Running: All-star cast expected at the Curtis 10km race

By Peter Thornton

Second-placed Dale Warrander is back for the Sir Barry Curtis 10km road race. Photo / Martin Sykes
Second-placed Dale Warrander is back for the Sir Barry Curtis 10km road race. Photo / Martin Sykes

Len Brown, Auckland Super City Mayor-elect Elite runners will turn out at Pakuranga Athletic Club's event which doubles as the NZ Road Champs

Len Brown has had the biggest week in his political career but he hasn't forgotten where he has come from.

Auckland's first Super City Mayor, the patron of the Pakuranga Athletic Club, walked the 5km event of the Sir Barry Curtis Classic 10km last year, and in the build-up to tomorrow's event was quick to acknowledge his mentor.

"This event is named after a stone-cold local legend," said Brown who succeeded Curtis as Mayor of Manukau after he became New Zealand's longest serving mayor with 39 years of continuous service.

"It is run by an outstanding athletics club - the best in the country - and this race has grown to become something iconic."

Brown will miss the run tomorrow to attend church with his family.

"I made a commitment after walking the event last year that I would run the 5km but I am running a different race these days."

For Sir Barry Curtis, who has fired the gun to begin the race at Musick Point in Howick every year for the past 15 years, being there is a must.

"It was a huge honour to have this run named after me," said 71-year-old Curtis.

"It is always the first priority for me and I take enormous pride in seeing what the event has grown into.

"We felt there ought to be an event that enabled runners from the club and beyond to compete ... an event that would put the Pakuranga Athletic Club on the map."

Tomorrow the race doubles as the New Zealand Road Championships.

This event was due to be held in Christchurch on September 4 but was cancelled when the earthquake hit in the early hours of race day.

An all star cast is expected with Dale Warrander, Jason Woolhouse, Alex Parlane, Brett Tingay the top four men's athletes battling it out for the title while Gavin Stevens is the favourite for the Masters division.

"I remember walking up Cascades Rd last year and the lead runners came whistling past me. I couldn't get over how fast they were running 10km - it was like a 100m sprint," said Brown.

National cross-country champion Fiona Crombie is the women's favourite alongside Lisa Robertson and Shireen Crumpton.

"We are pretty excited to have elite athletes of this calibre in the event," said event organiser John Bowden, who expects 1000 runners and walkers tomorrow.

The Sir Barry Curtis 10km is branded as New Zealand's premier road race.

"We regard it as the best event because of the way it integrates the elite and the entire community," said Bowden, the brother of New Zealand cricket umpire Billy Bowden.

"There will be 100 disabled athletes taking part [up from 25 in 2009] and there will be parents with strollers, students and veterans."

Entries are accepted tomorrow until 8.30am at the Pakuranga Clubrooms in Lloyd Elsmore Park.

The late entry fee is waived for Herald readers.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 03 Sep 2014 17:37:46 Processing Time: 727ms