Olivia Burne from Auckland ran a well-judged race to win the women’s 10km title from cross country champion Ruby Muir (Wellington) and Penny Peskett (Auckland) who pushed defending champion Laura Nagel back to fourth place with a solid final lap. Burne ran an impressive 35:05 for the tough conditions to add the road title to the national half marathon title also won in Christchurch last June.
Nagel back from an injury that kept her out of the cross country championships, shared the early pace with Muir before Burne took control at the half way.
“There was a strong field today so I went into it expecting to just time trial it in some ways because I wasn’t sure where my fitness was at. But I wanted the pace to be honest that’s my main goal in most races and the
girls just kind of dropped off and it was a tough course and that wind was really strong and made for quite a difficult race, and as a result I’m really stoked with this win,” said Burne.
Burne only decided to race on Wednesday after her coach Barry Magee cajoled her into competing.
“He put the hard word on me on Wednesday night, and told me to snap out of it, he’s really good like that and that’s why I’m with him, he’s just such a great motivator.
“I just love road racing it’s such a wonderful experience and having the crowd and everyone in the same place at the same time,” added Burne.
She is now on to the national road relay, the Auckland half marathon and then the national half marathon championships in Kerikeri.
Wellington took out the women’s team title from Canterbury.
In one of the best races of the day Theo Quax from Auckland used his track speed to good effect in the under 20 men’s 8km. After sitting with the chasing group for much of the race, he surged away over the final lap to win from Oli Chignell (Otago) and Mitchell Small (Canterbury). Andrew Catley of Auckland went out early and built up a big lead. Christopher Dryden of Canterbury set out after him and was well clear in second over the first half.
The chasing group gathered in Catley and Dryden setting the race up for a classic last lap.
Quax said that it was a struggle to the finish.
“That last lap was real tough and I know Oli and Mitchell are really strong runners especially over the longer distances so I just had to hang on, especially with Oli pushing that last lap. It was a struggle to hang on over the final 400m and I was thankful I did. I knew who ever rounded that last corner first would come out with it so I had to push it into there,” he said.