News & Updates

15 July 2021 • Road

Why you should enter the national road race champs

Tokyo-bound Camille Buscomb claimed the 2020 road race national title (Photo: Michael Dawson)

Entries are now open for the 2021 New Zealand Road Race Championships which take place in Hamilton on September 5. We chat to organising committee member Steve Rees-Jones to find out the appeal and attraction of this year’s event.

The course

Any quality road running event should have a good course and in Mystery Creek, the event organisers from the Waikato Bay of Plenty region have unearthed a cracker.

Set in 114 hectares with its many wide-open roads at the Mystery Creek Events Centre, the course on 1km and 2km loops will hold widespread appeal for road runners.

“We took that same approach as we did in 2018 when the region last hosted the event at St. Peter’s School, Cambridge,” explains Steve, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Athletics Executive Officer. “Then, we went for a varied and interesting course (maybe not a fast course) and again this year we took the approach of finding a fast and flowing course with a small amount of elevation changes to keep it interesting and only a couple of tighter turns.

“In addition, we have greatly improved what we are offering race walkers from three years ago, with a completely flat out and back course which should provide them with the opportunity to chase fast times. It presents a nice mix and has all the ingredients of a good course.

“We only agreed to host the event when we had established that we could provide a great course for the athletes. I have run the course myself and I think that athletes will enjoy the challenge of competing at the Mystery Creek venue.”

Timing

After last year’s Covid-delayed national road race championships which took place in November, this year the annual event reverts to its traditional early September slot.

For Steve, this is near perfect timing on the endurance running calendar.

“It is situated halfway between the New Zealand Cross Country Championships and national road relays. The road champs are also two weeks out from the New Zealand Half Marathon Championships, so it should be good preparation for anyone intent on racing in Cambridge.”

Enjoy a dummy run

For those seeking a hit out on the national course at Mystery Creek, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Road Race Champs will be held at the venue some two weeks prior to nationals on August 22.

The event will act as a test run for nationals but also serve as an opportunity to check out the course.

“If anyone wants to run the course, even for those outside the Waikato Bay of Plenty region, they are welcome to do so.”

Spectator friendly

The event will also be ideal for any spectators viewing the action as they will be able to see a large section of the course.

“It will be on open roads, so for the first kilometre of the 2km loop spectators will be able to see everything,” he adds. “There is only a small section of the course which will be obscured.”

Accessibility

Less than a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Auckland, Mystery Creek is also easily accessible for many in other parts of the country.

The course is just 2km from Hamilton Airport which offers late direct flights on a Sunday to Wellington and Christchurch, making it a convenient option for many.

Standing on the shoulders of giants

The event has a long and proud history. Past winners of the senior men’s title include 1974 Commonwealth 10,000m champion Dick Tayler and 1976 Olympic 5000m silver medallist Dick Quax. Former senior women’s gold medallists include 1982 Commonwealth 3000m champion Anne Audain and 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medallist Lorraine Moller. The reigning senior women’s champion is Tokyo-bound distance ace Camille Buscomb.

Meanwhile, the reigning national 20km race walk champion is 2018 Commonwealth 20km silver medallist Alana Barber.

Please click here to enter the 2021 New Zealand Road Race Championships.

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