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Jackson wins Auckland Grand Prix Series opener

Athletics Auckland Grand Prix Series, Race 1, Pukekohe A & P Showgrounds – 15 May 2021 – Jono Jackson was in winning form in the opening race of the Auckland Grand Prix Series over the demanding four lap course.

Jono Jackson wins Auckland Grand Prix Series opener

Jackson, who won at Pukekohe in 2017 and was second in 2018, matched strides with training partner Sam Waldin over the first half before applying the pressure to hold a handy lead going into the final 2km circuit. The 2016 national cross-country champion recorded 29:13, 36 seconds faster than Waldin. Hayden Rodger was third in the senior men in 30:50.

Jackson’s latest win follows his New Zealand mountain running title and third-place finish in last week’s Rotorua half marathon.

“I wasn’t quite recovered from the downhill at the mountain running champs in time for the half marathon, but I think my legs are almost back now,” said Jackson.

He added that he enjoys racing.

“I like to race everything I can, as my coach Barry Magee says to use them as training. So we train in these races and use them as fun on the weekend.”

Rodwyn Isaacs was the best of the masters, who competed in the same race as the seniors. Isaacs, in 30:09, led in Nick Moore 30:15 and Simon Mace 30:20.

Ainsley Thorpe warmed up for the Oceania triathlon cup on the Gold Coast on 6 June with a solid run over the 8km, winning the senior women’s race in 33:18. Maiya Christini was second in 33:56 with Sarah Blyde third in 38:53.

Selection to the Tokyo Olympic Games in the triathlon is the goal for Thorpe.

“It was a bit of a training run today as I’m off to Australia on Monday for my international triathlon campaign. I have three Oceania races in Australia before we hopefully get to Tokyo.

“I’ve had a year and a half of training so hopefully I’ve improved,” she said.

Thorpe added that she found company racing against Christini.

“Maiya and I have been running together since we were seven years old, and we’ve been great competitors.”

Christian De Vaal, an under 18, was a clear winner of the combined 6km race with the under 20 grade. De Vaal recorded 21:41, heading in Ronan Codyre who ran 22:17. Sam Heyes won the under 20 in 23:01.

Brea Roderick from the Canterbury Port Hills Club won the under 20 women’s 6km in 27:01 and Bridie Hart outshone the other master women, finishing the 6km in 27:25.

Amelia Green was ten seconds ahead of Stella Hammond in the under 18 4km in 16:40. Jack Snedden dug deep to hold out Jack Erikson by two seconds in the under 16 4km, recording 14:47. Eryn Westlake won the under 16 2.9km in 11:42.

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