News & Updates

31 July 2020 • Cross Country

NZ Cross Country Champs Five Reasons

The rescheduled New Zealand Cross Country Championships is set to take place on August 29 at the Chisholm Links in Dunedin. Here with the help of Athletics Otago Board Chair Kevin O’Sullivan we give you five good reasons to participate in the 102nd edition of the iconic championship.


1 – The Course

Staged at the attractive Chisholm Links golf club, the event, which was pushed back from its original August 1 date because of the Covid-19 pandemic, offers the opportunity to compete on an “amazing course” according to Athletics Otago Chair Kevin O’Sullivan.

“Once was the time when golf members would have been resistant at the thought of people running on their course, but Chisholm Links members have been very obliging,” explains Kevin. “They have gone out of their way to enable us to use both the course and their clubhouse facilities.”

Kevin also feels the 2km looped course will provide a perfectly fair cross country examination for all.

“While the surface itself is not what you’d describe as a paddock, by the same token we are running on the rough rather than the fairway. The undulating nature of the course will provide enough of a test to ensure a good cross country challenge for everyone.


2 – Top quality fields

The unique situation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic may create some unexpected opportunities in terms of the quality of the field in Dunedin.

The virus has seen the return to New Zealand of a number of leading distance runners who would typically be expected to perform oversea at this time of year such as the Robertson twins – Zane and Jake – 2019 New Zealand 1500m champion Sam Tanner, 2019 World 5000m and 10,000m finalist Camille Buscomb and international triathlete and in-form national 5000m champion Hayden Wilde.

While there are no guarantees these athletes will enter, the prospect is a tantalising one and one athlete already planning to make the trip to Dunedin is Commonwealth Games mixed relay triathlon bronze medallist Tayler Reid.

“It is exciting these athlete are still in the country and we are hoping some might make their way south for the event,” he explains. “We have expectations that we will have a field of some quality.”


3 – Convenient accommodation

Kevin insists many quality accommodation options are within close proximity to Chisholm Links Golf Club – including a range of motels are a major motor camp and holiday park.

“The accommodation within the vicinity is quite accessible all of which makes it very appealing for people travelling to Dunedin,” he explains.


4 –  National competition

The New Zealand Cross Country Championships represents the first post-lockdown opportunity to compete in a top-quality national athletics event.

“The New Zealand Cross Country Championships will be the first big step up at this level for distance runners since the National track and field champs took place back in March, and represents a great opportunity for athletes to race.

“During lockdown many athletes had the chance to put in the mileage and you can see that since the return of inter-club and provincial events there has been a real enthusiasm to compete.”


5 – Southern hospitality

The fabled “southern hospitality” will be a “positive feature” of the event says Kevin.

“The golf club will open up its clubrooms post-event and for those people who want to socialise beyond that, they have the option of a 10-minute car ride into downtown Dunedin,” explains Kevin.