Thanks to Jacinda Ardern, the National of Academy of Distance Running members were able to take part in Saturday’s Tasman Centre Cross Country Championships at Rabbit Island. And they took full advantage of the opportunity.
The evening before the race, the New Zealand Prime Minister announced that the Covid 19 alert level would remain at 2. Level 2 allows for events that have less than 100 participants and spectators. The Tasman meet barely fell into that category.
This was an important race for academy runners in their preparation for the New Zealand Cross Country Championships in Dunedin on August 29. Four of the runners who will be representing Tasman Centre at nationals showed their nationals medal potential in their first 6km race. Matt Bowen held a 100m lead after the second of the three 2km loops and then held off the fast-closing Josh Gill and Josh Fitzgerald to win by three seconds in 20:44. Oliver McCormack was 4th in 21:33.
Fletcher Pickworth ran with the senior men’s 10km winner for most of his 8km M20 race, claiming the title in 25:58. Fenlon Bayley ran one of his best-ever cross country races, winning the M16 4K race in 13:38 from Danyon Oaks and Noah Richards.
Heidi Stephens and Amelia Clark had a good tussle with Year 8 runner Mia Cain-Townley, who took out the W14 3km race in 10:36. Stephens and Clark followed up in second and third, respectively.