CHRISTCHURCH

New Zealand Road Championships, Canterbury Agricultural Park - 2 September 2017

Daniel Balchin defended his national 10km mens road title and Olivia Burne took out the womens 10km race in bitterly cold, windy and at times, wet conditions.

Balchin from Canterbury, ran with a big leading bunch for much of the 10-lap race with runners dropping off until just five were left.

Aaron Pulford (Waikato BoP) pushed the pace for much of the journey but with 1500m to go Caden Shields (Otago) surged into the lead. However Balchin in a repeat of last years race in Masterton rallied well and came back to outsprint Shields by one second for the title, his winning time of 30:42 reflecting the testing conditions. Pulford held on for third from fast finishing Sam Wreford of Canterbury.

Balchin said that it panned out similar to what happened last year in Masterton where he beat Shields by four seconds.

"Everyone sat in a pack and the pace picked up with 1500m to go and I sat in there and used some of my track speed as Im pretty confident with my speed compared to some of the other fellows and it paid off in the end.

"I didnt have a Lautenslager (as in the cross country championships) who was pushing the pace hard from the get go and so I applied different tactics this time around.

"Its always good to defend your title so Im absolutely stoked to get this title again," he said.

Shields said that he was inspired by a triathlon coach going into the race.

"I only decided to run a couple of days ago and I was reading a really good blog post yesterday from Brett Sutton, well known triathlon coach who said focus on the process and the result will come so I sussed out who was running and decided that probably my best chance of winning was going about 1500m out, whereas last year I tried to make a move and didnt really fully commit to it. So this year I thought well if Im going to make a move Ill commit and so I went hard and managed to break the field up but I knew Daniel was going to be very hard to beat, hes a phenomenal runner, he beat me last year and he managed to get back on to me with 500m to go and I couldnt quite get him, but Im quite happy to get second considering the last couple of weeks," said Shields.

Canterbury won the mens team title from Waikato Bay of Plenty and Wellington.

Burne from Auckland ran a well-judged race to win the womens 10km title from cross country champion Ruby Muir (Wellington) and Penny Peskett (Auckland) who pushed defending champion Laura Nagel back to fourth place with a solid final lap. Burne ran an impressive 35:05 for the tough conditions to add the road title to the national half marathon title also won in Christchurch last June.

Nagel back from an injury that kept her out of the cross country championships, shared the early pace with Muir before Burne took control at the half way.

"There was a strong field today so I went into it expecting to just time trial it in some ways because I wasnt sure where my fitness was at. But I wanted the pace to be honest thats my main goal in most races and the

girls just kind of dropped off and it was a tough course and that wind was really strong and made for quite a difficult race, and as a result Im really stoked with this win," said Burne.

Burne only decided to race on Wednesday after her coach Barry Magee cajoled her into competing.

"He put the hard word on me on Wednesday night, and told me to snap out of it, hes really good like that and thats why Im with him, hes just such a great motivator.

"I just love road racing its such a wonderful experience and having the crowd and everyone in the same place at the same time," added Burne.

She is now on to the national road relay, the Auckland half marathon and then the national half marathon championships in Kerikeri.

Wellington took out the womens team title from Canterbury.

In one of the best races of the day Theo Quax from Auckland used his track speed to good effect in the under 20 mens 8km. After sitting with the chasing group for much of the race, he surged away over the final lap to win from Oli Chignell (Otago) and Mitchell Small (Canterbury). Andrew Catley of Auckland went out early and built up a big lead. Christopher Dryden of Canterbury set out after him and was well clear in second over the first half.

The chasing group gathered in Catley and Dryden setting the race up for a classic last lap.

Quax said that it was a struggle to the finish.

"That last lap was real tough and I know Oli and Mitchell are really strong runners especially over the longer distances so I just had to hang on, especially with Oli pushing that last lap. It was a struggle to hang on over the final 400m and I was thankful I did. I knew who ever rounded that last corner first would come out with it so I had to push it into there," he said.

Chignell said pushing into the wind took the edge off his final sprint.

"I felt really good and I think it was just taking the race leading into the wind, I was the one that led the chase to catch up Dryden which essentially meant that I ran into that wind four times. It happens, but Theo did run it fairly well and when it came to the last 500m being a 3:50 1500m runner hes very strong. Thats racing and I cant complain about a silver medal," he said.

Chignells next goal is the night of fives in Auckland.

Small the under 18 champion last year said he was reasonably happy considering how bad his winter season has been and being sick before the cross country championships.

"Sometimes it doesnt happen, Oli and I led the chase, but fair enough Theo ran tactically really well and good on him," said Small.

Emerson Deverell from Waikato BoP was victorious in the under 20 womens event, winning comfortably from Navajo Prentice (Canterbury) and Alyssa Bullot (Auckland).

Deverell back from the world mountain running championships said it was good to be back on the flat.

"It was really tough especially the five laps into the head wind down the back, when you are not running with anyone," she said.

"I felt good coming back from the world mountain running championships and it was quite enjoyable not running on hills anymore and once home I thought well the road champs are only a few weeks away and I really enjoy road," she added.

