Athletics Nelson Eric Verstappen said earlier in the week that he had booked the sun and he delivered. At the mid day start it was very warm as runners got under way, with the SM-59yrs starting at the Motueka highway and juniors, women and M60+ at Shaggery Rd for a shorter 7.2km, 850m vertical gain race. The start of the 14.4km, 1330m vertical, long course is relatively flat, winding its way up a gentle forestry road, only climbing around 400m in the first 7km.
At the start of the race a pack of 6 quickly established itself, with a smaller chase group. Almost as quickly as these groups formed, they became strung out. The lead pack was down to 5, made up of last years ANZ champ Dougan Butler of Hawea Athletics, the Wellington Scottish duo of Stephan Day and former NZ rep Glenn Hughes, UC’s Blair McWhirter and now local lad Phil Costley. Around 4km in this pack was no longer, with Phil taking control and the young Dougan Butler giving chase, while the race for 3rd place being battled for among the Scottish lads. Past the Shaggery Rd the course steepens dramatically and it was here that Day made a break, putting around 20-30 meters on Hughes. Glenn slowly pulled this back and the order remained this to Mt Campbell’s 1330m summit, with Phil Costley claiming his 31st SM NZ title!
While the men’s race saw a veteran of NZ mountain running claim the win, the woman’s race could not have been a bigger contrast. Yes, Italy’s Antonella Confortola took line honers in a solid 45min30, it was Hannah Newbould that claimed the ANZ title for 2012. Hannah, who is more at home on the track, turned out for her race as a senior woman and her first ever mountain running race taking out the win over older and more experienced competition. Great to see Hannah not afraid of mixing it up!
Phil Costley post race interview
Hannah Newbound post race interview
New Zealand mountain running legend Jonathan Wyatt was also on the slopes of Mt Campbell supporting the event, unable to race having recently had surgery on his knee. Jono did manage to get out for a run on the course, cheering on his wife, Antonella, and other racers as they summited Mt Campbell. At prize giving Jono offered his services as team manger for the NZ team at this years World Mountain Running Championships, to be held in Italy. Jono is now based in Italy I would say those who make the trip to the worlds will be in good hands. Jono also presented the medals at prize giving which was a nice touch.