Cross-country run has a long history

Invercargill club athlete Lucas Huia (14) shows good jumping form at the Gore cross-country race held in Gore on Saturday. Lucas finished 6th overall. Photo Supplied

THE Gore cross-country has been a fixture on the Southland running calendar for 66 years.

The first event was won by Ivan Stark, who went on to become a noted coach.

Stark featured 66 years later at a prizegiving, where he was presented with a service to sport award for his significant contribution to his club and athletics in Southland.

The race run on Saturday, was won by Invercargill club’s Kelvin Meade, who grabbed the lead in the last few metres of the handicapped 5.4km race.

With the win, Meade received the Clutterbuck Cup, a trophy which also recognises a Southland coaching stalwart, Reg Clutterbuck.

Emily Hay, of St Paul’s, won the Jones Cup for first woman, finishing second overall.

Hay sprinted hard up the finishing straight and made up many places but was unable to reel in the fast-finishing Meade.

While Meade won on handicap, the fastest time went to Benjamin Britton, of the Queenstown club, with 18.49 for the 5.4km.

St Paul’s runner James McLeay (15) recorded second fastest with 19.22.

Even though the course was flat and relatively firm, it was peppered with jumps which tested the agility of all runners.

A pleasing feature was the number of youngsters recording fast times in the 5.4km event as well as McKenzie Napier and Lewis Blay in the under-16 4km race.