RUNNERS are at last racing.
The Southland Harriers cross-country season got under way last Saturday with the first of the Shoe Clinic Handicap series runs around Fosbender Park.
The lockdown hit all sports hard, cross-country running included, but runners had a silver lining – they could still train.
With running an individual sport, lacing up a pair of running shoes and heading off for a solo training run is good for you – Government said so.
More importantly, a runner could train and, with no races, had more opportunities to get better.
That was the plan anyway. Did it work?
The tracks around the tough Fosbender Park course provided some answers. While a few runners spent lockdown profitably training, a few found they had work to do.
The 8km race around the tracks and trails saw newcomer Virginia Pile take line honours followed a few seconds later by early starter Les Scown, with Veronica Baird third in her first harrier race.
Pile ran a smart race, gradually making up ground on the early starters while managing to hold off the faster, late starting runners chasing her down.
Fastest times went to World Mountain Champs representative Buddy Small in a smart 31 minutes 21 seconds, followed by the best battle of the race between 17-year-old Jarreth McCullum and masters aged Craig Iversen.
In this case younger legs prevailed, with McCullum winning the final sprint to grab second by 2sec.
Fastest women’s time went to youngsters Kennedy Taylor (15), Kimberley Iversen (13) and Sadie Wech (16).
While in different age groups, all three are targeting the Southland Secondary School Champs cross-country in two weeks’ time.
In the junior 3km race, Finlay Collard was fastest with Stan Hunter second and Jack Davidson third.
Te Anau’s Nicole Green was best of the girls, followed by Tara Simpson and Zoe Muir.
Next in the series will be at the Oreti Sands Golf Course in Otatara on June 27.