Samuel Tanner took the Under 18 Mens 6km with a fast last lap to take the trifecta of NZ Secondary Schools cross country, the national under 18 cross country and now the road for 2017. The Waikato Bay of Plenty runner headed Murdoch McIntyre (Auckland) and Drew Cairney (Otago).

"I made my move on the second corner in on the last lap and pushed hard for a few hundred metres and held the distance and then sprinted him (McIntyre) off at the end," said Tanner.

Jayme Maxwell from Wellington had an all-the-way win in the womens under 18 grade from Joanna Poland (Auckland) and Tillie Hollyer (Canterbury).

Maxwells only regret was that Wellington didnt have a team in the grade.

"It feels good, but I wish I had a team here though. It was a bit cold today but you get used to it when you do cross country," said Maxwell.

The masters mens 10km race saw a lead group of three run together until they got to the last lap and Steve Rees-Jones (Waikato BoP) sprinted away from Wellington athletes Stephen Day and Dan Nixon to win the M40-44 title.

It is the third year in a row that Rees-Jones has won the masters race outright.

"I went to the front for a couple of laps in the middle but with the wind just decided it wasnt worth trying to make a break and make myself a target so I just settled back and enjoyed it. And I knew being a 1:49 800m runner that it comes down to the last 300m or so against those guys Im going to have them in the finish so it played into my hands really," said Rees-Jones.

He added that he has had a satisfying season.

"I was pleased with my run in the seniors at the cross country champs (where he finished fifth)."

Other grade winners were M35-39 Alasdair Saunders, 45-49 Chris Mardon, 50-54 Richard Bennett, 55-59 John Gamblin, 60-64 Tony Price, 65-69 John Kent, 70-74 Anson Clapcott, 80-84 Peter Hanson.

Sally Gibbs (Waikato BoP) had an outright victory in the masters womens 5km championship which was combined with the under 20 and under 18 women, running 18:12. Gibbs won the 50-54 title nearly a minute ahead of Maggie Chorley.

Gibbs said it was good to run with the younger grades.

"Its great to have the younger girls to race with I think it gives everybody a better and faster race.

"It was pretty tough on the back straight and you dont make up for it with the tail coming into the start finish, but its the same for everybody.

"Im never keen to come out and run multiple one k laps but its actually not too bad with the conditions there are today," said Gibbs.

Other grade winners were W35-39 Kerry Semmens, 40-44 Johanna Buick, 45-49 Tracy Croft, 55-59 Deborah Telfer, 60-64 Bernadette Jago, 65-69 Margaret Flanagan, 70-74 Loris Reed.

Will Anthony (Oly Wgtn) won the under 15 boys 3km in 9:43 beating Josh Hou (Hill City) and Charlie Hazlett (Port Hills).

Anthony the year nine winner at the New Zealand secondary schools cross country championships said he went into the race determined to win.

"I pushed hard, I had to push really hard to keep them at bay. I came on to the second lap and he (Josh Hou) was right on my tail and my tactics were to try and kick through that second lap and try and get a lead before the end and I managed to do that and the third lap was just to finish it off," he said.

Leila Dunlop (Port Hills) won the under 15 girls 3km in 10:52 heading in cross country winner Jemima Antoniazzi (Ham) and Paris Carroll (Chch Avon).

Dunlops previous best placing was third in the national under 13 cross country in 2015.

"I wasnt sure as to how it was going to happen at the start because Ive been really nervous. I felt really good so I decided to try and take it on the last lap and I suddenly felt myself in the lead, Im really pleased," said Dunlop.

The under 13 winners were Luke Johnston (New Brighton) and Niamh Motley (Timaru) and the under 11 winners were Joel Allott (Port Hills) and Isabella Pringle (Chch Avon).

Jonathan Lord (Canterbury) (49:03) and Laura Langley (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) (50:25) were clear winners in the senior mens and womens 10km race walk championships, while Jamie Shaw (Tasman) took the Under 20 Mens 5km. Alexander Brown (Otago) and Alice Ritchie (Canterbury) were the Under 18 5km race walk winners. Rodney Gillum and Jacqueline Wilson were the best in the masters.

Lord was delighted with his win considering the conditions and his background going into the race.

"I havent finished a race in the past two years, so today the big goal was finishing. And Im pretty happy going under 50.

"Ive only been training for the last four weeks and getting over the last two years with injuries and work commitments, so finishing under 50 theres a big smile on my face," he said.

Langley said that she really felt the cold during the race.

"I chose to wear a crop top, before I left Hawkes Bay, I could only choose one and this one was comfortable and I kind of regret it.

"It was good out there, a bit tough along the back, but once you get through that youve got a tail wind along the finishing straight.

"Im really happy with my performance today considering the conditions, I was hoping to go under 50 minutes," said Langley.

CROATIA

67th Hanekovi Memorial Meeting, IAAF World Challenge, Zagreb - 28 August 2017

World champion Tom Walsh continued his winning ways in the shot put with a throw of 21.50m, his 20th career best. His series was 20.74, 21.48, 21.50, 21.22, x, 21.22. Damien Birkinhead of Australia was second with a PB 21.35m. It was at the same meeting last year that Walsh threw his personal best of 22.21m.

