News & Updates

1 October 2023 • Road

Whippets and Bays secure top spots at the 2023 NZ Road Relay Championships

The Whippets Running Project Team secured top club at the 2023 NZ Road Relay Championships. Photo Credit: Michael Dawson


North Harbour Bays achieved a rare double by taking first and second in the senior women’s relay at the New Zealand road relay championships at Loburn North Canterbury. The Club with strength of numbers in their ranks were able to field two evenly balanced teams for the eight lap 68km event.

Their A team of Esther Keown, Laura Nagel, Niamh De Hora, Lauren Gowland, Anna Bramley, Brigid Dennehy, Maisie Kilner and Charlotte Greenwood finished just 42 seconds ahead of the B team.

In retaining the title, Bays have now won the championship 12 times, their first coming in 1997 on the Takehe to Akaroa course. Team captain Dennehy said it was a close and exciting finish, “We were in third after the first leg, Laura Nagel brought us into second on the next lap and Niamh De Hora took us into the lead on the third tough hilly leg.”

They maintained the lead through the next two stages and Brigid Dennehy running leg six opened up a three minute lead on the second Bays team. On the hilly lap Holly Manning for the two team started hunting the number one team down closing in to within 40 seconds. 

“Charlotte Greenwood finished it off for us. It was a close exciting finish, I’m glad we pulled it off,” said Dennehy. Whippets rounded out the podium in third.

In the senior men’s race, The Whippets Running Project followed up their second placing last year to collect the title after leading throughout. Team captain William Little said Russell Green set the team up well on the first lap. Little maintained the lead on lap two gaining some time over defending champions University of Canterbury.

“Jacob Priddey had a good run on the hill which is a pretty tough leg and Cameron Swales ran a nice solid leg for lap four increasing our lead,” explained Little.

“Heading into lap five Jack Paine maintained the lead but UC, with Harry Ewing, were starting to come through moving up to second from fourth passing North Harbour Bays and Feilding Moa.

“We had drama at the change-over on lap six, as David Lee had forgot his number, so there was a bit of a wait at the change-over with a little bit of stress.

“But we got off alright, we got his number to him and we still had a fair bit of a lead on UC.

“David Lee ran really well his last 3km were amazing on the long leg.

“Coming from behind Daniel Balchin from UC absolutely blitzed it, recording the quickest time on the long lap.”

Next up for the Whippets was Ronan Lee, who is hill specialist.

“He ran really well over the hills and put valuable time into UC, which gave us a buffer going into the last lap.

“Ben Hamilton was just cool calm and collected on the last lap and closed it well.

“Ethan Smolej ran well for UC, but there was too much time for him to make up,” said Little.

Little added that UC were without two of their key runners . . . “I’d just like to put it out there that Chris Dryden and Oska Inkster-Baynes are away at the world half champs and if they had been running for UC, it would have been a great battle.”

“So credit to UC for putting up a strong challenge without those two guys there.”

Whippets won the 68km relay in 3:32:02, 5:15 ahead of UC, with Feilding Moa third in 3:37:37. The B grade went to University of Canterbury in 3:58:10

Whippets also won the masters in 3:53:29 for the 68km from Don Greig Racing Stables with Owairaka third. The Don Greig Stables won the master women from TTT and the over 50 master men.

Selwyn with their team of Ben Airey, Cooper Wightman, Luke Johnston, Will McMeeken, Daniel Prescott and James McLeay triumphed in the junior men’s division heading in defending champions Pakuranga.

In one of the stand club performances, Auckland City Athletics monopolised the podium taking the first three placings in the junior women. Their A team of Sophie Robb, Zara Pomfret, Grace Meredith, Nina Chalmers, Lisa Hellyer and Sarah Hellyer finished nearly seven seconds ahead of the B team.

The master women over 50 went to Wellington Scottish for the fourth championship in a row. Christchurch Avon retained the master men over 60’s title and Athletics Nelson claimed their first masters over 70 titles.

In the prestigious award for best overall club at the 2023 NZ Road Relay Championships, The Whippets Running Project came out on top after securing 54 points across the championships, just four points ahead of Don Greig Racing Stables who amassed 50 points, with Wellington Scottish and Wellington Harriers sharing third place honours accumulating 44 points each respectively.

1st                  Whippets Running Project – 54 points

2nd                 Don Greig Racing Stables – 50 points

3rd equal      Wellington Scottish & Wellington Harriers – 44 points


New Zealand Road Relay Championships 

(Loburn, Canterbury)

 Men 68km:

Whippets Running Project (Russell Green, William Little, Jacob Priddey, Cameron Swales, Jack Paine, David Lee, Ronan Lee, Ben Hamilton) 3h 32m 2s 1, University of Canterbury 3h 37m 17s 2, Feilding Moa 3h 37m 37s 3.

B Grade: University of Canterbury 3h 58m 10s 1, Victoria University 4h 3m 34s 2, Run Timaru 4h 5m 54s 3.

C Grade: David Lee Fan Club 4h 14m 41s 1, Greymouth 4h 15m 42s 2, Wellington Scottish 4h 28m 9s 3.


Women 68km:

North Harbour Bays (Esther Keown, Laura Nagel, Niamh de Hóra, Lauren Gowland, Anna Bramley, Brigid Dennehy, Maisie Kilner, Charlotte Greenwood) 4h 18m 4s 1, North Harbour Bays 2 team 4h 18m 46s 2, Whippets 4h 21m 47s 3.


Master men 68km

Whippets (Michael Wanden, Mark Boyce, Zebedee Stone, Dan Donegan, Mick Keating, Greg Darbyshire, Ryan Kiesanowski, Warrick Wood) 3h 53m 29s 1, Don Greig Racing Stables 3h 56m 8s 2, Owairaka 4h 0m 3s 3.

B Grade: TGT Goon Squad 4h 42m 1s 1, Auckland City Athletics 5h 0m 1s 2, Sexual Chocolate 5h 9m 54s 3.

Over 50: Don Greig Racing Stables 4h 17m 42s 1, Wellington Scottish 4h 19m 51s 2, Owairaka 4h 23m 49s 3.

Over 60 39km: Christchurch Avon 2h 41m 9s 1, Wellington Harrier Athletic 2h 46m 2s 2, Auckland University 2h 48m 14s 3.

Over 70 39km: Athletics Nelson 3h 7m 4s 1, Christchurch Avon 3h 12m 43s 2, Wellington HAC 3h 25m 28s 3.


Master women 68km:

Don Greig Racing Stables (Kim Drummond, Jess Winter, Annie Radecki, Nicola Handley, Rosie Hay, Kirsten Hall, Lisa Brignull, Teresa Blackmore) 4h 44m 56s 1, TTT Runners 4h 47m 5s 2, Wellington Scottish 4h 48m 59s 3.

Over 50 39km: Wellington Scottish 2h 55m 50s 1, Don Greig Racing Stables 3h 2m 5s 2, Run Timaru 3h 32m 22s 3.


Junior men 39km:

Selwyn (Ben Airey, Cooper Wightman, Luke Johnston, Will McMeeken, Daniel Prescott, James McLeay) 2h 11m 58s 1, Pakuranga 2h 12m 42s 2, Port Hills 2h 14m 28s 3.


Junior women 39km:

Auckland City Athletics (Sophie Robb, Zara Pomfret, Grace Meredith, Nina Chalmers, Lisa Hellyer, Sarah Hellyer) 2h 30m 55s 1, ACA 2 team 2h 37m 34s 2, ACA 3 team 2h 42m 45s 3.


Result link HERE