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Sunday, 28 August 2011

2011 New Zealand Road Champs, Wellington 20 Aug

The Wellington waterfront area is a popular area for locals and visitors with a high level of pedestrian activity. Because of this, holding any kind of sporting event in this area is organisationally challenging and poses hazards for athletes and the public alike. It is pleasing to report therefore that the 2011 National Road Champs turned out to be a well run and successful event enhanced by some reasonably good weather and competitive racing.

Race Director, Todd Stevens on his bike

The story below about the inspirational Michael Browne (photo above) appeared in the Dominion on 22 August.
“He's known as Methuselah to his running mates, so it was no surprise to them when Michael Browne won the 80-plus title in the New Zealand Road Championships on the Wellington waterfront.

As it turned out, he was the only athlete in his category, but the Wellington artist – who was Wellington's mile champion in 1951 – set an impressive time of 67 minutes, 21.7 seconds for the 10-kilometre course on Saturday.

"I know there are others out there my age who can run faster than me," he said. "My opponents tend to fall off the tree about now. I am getting quite used to that."

Wife Jenny has kept an eagle eye on her husband since he turned 80 in October last year. Age hasn't slowed him down much, though, despite the loss of sight in his left eye about five years ago. He still goes for a run three times a week around Point Jerningham from his home in Newtown.

He supplements his runs with regular swim sessions at the Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre.

A month ago, while out running in the company of three "beautiful young women runners" – including former world mountain running champion Melissa Moon – he was led astray, he said.

They took him into the trees on Mt Victoria. "I must admit I do have judgment problems these days. We decided we would run down the mountain running track which goes down to Hay St from the top of Mt Victoria.

"I found I could not slow down. I was running faster and faster and I knew I was going to crash. I told the girls I feel like I am flying and I don't remember much after that."

He fell among tree roots and pine needles and came to, with concussion, about three minutes later. "The ambulance people strapped me on a stretcher and took me off to A and E. At the hospital they told me, because you are older, we have to scan your brain. They scanned my brain and said, `That is very good. We could not find anything there at all'."

Since then, Mrs Browne has told her husband that cross-country running is strictly out of bounds.

And for his thrice-weekly training runs, she is on permanent standby. "I do insist on him telling me these days which way he intends to run round the peninsula.

"He's got 75 minutes. If he is not home by then, I have to be alarmed. I'm ready to go out and pick him up."


Toward the end of the racing programme a small drama occurred when the start of the walking race was disrupted by a skateboard toting Jesus Christ clone from Otaki. Unable to walk on water, or turn a 300ml bottle of beer into a keg, the guy focused on making a nuisance himself. The solution was to temporarily confiscate his skateboard and herd him out of harms way. No red squad batons needed.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

2011 Wellington Road Champs Wainuiomata Sat 7 Aug

One of two photos that exist showing Kevin Ross in action. The other one is on page 51 of John Walker's autobiography "Champion".


The only way to navigate the turnaround and come in for a safe landing

Friday, 15 July 2011

2011 Wellington XC Champs Waikanae Sat 9 Jul

A new course which apparently was a bit longer than normal. Apart from the extra hilly bits the tail enders in the senior men’s event had to contend with a hail storm, which we later discovered was and edge to a damaging tornado which hit about a 1k to port. Or is that starboard. For the new jump on the course the choice was to go this way ....

or this way!!!!

More XC photos rowang at Pbase

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

2011 Vosseler Shield Mt Victoria Wellington Sat 21 May

The Vosseler Shield races can be a problem to photograph on a heavily overcast day similar to that experience on Saturday. The problem is having sufficient light for action shots. The challenge is to find the right spot on the course that allows for a slower shutter speed than usual and an ISO setting is ideally no more than 400 with no exposure compensation. Because the races start later than they used to, the Hataiti side of Mt Victoria loses direct sunlight quite early in the afternoon. It can be extremely dull.

On a sunny day (as it was last year) there is the additional problem of backlighting and high sunlight/shade contrast. My favourite spot is slightly north of the first Alexandra Road crossing mainly because it an open area and gets direct sunlight for much longer. However when it’s bright and sunny in the spot you can see quite clearly the shaded spots mostly blocked by the trees on the city side of the hill.

The picture above shows Daniel Nixon and Evan Cooper well ahead the rest of the field on lap 1 of the Men’s 10km race. The Wellington Harrier Club duo both ran well and stuck together for most of the gruelling two lap course. Cooper finally took the win when he broke away from Nixon on a downhill section close to the finish.

