News & Updates

31 July 2022 • Cross Country

NZ Cross Country relays prove a hit

A typical scene at the inaugural NZ Cross Country Relays. (Credit: Michael Dawson).

The wet weather did not dampen the spirits at the inaugural NZ Cross Country Relays, which provided a rousing climax to the two-day New Zealand Cross Country Championships at Spa Thermal Park in Taupo today.

The mixed club relays proved a welcome innovation to the programme of New Zealand’s pinnacle winter event as the athletes fully embraced the inaugural event by each completing two 1km loops at the attractive venue.

In the premier senior race, Wellington Harriers AC (Callum Stewart, Esther George, Sarah Drought and Nathan Tse) powered to the gold medal in a slick 27:06 – to finish 26 seconds clear of Lake City AC in silver. In a tight-fought battle for bronze, Queenstown Athletics in 27:50 edged Feilding Moa by a six-second margin.

A scorching first 2km leg from Damien Lardner (6:10) ensured Feilding Moa Harriers held the early advantage, however by the conclusion of leg two Lake City AC held sway courtesy of a blistering leg from national U20 women’s silver medallist Hannah Gapes.

However, early into the second 1km lap on the penultimate leg Drought, who finished sixth in the senior women’s race on Saturday, assumed control for Wellington Harriers and pouring on the gas by the conclusion of leg three the team held a sizeable advantage. On the anchor leg, Nathan Tse would not be denied as Wellington Harriers claimed the inaugural title.

In the under-20 mixed relay, an Athletics Nelson team comprising Josh Fitzgerald, U16 national champion Amelia Clark, Brooke Bowen and Josh Gill – claimed the gold medal in 27:28 by more than a minute from silver medallists Pakuranga AC.

A crack team from Queenstown Athletics (James McLeay, Siena Mackley, Kennedy Taylor and Jude Deaker) claimed a comprehensive victory in the U18 event, recording a combined time of 28:06. Trentham United Harriers (29:22) and Egmont AC (29:32) picked up the minor medals.

An Owairaka AC quartet comprising a mix of young, emerging female runners and classy masters performers, proved too strong for the rest in the composite relay. The quartet of Simon Mace, Bella Earl, Sasha Letica and Nick Moore covered the eight 1km laps in a combined 27:46 to finish clear of Auckland City Athletics (28:05). Athletics Nelson (28:53) filled the final spot on the podium for bronze.

A slick Pakuranga AC quartet took out the U16 race by a margin of 23 seconds from Athletics Tauranga, registering a time of 28:53. Feilding Moa Harriers rounded out the podium for bronze (30:50).

Wellington Scottish secured victory in the masters +35 in a combined time of 34:57 with Feilding Moa Harriers edging a tight battle for silver from Wanganui Harriers by eight seconds.

Clubs from the capital dominated the masters +50 race as Wellington Scottish earned the bragging rights from Wellington Harriers in a competitive battle. Scottish – containing 1996 Olympian Anne Hare – covered the total distance in 32:31 more than a minute-and-a-half quicker than their cross-town town rivals. Wanganui Harriers filled the final rung of the medal podium in 34:31.

For full results go here