New Zealand Cross Country Championships, Spa Thermal Park – 29 July 2023
Anneke Arlidge staged a tremendous final assault on the final hill to close in on race leader Sarah Drought and then run her down on the flat section to the finish. Arlidge ran herself completely out to claim her first national cross country title adding it to the two steeplechase titles won in the last two track championships in Wellington. Annika Pfitzinger national half marathon champion in 2017 surged up over the closing stages to claim the silver medal ahead of a tiring Drought.
Arlidge said that she spent most of the race trying to hold on and it took until the final 800m for her to believe she could win.
“I felt really good for the first 4km but the 3km loops are a bit hillier, so I kind of died in the middle portion but I just hung on to Katrina (Andrew) which was lucky. I then had a little bit more at the end.
“I got some feedback from the supporters that Sarah was starting to struggle up the hill. But even after I passed her I still knew I had some of the girls behind me, so I knew I had a bit of a sprint on. I’ve never won a national cross country before – it is very special,” she said.
Cameron Avery was all class over the second half of the senior men 10km. After holding back behind pace maker Michael Voss, Avery eased into the lead 4km into the race and was totally in control to finish in 31:01. Last year on the same course he was second in 31:37, 13 seconds behind Matthew Taylor.
Avery said it was a great crowd and day for the championships.
“No cross country race is comfortable, but I did feel good going into the day and I knew if I had enough of a lead on the last lap, it is a hard course to pull back on. So I shut it down a bit just to make sure I didn’t roll an ankle or anything,” he said.
Oliver O’Sullivan outclassed the masters over 8km in 26:48, 1:33 faster than his winning time last year. After leading for the majority of the race Steve Rees-Jones was second in 27:07, three seconds ahead of Simon Mace.
Lisa Cross blitzed the master women’s field covering the 6km in 22:31. Sarah Gardner was second in 23:52 and 60 year old Sally Gibbs third in 24:26. Last year Lisa Cross won the senior women 10km in 36:44 and just over three hours after the masters race she finished fifth in the senior women in 37:43.
The Para under 14 3km event was taken out by Taranaki’s Sasha Al Dazhani in 16:14.
Senior 10km: Cameron Avery (Canterbury) 31m 1s 1, David Lee (Canterbury) 31m 19s 2, Michael Voss (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 31m 37s 3.
Masters 8km: Oliver O’Sullivan (Otago) 26m 48s 1, Steve Rees-Jones 27:07, Simon Mace (Auckland) 27m 10s 3.
Under-20 8km: Christian De Vaal (Auckland ) 25m 17s 1, Jamie Mora (Auckland) 25m 59s 2, Matt Hill (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 26m 22s 3.
Under-18 6km: Angus Sevier (Canterbury) 19m 1sm 1, Daniel Prescott (Canterbury) 19m 5s 2, Caleb Wagener (Auckland) 19m 5s 3.
Under-16 4km: Ben Oxford (Pakuranga) 12m 51s 1, Sam Ruthe (Tauranga) 13m 1s 2, Jake Lomas (Hamilton) 13m 13s 3.
Under-14 3km: Jacob Williams (Hutt Valley) 10m 10s 1, Matthew Meiklejohn (Trentham) 10m 26s 2, Jack Stirling (Hamilton) 10m 40s 3.
Senior 10km: Anneke Arlidge (Auckland) 37m 23s 1, Annika Pfitzinger (Tasman) 37m 28s 2, Sarah Drought (Wellington) 37m 33s 3.
Masters 6km: Lisa Cross (Auckland) 22m 31s 1, Sarah Gardner (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 23m 52s 2, Sally Gibbs (Manawatu Whanganui) 24m 26s 3.
Under-20 6km: Catherine Lund (Otago) 21m 54s 1, Boh Ritchie (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 22m 42s 2, Zara Geddes (Otago) 22m 50s 3.
Under-18 5km: Kate McHardy (Wellington) 18m 31s 1, Siena Mackley (Southland) 18m 50s 2, Kate Currie (Canterbury) 19m 2s 3.
Under-16 4km: Lisa Hellyer (ACA) 14m 24s 1, Imogen Barlow (Pakuranga) 14m 28s 2, Scarlett Robb (ACA) 14m 39s 3.
Under-14 3km: Zoe Hilton (Trentham) 11m 37s 1, Leah Marais (Pakuranga) 11m 38s 2, Ray Zhang (Owairaka) 11m 43s 3.
New Zealand Mixed Cross Country Relay Championships, Spa Thermal Park – 30 July 2023
Following her win in the senior women’s championship the day before Anneke Arlidge anchored the North Harbour Bays team to victory in the senior mixed relay, consisting of four times 2km run in order male, female, male, female). Athletics Tauranga won the under 20 and under 18 relays, Pakuranga the under 16 and in the masters, TTT Runners 35-39, Wellington Scottish 50-64 and Egmont Athletics 65+.
Elliott Pugh ran the 2km lap in 5:46 and Sarah Drought 6:38.
Results 8km Relays:
Senior; North Harbour Bays (Matthew Arnold, Brigid Dennehy, Ryan Williams, Anneke Arlidge) 26m 1s 1, Wellington Harrier Athletic (Liam Chesney, Saskia Cosgrove Drayton, Daniel Clendon, Sarah Drought) 26m 22s 2, Feilding Moa (George Varney, Hayle Cornwall, Andre le Pine-Day, Tessa Webb) 26m 27s 3.
Under 20; Athletics Tauranga (Callum Murray, Charo Heijnen, Matt Hill, Lulu Johnson) 26m 14s 1, Auckland City Athletic (Benjamin Rickerby, Samantha Korck, Angus Monro, Sophie Robb) 27m 32s 2, Oratia (Jack Snedden, Stella Hammond, Thomas Forest-Dawson, Hazel Cook) 29m 54s 3.
Under 18; Athletics Tauranga (George Wyllie, Ella Smart, Elliott Pugh, Maia Poutawera) 26m 29s 1, Olympic Harriers and Athletic (Max Doherty, Amy McHardy, Connor Kemp, Kate McHardy) 26m 37s 2, Feilding Moa (Alex Ball, Lucy Mclean, Jacob Lean, Courtney Fitzgibbon) 27m 11s 3.
Under 16; Pakuranga (Ben Oxford, Imogen Barlow, Christian Geldenhuys, Morgan Day) 27m 22s 1, Athletics Tauranga (Corban Holmes, Eleanor Pugh, Sam Ruthe, Daisy Ruthe) 27m 33s 2, Trentham (Caleb Rice, Zoe Hilton, Matthew Meiklejohn, Madison Wos) 28m 40s 3.
Masters 35-49; TTT Runners (James Kuegler, Pip Tuckey, Alan Houghton, Lisa Cross ) 28m 55s 1, Wellington Scottish (Hiro Tanimoto, Ayesha Shafi, Stephen Day, Emily Solsberg) 29m 23s 2, Wanganui Harriers (Brendon Sharratt, Bex Sharratt, Gen Foo, Sally Gibbs) 29m 54s 3.
Masters 50-64; Wellington Scottish (Jim Jones, Anne Hare, Peter Stevens, Heather Walker) 31m 45s 1, Olympic Harriers and Athletic (Darren Gordan, Jan Sheppard, Craig Holden, Michelle Van Looy) 33m 16s 2, Lake City (Peter Caudwell, Karyn Mccready, Bruce Edwards, Andrea Gallaher) 33m 42s 3.
Masters 65+; Egmont Athletics (Des Phillips, Joy Baker, Alan Jones, Karen Gillum-Green) 44m 51s 1.