Celebrity ‘nails’ win at Tasman Centre Cross Country Championships

Caleb Pearson was not just a celebrity runner in Saturday’s Tasman Centre Cross Country Championships. He was a celebrity winner.
Pearson won’t receive the attention as he did in winning The Block in 2013, but his effort shows how far he has come in running. Pearson didn’t even run in high school while growing up in Auckland. Still, the house renovator hammered (pun intended) the opposition in the 10km seniors race.
Pearson crossed the finish line after his five 2km loops of the Richmond Showgrounds course in 35:04, 37 seconds ahead of runner up Chris Sharland. Donald Hilson was third in 36:47.
Pearson lives in Richmond with his wife and two children, including Alek whom he jogged the Boys Under 12 race prior to setting off with the 52 other runners in various age grades 16 and over. He and Alice have started their 10th house renovation project since earning his celebrity acclaim.
Katheryn Bunckenberg of Wellington won the women’s 8km race in 32:57.
The National Academy of Distance Running had a strong showing in the boys 16 grade, which is a new division started by Athletics New Zealand.  Matt Bowen grabbed the lead early in the 4km race and sped away to victory in 13:05 – well ahead of teammates Josh Gill, Fenlon Bayley, Oliver McCormack, and Henry Grab.
The Academy runners will compete next in the New Zealand Cross Country Championships in Upper Hutt on August 4.
Full results of the Tasman Champs can be found at athletics.nelson.co.nz.