Whanganui athletes attending the New Zealand Championships in Hamilton at the weekend performed well in their final workout as part of the weekly club night.

This was despite the fact that for the second week in a row they had to be content with hand timing as there were again problems with the photo finish network.

Nineteen athletes from Whanganui will be representing Manawatu/Wanganui in Hamilton at the weekend and they should be encouraged by performances this week.

In Hamilton, not only will they compete against the best in the country, but will be able to see in action World Champion Tom Walsh in the shot only a week after his indoor IAAF World Championship title Personal Best Championship and Area records.


Tayla Brunger again ran well over 300 metres recording her first sub 40 second run (39.8 hand timed). As the accepted difference between hand and electronic timing is 0.24 seconds Brunger would have been almost certainly inside her own Collegiate record.

However, she should be encouraged by her further progress as she approaches the business end of the season. Emma Osborne was also significantly inside her best with 41.1 seconds for the distance.

Grace Godfrey in her first competitive race since December shows she is on the road to recovery and ready for relay action at the weekend with a return to individual events before her home North Island Schools in early April.

Ana Brabyn, who has been given a dispensation to join the relay squad (at 14 she is too young for the championship), should also be encouraged by her personal best over 300m.
The loss of electronic timing has less effect over the Road Race where the in-form Liam Back coasted to an eight second personal best setting the fastest time recorded over the short 2000 metre course (5:29.8).

Hamilton-bound Ashleigh Alabaster, who at 14, is just inside the minimum age for the championships by three days, set her best time which indicates she is in good form for her debut NZ Championships Steeplechase.

George Lambert and sister Sarah were also comfortably inside their previous best performances which will add confidence to both attending their debut championships. Unfortunately, Rebecca Baker is not competing at the championships.

Her outstanding 6 minutes 24 seconds for the short road course is the fastest female performance and suggests that a sub 4 minute 35 second 1500 metres is not too far away.

William Sinclair had a good workout over 600 metres in preparation for the weekend 1500 metres stopping the clock at 1:25.0, while his younger brother Joseph, who runs the 800 metres and 300 metre hurdles in Hamilton, won his 300 metres in 36.8 seconds.

Genna Maples recorded 18.1 seconds over 150 metres heading off training partner Tayla Brunger who ran 18.3 seconds and is clearly in good form. Travis Bayler, who will be at his first Athletics New Zealand Championships, indicated he is in good shape for both the 200 metres and 400 metres with a win over 150 metres in 17.2 seconds.

Tuesday also saw the conclusion of the Year 9/10 Schools League. Wanganui Collegiate held a narrow two point lead in the girl's division going into the final competition but extended that to win by 25 points.

It has been good to see the development of Whanganui High School athletes such as Cassie Glentworth, Paris Munro and Georgia Foster.

In the boys, Collegiate had a big lead going into the final night. High School significantly narrowed the gap with some excellent performances notably from Nat Kirk who has returned after a bicycle accident and impressed with a win in the 300 metres (43.4). He was first junior home in the 150 metres.

Nat has good speed which will add much to his middle distance strength. He will start as favourite over junior middle distance races at next week's Inter School and he will be accompanied by Morgan Murray who will renew his close tussles with Collegiate's Elliot Jones and Harvey Meyer.

Wanganui Collegiate's winning margin was 54 points. Collegiate also won the senior league conducted on just the one evening.

Next week all the region's secondary schools will be in action at the annual Whanganui Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships which start at 1pm with the first track event at 2pm. The finals evening commences at 5.30pm and is wrapped up with relays 2 ½ hours later. I will preview this event early next week.