BELGIUM

Van Damme Memorial, IAAF Diamond League Brussels - 31 August 2017

Kiwi shot putter Tom Walsh finished a disappointing sixth in his final competition of the European summer. The 2017 world champion could only manage a best throw of 21.38m at the Diamond League final in downtown Brussels on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) as he and the rest of the 2016 Olympics podium were upstaged by American Darrell Hill. Hill, who finished 11th at the IAAF world championships earlier in August with a best throw of 20.79m and qualified fifth for Brussels, unleashed 22.44m with his final throw to set a new meeting record. His best before the final throw was 21.28m.

Walsh said that he was in really good physical shape but mentally he wasnt there.

"I was trying a bit too hard and I know when I do that it doesnt go well for me, but I couldnt get myself away from it which is a little bit of a shame. I just couldnt line it up and sometimes you have those days and thank God it didnt happen at the World Champs," said Walsh.

NEW CALEDONIA

Noumea Marathon - 27 August 2017

The New Zealand marathon champion Stephen Day finished third in 2:35:20. Alice Mason was fifth in the women in 3:06:14 and Shireen Crumpton sixth in 3:15:13. John Forrest of New Plymouth was 26th overall in 3:26:55.

AUSTRALIA

School Sport Australia Cross Country Championships, Rokeby Hobart - 12 August 2017

Hannah OConnor won the U/18 4km in 13:19, Jayme Maxwell was fifth 13:35, Phoebe McKnight eighth 13:49 and Tessa Hunt ninth 13:49. New Zealand were first in the teams. Samuel Tanner was third in the U/18 6km in 18:42, George Corey-Wright sixth 18:49 and Murdoch McIntyre ninth 19:03. New Zealand were second in the teams. Samantha Burke won the U/20 6km in 21:10 one second ahead of Bridie Edwards, Grace Ritchie was fifth in 21:51. New Zealand were first in the teams. Connor Melton was second in the U/20 8km in 25:00, Joseph Clark third 25:08, James Uhlenberg fourth 25:09, Chris Devaney sixth 25:23 and Jacob Holmes seventh 25:31. New Zealand were first in the teams.

Australian All-Schools Road Relays, Rokeby - 14 August 2017

U/18 5 x 2000m (Hannah OConnor, Aimee Fergusson, Phoebe McKnight, Jayme Maxwell, Tessa Hunt) (1). U/20 5 x 2000m (Harriet Bush, Bridie Edwards, Grace Ritchie, Navajo Prentice, Samantha Burke) (2). U/18 5 x 3000m (George Corey-Wright, Kalani Sheridan, Logan Slee, Murdoch McIntyre, Samuel Tanner) (2). U/20 5 x 3000m (Connor Melton, Joseph Clark, Chris Devaney, Jacob Holmes, James Uhlenberg) (1). Time trialist Joel Carman was second in the U/20 race.

JONATHAN WYATT PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD MOUNTAIN RUNNING ASSOCIATION

During the WMRA Congress meeting in Premana, Italy, on July 29, Jonathan Wyatt was elected as the fourth president of the WMRA. Wyatt, who not only had a successful mountain running career, winning the World Mountain Running Championships six times between 1998 and 2008, as well as multiple mountain races including Jungfrau Marathon, also represented New Zealand in the Olympic Games finishing 21st in the marathon in 2004. His interest in sport extends well beyond competition, and he is looking forward to serving in a leadership role with the WMRA.

Says Wyatt, "When I was first racing in the mountains, the president of the WMRA was Danny Hughes. I was interested in helping grow the sport back then, and my commitment to the sport has never wavered. I think I understand the sport, as well as the challenges of all off- road categories within athletics each of which is realising substantial growth. There are now many more and different disciplines in the sport and Mountain Running needs to have a voice and a strong presence in this new era of trail, ultra-trail, sky and mountain running."

OBITUARIES

Former New Zealand racewalking champion Jim Trowell of Gisborne died on Wednesday 30 August 2017 aged 76.

Jim was New Zealand 50km race walking champion four times in 1966 (4:53:57 PB), 1968, 1973 and 1974. He was second in the 5000m (23:09.2) in 1975. He also had placings over 20km and 20 miles.

New Zealand childrens athletics stalwart Russell Findlay of Dunedin died on Friday 25 August 2017.

Russell along with his wife Beverley were made life members of Athletics Taieri in 1996. Russell was a life member of Otago Childrens Athletics and New Zealand Childrens Athletics Association.

Prominent long standing Otago coach Trevor Bent of Dunedin died on Wednesday 16 August 2017 aged 86.

Trevor was a coach with Athletics Taieri for almost 60 years. He was recognised nationally and internationally as the guru of high jumping. Athletes he coached broke 25 New Zealand records from 1975 until 2004. He coached 21 senior New Zealand champions in the 800m, pole vault, high jump, hammer throw and triple jump, 17 NZ junior champions, 13 NZ youth champions and 17 NZ secondary schools champions. The highlight of his career was Tania Murray winning gold in the high jump at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games. He was made a life member of Athletics Taieri in 1985 and received an Athletics New Zealand merit award in 1999.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand