Sam Wreford Seeking Rare Double
Sam Wreford will be seeking a rare double when he lines up for the New Zealand road running title in Wellington on Saturday.
Wreford won the national cross country crown four weeks ago in Hamilton and if he also captures the road title he will join a select group who have achieved the double in the same season.
Kevin Ryan came away with the two titles in 1974, Rex Wilson in 1984, Ken Moloney in 1986, Peter Renner in 1987 and Phil Costley claimed the two titles in 2002 and 2004.
Wreford was impressive winning the Canterbury 10km road title by nearly two minutes in 30m 18s, and should once again prove too strong around the Wellington waterfront circuit. Peter Meffan of Otago recorded the fastest 10km from all of the Centre championships, clocking 30m 13s on the road from Clyde to Alexandra.
Kenyan Edwin Kaitany, should show a clean pair of heals to the rest of the field as he has done in all the races he has contested this year. Kaitany, who is not eligible for the national title, led in a strong line-up in the Wellington championship covering the 10km in 30m 23s.
With Tim Hodge having clocked 30m 56s and Ben Barry 30m 57s Wellington has a powerful nucleus to lay claims for the team title.
Also expected to be in the leading group from the start are Auckland’s John Schreuder, Jono Jackson and Jonny McKee and Steven O’Callaghan from Waikato BOP. Stephen Lett will not be defending his senior title.
Lisa Robertson of Auckland will be going for two years in a row in the women’s 10km. Robertson ran 34m 32s on the Wellington course last year to beat Fiona Crombie by 16 seconds. Robertson won the New Zealand half marathon title in Palmerston North three weeks ago in 1h 16m 53s and decided not to contest the Auckland road championships a week later. Challenges for the title should come from Rachel Kingsford Otago champion in 34m 42s, Sarah Drought Wellington champion in 35m 37s, Alexandra Williams runner up in the Canterbury championship in 35m 54s and national cross country champion Mikayla Nielsen who was second in the Waikato Bay of Plenty championship in 36m 14s.
An interesting seven way battle should develop in the M19 8km between Matt Baxter of Taranaki, Antoine Bonnet of Manawatu Wanganui, Declan Wilson, Ben Moynihan and Josh Maisey of Auckland, Michael Sutton of Tauranga and Kieron McDonald of Wellington. Baxter has been impressive this winter following up his secondary schools victory with the national M19 cross country title. Wilson was third to Moynihan and Maisey in the Auckland championship but bounced back a week later finishing second in the Australian cross country champs, with Baxter fourth and Bonnet fifth.
Ariana Harper of Wellington should add the W19 title to the junior women’s mountain running title won in April. Grace McConnochie of Hawkes Bay Gisborne and Emily Roughan of Taranaki are likely to fill a podium placing.
Jacob Priddey of Waikato BOP will be defending his M16 title, to add to the M16 cross country win in Hamilton earlier this month. Chasing him hard will be Marcus Karamanolis and Nicholas Pointon of Wellington, Canterbury’s Sean Eustace and Luke Fielding of Auckland.
Susannah Lynch of Wellington will likewise be defending her W16 road crown. Competition for her will come from team mate Jean Kozynaik.
In the masters men Grant McLean should provide a home town win in the M40 from Tauranga’s Stephen Blair, while Richard Bennett of Canterbury will head in the M45. Gabrielle O’Rourke of Wellington should wrap up the master women’s 5km before turning around two and a half hours later and taking part in the senior women’s 10km.
Roseanne Robinson of Otago should win the women’s 10km race walk while Mike Parker of Auckland in the senior men’s 10km will add another national title to his impressive walking career.
Over 400 runners will be competing with the first event the combined women’s 16, 19 and masters 5km at 10.00am. The senior men and women 10km starts at 1.25pm.