By Nicholas Pointon
Daniel Jones will turn his attention to the road after a commanding victory in senior mens race at the Vosseler Shield in Wellington on Saturday.
The Vosseler is run over a 5km loop of Mount Victorias undulating, rocky and muddy trails. It is widely regarded as the most gruelling cross-country course in New Zealand.
The Wellington Scottish runners impressive time of 39:46 on the 10km course saw him finish a 1 minute and 16 seconds ahead of club mates Niam Macdonald-Joslin. Harry Burnard rounded out the top three with a time of 41:17.
The 27-year-olds victory was even more impressive given that Jones had trained at Karori Park earlier that morning.
He said his plan going into the race was to treat it like a "tempo". "I felt good on the first lap; I was running with Nathan [Tse] (who finished fourth) and Harry on the first lap. It was a nice pace, it felt pretty good, so I just dug a little deeper."
Jones built a 23-second lead at the 4km mark as he began to pull away from the lead pack.
His lead continued to build as he seemed to navigate the steep and technical course gracefully.
After the race, Jones said he decided to wear cross-country spikes over trainers after seeing that rain had made the course particularly tricky in some sections.
"I felt comfortable in the muddy bits, but then again some of the downhill rocky bits you felt like youre all over the show."
Jones victory was a positive indicator of his current form as he prepares for the Christchurch half marathon in two weeks-time and the Gold Coast marathon in just over a month.
"[I am] definitely trying to hit 66 [minutes] in the half in Christchurch, and the marathon will be a bit of debut, so looking for around 2 hours 20 minutes."
Wellington Harriers Maiya Christini won the senior womens title in her first cross-country race at the senior level, ahead of Sarah Drought (Wellington Harriers) and Nicole Mitchell (Wellington Scottish).
The 19-year-old said her win was "unexpected" as she was coming up against such strong competition in the 5km event.
"I was pretty nervous coming into [the race], Im more of a track runner, so a course like this is pretty tough, lots of hills and things like that."
Christini won her first senior medal at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships in March, where she finished third in the Womens 1500m.
She said her goal now was to continue to build strength, through increased mileage and more hill work, over the rest of the winter season to ensure she is competitive over 10km at the New Zealand Cross-Country Championships in August.
The highly promising 14-year-old, Will Anthony from Olympic Harriers, continues to show why he is the best junior runner in Wellington after taking out the mens under 18 event.
The Scots College student looked strong from the gun, as he led the 3.7km race from start to finish, beating out Finn Molloy (Trentham United Harriers) and Finn Seeds (Trentham United Harriers).
He said he was confident in his ability to front run as he did not like being in a close situation in the closing quarters of a race.
"The race plan was to go as hard as I could form the start, try and get into first and just try and hold [the lead]. I dont have speed at the end, so I can get rundown if [someone is] too close."
Anthony won the year 9 boys event at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championship last year. In the coming weeks Anthony will be working closely with coach Alastair Leslie, as he sets his sights on a podium finish in the under 16 race at secondary school nationals in June.
The Vosseler Shield is oldest inter-club cross country race in Wellington and has been run by Wellington Harrier Athletic Club since 1923.
Womens under 18 (3.7km): 1 Esther Kozyniak 14:44 (Wellington Harriers), 2 Maali-Kyle Ford 15:16 (Wellington Harriers), 3 Jessica Hughes 15:46 (Olympic Harriers)
Womens under 20 (3.7km): 1 Jayme Maxwell 14:52 (Hutt Valley Harriers), 2 Charlotte Carpenter 18:36 (Victoria University Running Club), 3 Sam Lightfoot 22:00 (Wainuiomata Harriers)
Senior Women (5km): 1 Maiya Christini 22:33 (Wellington Harriers), 2 Sarah Drought 23:11 (Wellington Harriers), 3 Nicole Mitchell 23:29 (Wellington Scottish)
Masters Women 35 (5km): 1 Mel MacPhee 25:39 (Wellington Scottish), 2 Nat Hardaker 25:41 (Wellington Scottish), 3 Renae Creser 26:31 (Kapiti Running and Tri Club)
Mens Under 18 (3.7km): 1 Will Anthony 12:13 (Olympic Harriers), 2 Finn Molloy 12:37 (Trentham United Harriers), 3 Finn Seeds 12:44 (Trentham United Harriers)
Mens Under 20 (5km): 1 Max Karamonolis 20:12 (Wellington Harriers), 2 Seamus Kane 20:30 (Wellington Harriers), 3 Liam Chesney 20:44 (Wellington Harriers)
Senior Men (10km): 1 Daniel Jones 39.46 (Wellington Scottish), 2 Niam Macdonald-Joslin 41:02 (Wellington Scottish), 3 Harry Burnard 41:17 (Wellington Scottish)
Masters Men 35 (10km): 1 Dougal Thornburn 42:40 (Wellington Scottish), 2 Stephen Day 43:36 (Wellington Scottish), 3 Rowan Hooper 44:22 (Wellington Scottish)
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand
By Nicholas Pointon