DWIGHT Grieve’s coach called him the strength of Southland distance running.
Grieve proved it at last weekend’s Southland Road Running Championships in his home town of Te Anau, but not without a fight from a distance running future star, Queenstown’s Benny Britton.
Grieve and Britton ran pace for pace for 9.5km of the 10km race but in the last half lap, Grieve inched out a slight advantage.
It was a case of age and experience over youth, with Grieve 43 years to Britton’s 19.
Even so, as Grieve put it, “he didn’t surrender”.
The gap at the end of the five-lap course through Te Anau’s centre was a mere 27 seconds with third, Scott Underhay (Fiordland), a further 1min 41sec back.
Underhay, however, collected the masters’ men’s gold as Grieve chose to run in the open division. Craig Iversen (Invercargill) was second in the masters, just ahead of Richard Forde (Fiordland) who took the senior men’s bronze.
The event was organised by Fiordland’s Shaun Cantwell (Grieve’s coach), ably supported by Fiordland club members, so the win along with local medallists Forde, Underhay and Garry Kirkman (men over-60 winner) plus Lee Grieve and Fiona Hishon (masters’ women’s first and second) was very much a home town triumph.
Jude Deaker and Dylan Collins, both from the Queenstown club, took the top two places in the under-15 boys’ 4km, Kimberley Iversen (Invercargill) the under-15 girls, while Corvin O’Rourke (St Pauls) headed off Atlas Kerr (Invercargill) for M18 honours.
Sadie Wech (Invercargill) had little trouble winning the W18 6km.
The teams’ trophy (best four finishers in 10km) went to Fiordland.