Slippery trail greets runners

Under-18 girls' section winner Kennedy Taylor leads a group through a muddy patch during the Southland Cross Country Championships at Waimumu on Saturday. Photo: Joanne Hall

A CLEAN pair of heels?

No? How about a muddy pair of heels?

That sums up what Otago visitor Janus Staufenberg showed Southland runners at a slippery and muddy Waimumu course for the Southland Cross Country Championships.

In the muddiest part of the course, the problem wasn’t keeping shoes clean, it was keeping them on.

Staufenberg, an international triathlete and sub-30 minute 10km runner (from Clyde to Alexandra) made the trip from Dunedin to gain a bit of extra race practise before the national champs in a month’s time.

His 34 minutes 17 seconds over the 9km course was an impressive 2min 43sec lead on Queenstown’s Benjamin Britton, no mean runner himself, who took the Southland senior men’s title as Staufenberg is from Otago.

Britton very narrowly headed Fiordland’s Dwight Grieve, who won the master’s grade gold medal with Kelvin Meade (Invercargill) silver and Craig Iversen the bronze.

The Fiordland pair of Neville Thorne and Richard Ford were senior men silver and bronze medal winners respectively.

The women’s trophy went to New Zealand World Mountain Running representative Sarah Douglas. Nicole Jackson (W45, Inv) was first home in the masters women 6km, with Debbie Telfer (W60, Inv) next.

A feature of the champs was the winning margins in the younger grades.

Jude Deaker (Queenstown) won the under-16 boys 3km by nearly a minute.

Kimberley Iversen (Inv) had a more than comfortable winning lead in the under-16 girls, James McLeay (St Pauls) won the under-18 boys 6km by 1min 20sec and Kennedy Taylor (StP) the under-18 girls by more than 2min.

The exception was the under-14 3km where Lewis Blay (StP) and Bea Christie (Inv) had to work hard for their gold medals.

The under-10 2km saw Lucas Necas (Qtwn) and Amanda Cruickshank first boy and first girl.