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Saturday, July 20, 2019

2019 Wellington XC Champs Grenada North Park Tawa Sat 20 Jul

Seamus Kane the new 2019 Senior Men's Wellington XC Champion


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 event. 

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.

Other Observations

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 times longer

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)