A bit of déjà vu with the current level 2.5 lockdown status for the region requiring last year’s 2020 plans for the Wellington Centre Road Champs getting dusted off for the 2021 event.
Who would have predicted this would be needed exactly a year later. But it was and luckily it all went without a hitch even with some necessary restrictions on the size of the fields and the absence of spectators. But hopefully, everybody who wanted to race was able to do so.
The unforeseen upset by 18yo Will Anthony (he turned 18 at the end of August) over Dan Jones in the SM 10km race would have been the day’s highlight.
Dan would have been hoping to bag another local title to add to his Vosseler Shield, Dorne Cup and XC victories.
And even though he ultimately came off second best in a close tussle with a fast-finishing Will over the last 1km I have assumed the road title will go to Dan on the basis that Will is in the MU20 grade and therefore unable to claim the senior title.
Let me know if that is not correct.
Overall it was an intriguing race with a lot of oscillation as runners lost and gained places.
A leading group of 3 made up of Jones, Anthony and Seamus Kane cleared out from the rest of the field on the 2nd half of lap 1, so nothing surprising with that.
But this changed as Seamus was dropped and ultimately caught by Kristian Day. This did not last though as Seamus was able to eventually come back past Kristian and finish in 4th place.
Meanwhile back in the jungle, Nathan Tse seemed content to stay with the following bunch for the early part of the race. But seemingly at his leisure, he progressively edged toward the leaders hauling in everybody apart from Will and Dan.
The times weren’t too bad either with Will scoring a PB in 31.51 and Dan notching up 31.00 straight.
There were some other good performances as well with the first 6 finishers all clocking below 32 minutes, which likely means some PBs. I am not going to dissect and cross-reference the results but there will probably be other personal bests achieved and/or scores settled between rivals.
I imagine the good conditions helped, but it is a pity the insane road camber remains the weak point on the course.
The women’s field was pretty light and you could easily lose track of the few women female starters amongst the blokes, I suppose the low numbers in the grade was because most women had opted to compete in the first 10km race (Race 1) held earlier in the day.
But when the times from both races are merged all the day's, it was Sarah Drought who comes away with the 2021 10km title win with a time of 35.35. She was followed by Esther George in 35.39 and then Ruby Muir who had a leisurely cruise home in 37.14.
Race 5 Photos