News & Updates

18 March 2022 • Cross Country

Innovative twilight cross country event to kick start Auckland winter season

(Photo: Michael Dawson Photographer)

The Auckland distance running community is abuzz with excitement as the Whippets Running Project prepare to deliver a first of its kind cross country event.

The innovative concept, the brainchild of the team from Auckland’s newest club Whippets Running Project, will kick off the winter season on Saturday 2 April with twilight cross country racing under lights.

The evening promises great racing on a spectator and runner-friendly course at McFetridge Park, Glenfield – the home of Northern Rovers FC. With a fully licensed bar overlooking the ‘night cross course,’ it promises to provide an appealing social start to the season. The course is fully floodlit and contains a few ‘spicy’ undulations with some additional fun surprises.

“One of the founding goals of the club was to help grow participation in club running by putting on events that differ from more traditional races,” adds Whippets club president Daniel Donegan.

“We’re really excited to be delivering this for the running community and thank Athletics NZ for their support.”

The event is open to registered and non-registered runners and will feature a social 3km run and three seeded races over 5.5km. The fastest three men and women will receive prize money, with a total prize pool of $1500 – something unusual for a regional cross country event, but a welcome addition for the region’s elite endurance runners.

The race has attracted some top-quality athletes including New Zealand senior men’s 5000m bronze medallist Connor Melton, national U20 800m champion Zane Powell and New Zealand U20 mile gold medallist James Harding. The women’s race is also shaping up to be a top-class affair and has secured the interest of former national 3000m and 5000m champion Olivia Burne and ex-national 10,000m and marathon medallist Kelly Parlane.

Athletics NZ Community Manager, Hamish Meacheam, said: “This is the type of exciting and innovative event we love to see in our sport. A huge thank you to the Whippets Running Project for being bold enough to try something like this, we think it will be well supported, and encourage others to consider how they might ‘spice up’ their traditional cross country races.”

More information on the event, including a link to entries can be found here.