Malcolm Hicks overcame a strong challenge from Ben Ashkettle to win the national road title in Dunedin on Saturday.
Held over a tight 2km circuit Hicks was content to stay with the pack over the first three laps. Going into the final lap Hicks upped the pace and held off Ashkettle by two seconds to win the 10km event in 30:18. Daniel Balchin was third in 30:34 with Canterbury team mate Callan Moody fourth in 30:41.
In only his third race this winter Hicks said it was great to do the double. “I’m happy and it’s great to back up my cross country title. It was a tactical race with a lot of corners with the pack all there with a lap to go,” said Hicks. “It must have been an exciting race to watch,” he added.
Hicks said that Ashkettle made a move in the race at the point that he was going go. “Ben went with 4km to go so we ended up going just about the same time and I just gradually pushed it from there. We came back across the bridge on the last lap and I kept checking over my shoulder every 10 metres and I was slowly pulling away, so I made sure I had enough for the last 150 metres in case I needed it.
“It was a great race by the guys, everyone had a go in the front and took the wind for a lap or so,” said Hicks.
In his first national road championship and for the first time in the South Island Ashkettle who is based in Melbourne wasn’t sure how he was going to go.
“I was happy to sit back and then make a move at 6km, but I didn’t feel that great to be honest so I was happy to let the guys get back in again and settle back into the pack,” said Ashkettle.
“Malcolm took off going into the last lap, it wasn’t any real big change of pace but it slowly was getting faster and faster and in the end I wasn’t able to go with him,” he added.
Canterbury won the teams title from Auckland by just 1 point, 58 - 59.
Camille Buscomb was on her own throughout the senior women’s 10km run in conjunction with the senior men. In a virtual time trial Buscomb recorded 34:22 to beat Georgie Grgec by 42 seconds. Sally Gibbs who had won outright the earlier master women’s 5km in 17:17 was third in 35:19 breaking Bernie Portenski’s New Zealand masters W50 10km record of 38:24 set in 2004.
Buscomb who has won the national 3000m track title for the last two years said that it was hard work.
“It was hard out there it was really windy and lots of loops, it wasn’t a nice easy 2km loop, it was intense and I had to keep focusing the whole way – it was a physical and mental effort,” said Buscomb.
“I would have liked to have run a little bit faster, but I’m really happy to get the title,” she added.
Auckland won the teams title ahead of Wellington.
Canterbury athletes Ben Musson won the junior and Matt Prest the youth men races while Sian English was a popular local Otago winner of the junior women and Alana Sherman of Auckland a surprise winner of the youth women.
Musson said that it was a slow start to the race. “So there was a big bunch of us from the start and I thought I’d just stay in the bunch. Zac Barber went with one lap to go and it sort of spread us apart. I thought if I hang in there I’m a 1500m runner so I knew I’ve got the pace in the end. With a k to go I thought I could best them all and that’s what I did,” said Musson.
Prest, who is coached by Barry Magee, said it was a dam hard race. “Over the first couple of laps I just tried to stay relaxed and then nail it with one and a half laps to go. It’s the first championship I’ve ever won, so I’m pretty stoked,” said Prest. He added that it was a big step up for him.
I was fifth in the Canterbury road champs and 19th in the national cross country so I’m surprised and quite shocked, but I knew that I was feeling good and knew this was an opportunity to actually win a race, which I haven’t done,” said Prest.
Sian English said it was good to have a combined race with the master women. “I had a couple of Otago masters to run with which was nice. It’s my first New Zealand title, it is awesome and hasn’t really caught up yet and it’s nice to win at home,” said English.
Alana Sherman who convincingly won the Auckland youth title said that she wanted to a place.
“But I didn’t know if I could, so I just tried to keep going and last to the end,” she said.
Richard Bennett continued to impress in the master men the 48 year old winning the 10km outright in 32:49. Bennett said that he went out to run an honest race.
“I tried to run it honest and keep it at an honest pace and had a bit of a bunch for the first few laps. Brian (Garmonsway 35-39) came through and really put the pace on and sort of split the bunch up a bit in the second lap and then it was just me and Brian running together,” said Bennett.
“I gat away from him towards the end and I was pretty fortunate to get away with it as I was pushed pretty hard,” he added.
Mike Morresey of Taranaki won his first national race walking title and went under 50 minutes for the first time in the senior 10km race walk recording 49:30.
Morresey was elated on crossing the finish and still was in total euphoria an hour later. “My first New Zealand title and first time under 50 minutes so I’m pretty stoked. I’ve done a lot of training and it’s starting to pay off,” said Morresey.
He added that he decided to key off defending champion Mike Parker of Auckland from the start. “I thought I’d go with Mike and just sit behind him if we were going at five minute k pace, but he started a little bit slower so I took off with the girls because I knew they were sitting at the right pace straight away, so I stayed with them,” he said.
Kate Newitt of Canterbury on a come back after an absence of a couple of years won the senior women’s 10km race walk in 52:28. “I’m very happy with that, it’s my first win in a long time – I’m stoked.
“I’ve had some health problems after having my second child – some clotting so I’m now getting better,” said Newitt.
Going into the race Newitt said that she thought of sticking with defending champion Roseanne Robinson of Otago. “Then maybe with two of three laps to go get a bit of a lead but it felt easy so I thought I’ll go now and at 6km I took off. It wasn’t a PB but it’s a win on the day so that’s what I’m happy with and that’s what I was here for, to win” she added.
