THE Southland Road Championships were held in perfect racing conditions with a little breeze and a cool day in Te Anau on Saturday.
The return to Alert Level 2 made it possible for the Fiordland Athletics Club to host the sixth annual event, after it was postponed due to lockdown in August.
Club captain and masters athlete Dwight Grieve claimed overall first place in the 10km road
championship, also taking the masters men 35-49 title, in 33min 29sec, second was Benny Britton, of Queenstown (33.34), and third was Craig Iversen, of Invercargill (34.15).
Grieve beat Britton in the last 300m, winning by 5sec.
Grieve said even with participant numbers down, it was great to get out and race.
‘‘It was even better to have a very tough race. We ran the last 5km in 16.29 minutes with a 3.06 minute last km, which translates into fast and tough with a fair amount of pain. Neither Benny or myself were willing to give up.’’
For the third consecutive year, the Southland senior men’s team title went to Fiordland (Grieve, Richard Ford, Neville Thorne and Sagar Khemani) with Invercargill (Iverson, Jason Russel, Sarn Hunniset and Tyrone Lake) second.
‘‘The Fiordland club managed a three-peat with both cross country and road championship team titles three years in a row. But Invercargill club is currently looking very strong with a big turnout.’’
With the course only having a 2m vertical gain/drop in the 2km lap, it made for a fast course, he said.
‘‘It was very much appreciated how locals and visitors alike supported runners all around the course. With Covid-19 at level 2 in place, the support seemed to be everywhere around the loop instead of just the finish. Yet again the amazing support of our local community made the race happen,’’ Grieve said.
In the open women 10km championships, first went to Virginia Pile, of Invercargill (43.04).
Debbie Telfer, of Invercargill, won the masters women 50+ 6km race in 26.28 with the masters women 35-49 6km division won by Lisa Simpson, of Winton (30.08), with Carolyn Fox (30.09) second and Lee Grieve (35.43) third.
Runners ranging from juniors to seniors competed in races up to 10km in length, starting
from Te Anau Boat Harbour and finishing at the marina area. The course was a 2km loop which progressed along the lakefront on Te Anau Tce, turning into the town centre and then into Mokonui St.