News & Updates
Weston Hill rewrites the record books at New Zealand Trail Running Championships
Weston Hill smashed the previous race record to win the New Zealand trail running title and Katie Morgan successfully defended her women’s title on the brutal 55km three peaks plus one challenge in Dunedin.
The Upper Hutt beef and lamb farmers performance was nothing short of outstanding, winning by a margin of nearly twenty minutes and bettering Gavin Dale’s course record of 5:22.02 set last year, with a time of 4:54:48. Daniel Jones was second in 5:15:42 and American, Oak Jones from New Plymouth third in 5:19:40 ahead of Dwight Grieve 5:36:47 and Chris Bisley 5:38:25. Hill, the 2020 champion, from winning the 53km Crater Rim event in Christchurch, was apprehensive going into the race, “it was unexpected as I’ve been pretty flat all week so I was apprehensive coming down to Dunedin. I started slow but steady just to see how I was going to go, and it turned out alright.”
Weston Hill and Daniel Jones were the pre-race favourites heading into Saturday’s showdown and the race unfolded with the two individuals at the front just as expected. “Dan and I ran together up and over Flagstaff and then I led a bit down to the first aid station. We then ran together for quite a while until the main climb up Longridge where I got a gap. I then held that for much of the rest of the race,” said Hill. “I ended up breaking the record as I was running scared from Dan more than anything,” he added. The 31 year old who represented New Zealand at the world trail running championships in Thailand in November, admitted that he hadn’t had a great build up to the race, despite setting a course record of 6:04:05 at the Motatapu 52.5km Ultra run in Queenstown three weeks ago. “I’ve been working on the farm in Upper Hutt and haven’t had that many work outs, so I was happy just to survive today,” said Hill.
Katie Morgan repeated her triumph from last year, sealing a commanding victory in the women’s race. Morgan came home in 5:48:29, just over six minutes ahead of Margie Campbell with Naomi Brand third in 5:59:49. Morgan who took up trail running two years ago was pleased with the run, “it was perfect conditions, completely dry and not too hot with stunning views which were great as the day before it was all in cloud up there,” she said. “I took it easy up to Flagstaff and I let Margie and Naomi go ahead but had them in sight at the top and then the three of us were all together for quite some time. I then pulled away into the lead at Pulpit Rock and tried to keep the hammer down as Margie wasn’t too far behind me. I battled up Mount Cargill and hammered the downhill and I gave it all I had at the end.”
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