shoulder of Seamus who did his best to try and shake him. 

But in the home straight Kieron used his fast finishing skills to come up and just make the line a fraction before Seamus. 

The respective times of 4.01.44 and 4.01.82 shows just how close it was and a thrill for spectators who would happily buy the DVD if there was one. 

In the men’s combined under 20/18/16 and masters 1500m there was another fierce battle between the two Wellington Olympic juniors 19yo Toby Gualter and 15yo Will Anthony.  

Both led out side by side pulling away to put an early gap on the field. 

Toby was less than half a stride in front for most of the race. On the bell lap it looked as if Toby was making a break to shake Will off but he was unable to make this decisive.  

In the home straight Will closed up and put in a determined effort to get a nose in front for the finish. 

From where I was on the other side of the track it was impossible to pick who hit the line first. 

The official results gave Will the time of 4.06.39 (and the win) and Toby 4.06.44 which for all practical purposes was a dead heat.

The starting line-up for the 3000m steeplechase included the experienced Eric Speakman (Vic Uni), on the way back from injury.  

Also in the field were Harry Burnard (Scottish), Matt Rogers (Lower Hutt) , Will Bell (WHAC) and Liam Woolford (Palmerston). Missing was Niam Macdonald who was out because of sickness.

Eric made a fine start and opened up a decent lead early on. On lap two though it looked as if he twisted his foot coming out of the water jump, and that was the end of the race for him. 

This put #MadHarry into the lead with Matt and Will Bell following up in that order, but no threat.  

Harry decided to discard one of his shoes at some stage which he later said was due to a combination of loose shoe fit and insecure laces. Hopefully this will put to bed rumours that Harry dumps his shoes mid race because they are not this season’s fashionable colour. 

So on for a win went one-shoe Harry with Matt and Will following in his wake. No idea what happened to Liam but he could have disappeared to the bottom of the water jump.  

The 400m finals resulted in some surprising close finishes especially between 17yo Emma Douglass (Olympic) and 18yo Monique Whiteman (Palmerston North).  

This was a nail biting finish that those watching could be forgiven thinking that the race was about to be won by Monique (see photo above). 

But nek minit in that last stride it all changed with Emma Douglass nudging ahead just enough on the line to grab the victory. What a terrific race.  

Former NZ National HJ champion Billy Crayford (Kiwi) cleared 2.05m in the high jump which is respectable although getting over at 2.10m was a bridge too far at this meeting. His PB is 2.15m set in Hamilton in 2011.  

The next best jumper was 17yo Xander Manktelow (Kiwi) who cleared the bar at 1.95m

Watching the high jump was Sir Peter Jack fresh from his brain transplant surgery (he tried to claim it was a hip replacement procedure). 

He was wearing an ankle bracelet so that his doctors could make sure he didn’t head off to the track but there he was. Sir Peter advised that Kiwi now has 4 active high jumpers in the club which is the highest number in its history. This is a great achievement but I was surprised that Peter’s memory could reach back to when Queen Victoria was on the British throne but then he is full of surprises.   

The throwing events are always popular and it’s the same crew that make up the fields. You get used to their faces. When looking at the results it’s important to take into account that the weight of the implements being thrown is not the same for the various grades. 



Mike Ritchie

Tony Gualter and Will Anthony

Adrian Stockill

Anna Thomson

Graham Cook

Corran Hanning


Men's Hammer Photos

All Grades Pole Vault Photos

All Grades 1500m Photos

Women's Javelin Photos

All Grades 100m & 110m Hurdle Photos

Men's High Jump Photos

All Grades 400m Photos

All Grades Steeplechase Photos

All Grades 100m Finals Photos