Above: Laura Nagel wins the NZ 10km Road title in Masterton. Photo by Jo Murray/Athletics Wellington.
Canterbury’s Daniel Balchin and Laura Nagel from Hawkes Bay took out the senior titles at the New Zealand 10km Road Championships in Masterton.
Balchin was near the front for the ten-lap men’s race and put in an early surge to test the field after four laps. After six laps the leading bunch was down to five with Balchin, Caden Shields (Otago), Jono Jackson (Auckland), Nick Rennie (Canterbury) and Michael Banks (Auckland) fighting for the title.
With one lap to run the two South Islanders Balchin and Shields shook off the others and set about a titanic contest that was only settled in the final metres with Balchin finally shaking off a tenacious Shields to take his first national winter title in 31:43 to go with his four senior track titles over 3000m and 3000m steeplechase.
Shields finished second in 31:47 and national cross country champion Jono Jackson held on for third place in 32:02.
Laura Nagel, winner of the national 10km cross country titles four weeks earlier stamped her intentions on the women’s race early in the 10k event, clearing out from Lydia O’Donnell and Sally Gibbs. She extended the lead on each lap and won comfortably in 35:14.
O’Donnell finished second in 35:46 and Katie Kemp finished strongly for third in 36:08.
Michael Voss (Waikato Bay of Plenty) retained his Under 20 men’s 8km in 26:44, moving further away from the field as the race progressed to win easily from a fast finishing Cantabrian Sean Eustace 26:57 and Stefan Przychodzko from Wellington 26:58. Voss had been ill during the week and appreciated the slow start to the race before applying the pressure and splitting the field apart.
Kelsey Forman (Wellington) won the women’s under 20 5km title in 19:29.
Hannah O'Connor (Taranaki) added yet another title to her big collection, taking out the under 18 women’s 5km race in 17:35 with a dominant performance over Tessa Webb (Manawatu Wanganui) 18:20 and Grace Ritchie (Waikato BoP) 18:40.
Mitchell Small from Canterbury won the under 18 men’s 6 km in after a solid tussle with James Uhlenberg (Auckland) and Isaiah Priddey (Waikato BoP). Priddey had the misfortune to trip on the final lap while Small applied pressure to move ahead of the Aucklander. Max Karamanolis (Wellington) took advantage of Priddey’s fall and grabbed third place.
The Waikato BoP Masters pairing of Steve Rees-Jones and Sally Gibbs showed a clean pair of heels in their respective races to take the titles. Rees-Jones repeated his 2015 victory over 10km win a run of 33:42, while Gibbs was the winner in the masters women 5km in 17:52.
Laura Langley had an outstanding win in the women’s 10km race walk in a personal best of 50:26, over 2 minutes faster that the men’s winner Mike Parker in 53:02.
Finlay Seeds and Charli Miller were winners of the boys and girls under 15 3km races respectively, repeating their NZ Cross Country results while the under13 races were won by Jack Julian and Maia Wilkinson.