"Throw away your 10-function chronometer, heart-rate monitor with the computer printout, training log, high-tech underwear, pace charts, and laboratory-rat-tested-air-injected-gel-lined-mo-tion-control-top-of-the-line footwear. Run with your own imagination." - Lorraine Moller
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The start lists for this event have now been published and
as one would expect numbers are low.
Astonishingly ANZ have a goal of increasing
entries for established championship events by a whopping 5% each year for the
next five years or so. Talk about ambitious, but I digress.
I imagine that later this week ANZ will publish a preview (this has now been published see link above) of
how they see the various races unfolding but now that entries have closed I
thought I might give you my thoughts.
The Senior Women’s race has 19 starters – there were 12 entries
in 2016 at Masterton.
My bet is that ANZ
will predict the race to be fought out by Laura Nagel who is the current Nat SW
road champ and Ruby Muir the current Nat SW XC champ.
We know that Ruby is race
fit but I am not sure what Laura has been doing lately. Nagel didn’t line up
for the Nat XC champs in Auckland even though she had entered.
So the question is
whether Ruby has the speed on the road to match the undoubted strength she has
on the off-road.
And when it comes to the XC in Auckland then Penny Peskett should
to be mentioned, the bold masters grade Aucklander who was the only one to
challenge Muir. And as onlookers will tell you she looked dangerously dangerous
on the last couple of laps as she started to close on Muir.
Three other names
to chuck into the mix are Esther Keown, Olivia Burne and masters queen Sally
In the Senior Men’s race 37 athletes will line up. There were 24 in 2016.
The first thing to note is that neither the current Nat XC champ Craig Lautenslager nor Jono Jackson will be there.
So it looks like Mr Reliable, Daniel
Balchin the current Nat Road champ will be favoured to win again but then he will be up against Aaron Pulford (Waikato/Bay of Plenty) who ran a 65.35 half marathon on the Gold Coast in July
So who else could challenge? Maybe Caden Shields from Otago who also ran a 65.42 half marathon just behind Pulford in July or Oska Baynes (Canterbury) who ran 66 03 in the same race.
Dark horses could be Nick Horspool and the road running specialists Wreford
brothers from Timaru.
The team’s race looks like a toss- up between Canterbury and
Wellington. Could be interesting.
I note that former Scottish A team superstar Craig Kirkwood is also
running but he may just be there to get in some road relay practice. Or maybe to cheer
on the current Senior Boys Secondary Schools and National U18 XC champ Sam Tanner
who he coaches.