Runners relish cross-country course

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Runner Kimberley Iversen was fastest woman in the 6.9km Southland Harriers race at the former Oreti Sands golf course, near Invercargill, on Saturday.

ORETI Sands was originally for playing “a round”, but last Saturday it was for running around.

Oreti Sands is still a sports venue but rather than a golf course it was used as a cross-country course, with Southland Harriers holding the second of its Shoe Clinic handicap races at the venue.

Runners appreciated the conditions. Firm grass underfoot led to fast running but there was still enough ups and downs to challenge and disrupt rhythm

Members of the Queenstown club must have thought so. Benny Britton was fastest over the 6.9km seniors’ course with Gareth Harcombe third; fastest girls’ time in the 2.3km junior race was recorded by Samantha Fookes with sister Abbey second and Ethan Friend best of the boys over 2.3km. All are Queenstown club members.

Invercargill club’s Kelvin Meade prevented a Queenstown senior men’s quinella by just one second, the margin he had over Harcombe.

Women’s best all went to high school runners who were preparing for the secondary school champs in Te Anau yesterday.

Thirteen-year old Kimberley Iversen had the fastest time, followed by Sadie Wech, Kennedy Taylor and Emily Hay.

But a handicap race means first over the line, and that honour went to Karen Thomson in the senior race and Kev Gerritsen just ahead of Mia Devery-Hotton in the juniors. Their wins earn them good points in the four-race, grand prix-type series.

With two races yet to be run, the series is wide open.

As with such events in the past, series winners are not decided until the final race.

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