OLYMPIAN champion runner Noureddine Morceli (1996 — 1500m) once said, ‘‘When I
race my mind is full of doubts — who will finish second, who will finish third?’’
Southland runners have also been plagued with doubts during the past weeks (although different ones to Morceli).
Their doubts rested on whether they could test themselves against the country’s best.
With the Covid-19 situation as it is, hosting the national cross-country championships in Dunedin on Saturday was in doubt.
The rise in alert levels has meant the weekend’s event will still go ahead but, with Aucklanders unable to attend, it won’t be a national championship.
Instead of the Athletics New Zealand Cross Country Championships, it has been rebranded the cross-country challenge.
While winners can’t claim bragging rights of “champion”, the standard will still be high and expect some Southlanders to feature.
Prominent among them will be Jacob Boniface (U14), Kennedy Taylor and Sadie Wech in the W18, James McLeay, Samantha Fookes and Kimberley Iversen (all U16), Debbie Telfer in the W60, Dwight Grieve, Kelvin Meade and Craig Iversen in the Masters Mens grade, Gary Kirkman (M65) and Benny Britton and Gareth McCallum (M20).
Last Saturday the St Pauls club held its Street Mile along Queens Dr in Invercargill.
Many of the championship, now challenge entrants, used it as a sharpener for Saturday’s race.
Buddy Small was first home in a sharp 4 minutes 46 seconds, with Jareth McCallum close behind in 4:50, and Sadie Wech the women’s winner in 5:37, followed by Emily Hay only 9 seconds behind.