Monday, 28 February 2011

2011 Nick Willis Receives His Olympic Silver Medal Feb 26

By Di O’Connell (TV3)

Olympic middle distance medallist Nick Willis was meant to receive his new Beijing silver medal in Christchurch today.

He wasn't sure relocating the medal ceremony to Wellington was the right decision but the chance to do some good settled it.

Just days after the earthquake Willis and supporters organised a track meet showcasing the Olympian against overseas runners in an elite mile race.

The US-based Kiwi won bronze at the Beijing Olympics back in 2008 but that should have been silver. Winner Rashid Ramsi was later disqualified for doping.

Today was the first ever Olympic medal presentation in New Zealand.
Willis has a newly minted silver medal, while the crowd donated their silver to the quake appeal.

An emotional Nick Willis is presented with an Olympic silver medal at Newton Park in Wellington.

There was joy and sadness at Newtown Park tonight, as Nick Willis was presented with the Olympic silver medal he'd waited 18 long months for.

Third over the line in the men's 1500 metres at the 2008 Beijing games, Willis was eventually elevated to second after winner Rashid Ramzi tested positive for a banned substance.

But while the record books were altered to reflect Willis' increase in status, he never had the hardware to show for it until tonight. And what more fitting venue than Wellington's Newtown Park, the track where the Hutt Valley boy made his name.

Upon being presented with the his medal by International Olympic Committee member Barry Maister, in a reprise of a games ceremony, Willis punched the air several times before kissing the silverware the crowd of a couple of thousand had all come to see.

As appropriate as Newtown Park was, it shouldn't be forgotten that it was not the original venue for tonight's festivities. That, of course, was Christchurch's QE II Stadium, now one of many sporting facilities in the city damaged by Tuesday's earthquake.

"I've just left my home in Wellington this afternoon and my home is still full of my family and my friends from Christchurch,'' said Maister, himself a gold medallist at the 1976 Olympic Games.

"And as a Cantab, their insights have left a harrowing imprint in my mind because it has brought it [Tuesday's earthquake] to a very real level.''

Maister said the natural response to an event like Tuesday's is to do something and to bring people together. Willis had done both tonight, he said, and deserved the highest praise.

As he did for the run which earned him his original medal in Beijing.

"I was one of 90,000 people in the Bird's Nest [stadium] in Beijing,'' Maister said.

"I was with a small group of New Zealanders, cheering ourselves hoarse and scarcely able to believe that that black singlet was working its way through the field in those final 400 metres.

"It was an amazing night and an amazing and proud moment for New Zealand sport.''

Those at Newtown Park tonight might venture that having an Olympic medal presented on these shores for the first time was pretty special too.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

2011 Iron Maiden Supports Scottish

Actually the headline should really read Iron Maiden Has Scottish Fan. Not that being a fan of the band is an issue but it would be quite rare to see a band logo on the back of any running singlet let alone Iron Maiden. The band previously toured here in 2009 and in 2011 are returning to Australia to play 7 concerts between 23 February and 7 March . A Facebook page click herehas been set up by fans to get them to play a concert in NZ but so far nothing seems to have come of getting Ed Force One to land in NZ again. What worked for Christchurch Metallica fans may not work for Iron Maiden.

Monday, 17 January 2011

2011 World XC Trial Trentham Sat 15 Jan

This was a dismal affair in terms of turnout. In the women’s race there were four starters with seven in the men’s race.

It’s unclear why there was such low interest in the event but it does raise a question about the usefulness of the trial. It would be fitting if all of those eligible athletes who finished the trial were selected, after all they have to pay their own way. The final results are as follows:

Senior Women
1. Penny Peskett PAKU 28.13
2. Sarah Biss HAWK 28.22
3. Nicole Feest COLO 28.40
4. Fiona Crombie UCAN 29.18

Senior Men
1. Daniel Wallis WSCO 39:29
2. Adam Carlson HVHC 39:43
3. James Couborough WSCO 39:53

0. Glenn Hughes WSCO DNF
0. Dave Parsons WSCO DNF
0. Todd Stevens WSCO DNF
0. Hayden Shearman WSCO DNF

Here is an opinion piece written by Daniel Wallis in 2010 about NZ's current involment in the World XC Champs. I wonder if anything at all has changed. click here

Photos show the race winners Penny Peskett and Daniel Wallis