Senior 10,000m: Malcolm Hicks (Akld) 30:18 1, Benjamin Ashkettle (Wgtn) 30:20 2, Daniel Balchin (Cant) 30:34 3, Callan Moody (Cant) 30:41 4, Jono Jackson (Akld) 30:41 5, Caden Shields (Otago) 31:03 6. Teams: Canterbury 58 1, Auckland 59 2, Otago 115 3..
Masters 10,000m: 35-39: Brian Garmonsway (Wgtn) 32:54 1, Dave Parsons (Wgtn) 33:42 2, Corey Mennell (Sthld) 37:22 3. 40-44: Simon Mardon (Nelson) 32:59 1, Todd Stevens (Wgtn) 33:01 2, Jason Baillie (Cant) 34:44 3. 45-49: Richard Bennett (Cant) 32:49 1, Robbie Johnston (Akld) 33:35 2, Grant McLean (Wgtn) 33:58 3. Teams: Wellington 19 1, Canterbury 33 Otago 65 3. 50-54: Ricky Gutsell (Sthld) 34:36 1, Richard Seigne (Cant) 34:39 2, Paul Hewitson (Wgtn) 35:35 3. Teams: 3. 55-59: David Macdonlad (Cant) 35:32 1, Alastair Prangnell (Akld) 36:02 2, Vaughan New (Wgtn) 36:41 3. 60-64: Derek Shaw (Nelson) 40:06 1, John Thomson (Otago) 40:11 2, Iain Chinnery (Chch) 43:36 3. 65-69: Trevor Ogilvie (WaikBoP) 38:06 1, Ewan Fallow (Otago) 43:05 2, Evan MacIntosh (I’gill) 48:35 3. 75-79: Len Wilson (Tech) 57:25 1. 80-84: Stan Gawler (Port Hills) 1:02:37 1. Teams: Auckland 32 1, Canterbury 35 2, Otago 56 3.
Junior 8000m: Ben Musson (Cant) 26:30 1, Zac Barber (Cant) 26:34 2, Matthew Battley (Akld) 26:35 3. Teams: Auckland 27 1, Otago 29 2.
Youth 6000m: Matt Prest (Cant) 19:26 1, Jordan Rackham (Sthld) 19:34 2, Goiteom Gebremedihin (Cant) 19:36 3. Teams: Canterbury 13 1, Otago 50 2.
U15 3000m: Chris Dryden (Chch) 9:51 1, Liam Carson (St Pats Silv) 10:10 2, Connor Tristram (Ham) 10:12 3.
U13 2000m: Oscar Fossey (Phoenix) 7:06 1, George McNaughton (Phoenix) 7:36 2, Llachlan Muhl (St Pauls) 10:03 3.
Senior 10,000m: Camille Buscomb (WaikBoP) 34:22 1, Georgie Grgec (Akld) 35:04 2, Sally Gibbs (WaikBoP) 35:19 3, Lydia O’Donnell (Akld) 36:19 4, Rachael Kingstone (Akld) 36:59 5, Gabrielle O’Rourke (Wgtn) 37:12 6. Teams: Auckland 25 1, Wellington 37 2.
Masters 5000m: 35-39: Louisa Andrew (Otago) 17:56 1, Katrin Gottschalk (Akld) 18:56 2, Mel Aitken (Otago) 19:38 3. 40-44: Shireen Crumpton (Otago) 18:04 1, Michelle Van Looy (Wgtn) 19:37 3. 45-49: Gabrielle O”Rourke (Wgtn) 17:58 1, Meghann Stewart (Akld) 20:14 2, Robyn Perkins (Cant) 20:18 3. 50-54: Sally Gibbs (WaikBoP) 17:17 1, Carolyn Forsey (Cant) 21:40 2, Rosemary Heyrick (Sthld) 23:37 3. 55-59: Julie Wilson (Otago) 19:42 1, Bernadette Jago (Cant) 20:36 2, Debbie Telfer (Sthld) 21:09 3. 60-64: Margaret Flanagan (Cant) 22:06 1, Christine Munro (Akld) 23:01 2.70-74: Myrtle Rough (Hill City) 24:29 1. Teams: Otago 21 1,Wellington 33 2, Auckland 49 3.
Junior 5000m: Sian English (Otago) 17:52 1, Ashleigh Williams (Akld) 17:56 2, Amy Shaw (Akld) 18:26 3. Teams: Auckland 20 1.
Youth 5000m: Alana Sherman (Akld) 18:07 1, Hanna English (Otago) 18:13 2, Kaitlin Petherick (Ak;ld) 18:48 3. Teams: Southland 33 1.
U15 3000m: Ari Graham (Phoenix) 10:59 1, Michaela Walker (Olympic) 11:16 2, Brooke Varney (Papakura) 11:52 3.
U13 2000m: Mya Graham (Phoenix) 7:02 1, Hester Donders (Phoenix) 7:39 2, Sophie Sinclair (Sth Otago) 8:09 3.
Senior 10,000m: Mike Morresey (Taranaki) 49:30 1, Mike Parker (Akld) 50:52 2.
Junior 5000m: Jonathan Lord (Cant) 22:22 1, Jared Free (Akld) 24:58 2, Jamie Shaw (Nelson) 26:36 3.
Senior 10,000m: Kate Newitt (Cant) 52:28 1, Roseanne Robinson (Otago) 53:38 2.
Masters 10,000m: Julie Edmunds (Otago) 55:27 1, Terri Grimmett (Wgtn) 1:03:39 2, Katie Morrisey-Tahere (Taranaki) 1:11:50 3.
Junior 5000m: Courtney Ruske (Cant) 24:24 1, Sarah-Amy Rhind (Akld) 32:10 2.
Youth 5000m: Kerri Batin (Cant) 33:27 1.