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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

2010 National XC Champs Waikanae

Ths is Grace McConnochie from Gisborne, the 15 year old winner of the Girls 16 race. At last year's championships she finished 7th in her grade, so the 10 second winning margin this year is a great improvement.

The photo above shows a sprightly Len Wilson clearing the first hurdle on the Waikanae course. He was one of four individuals who were in the 75-79 year old Masters grade and no doubt there would have been a keen tussle amongst this group of gentleman for supremacy.

Len is a member of the Auckland Technical Club although these days he is based in Thames. He has completed in all of his club's XC Championship races for the last 62 years and has missed few if any of the Auckland Centre XC championship events.

Alan Stevens, the eminent patron of Scottish Harriers, says that when he was competing, Len Wilson was always in the veteran events. He recalled that his initial contact with Len was through his father Tom Wilson. Tom was a member of the 1928 NZ team that competed in Australia and "lived to a ripe old age". Alf Stevens, Alan's father knew Tom well when he was a member of the Olympic Club in Wellington. According to Alan, Tom’s brother Peter was a real character in the sport.

It would be great if next year, the NZRun video team got some interview footage of Len and his competitive mates, because I am sure they would have some great stories to tell.

The photo is of Aucklander Alex Parlane, the winner of the 2010 Senior Men’s XC Championship 12k race. Alex is a first year senior and the title win has capped off a very successful winter season for him. The fence he is jumping over is at the top of the Waikanae course and is just before the long downhill section. In wet and greasy conditions the fence can be a hazard to shipping and a few weeks ago during the Wellington XC champs a few competitors came to grief on this particular obstacle. In his Dominion Post interview, Alex described his jumping skill on the last few laps as "like a granny", which to some extent is evidenced by the other photos. Regardless of any hurdling imperfections, he won the race easily and that is a significant achievement. Well done Alex!

Results for other Parlane performances can be found at Coach Dave Drummonds website click here

If we are comparing hurdling techniques, this is how Hamish Carson does it.

When considering good performances on the day, we can't forget the success of Matt Baxter (Taranaki) who easily won the Men 16 race. I understand that Matt may be related to Robbie Baxter, a member of the powerful 80's New Plymouth road relay team that included Paul Ballinger and Gerald & Max Dratvitzki.

Who could ignore this smiling lass photographed in the12yo girls 2km race at the back of the course where the background and light were just right.