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Lett takes Road Championship 2011

New Zealand Road Championships – 20 August 2011

New Zealand Road Championships 2011

New Zealand Road Championships 2011

Stephen Lett withstood a strong challenge from fellow Auckland runners Jono Jackson and Alex Parlane to win the national 10km road running title along Wellington’s waterfront on Saturday.

Lett becomes the king of 10km running in New Zealand adding the road title to the track title won in January.

Lett said after a close second in the national cross country championships it was good to get the road title.

“I’m stoked. It was a good course, quite tight but it was good to have the crowd around, lots more spectators than if they had been held out of the city,” he said.
Parlane made a bid for victory mid way through the race, breaking up the leading group and taking Lett and Jackson with him. Going by instructions from his coach Jack Ralston Lett set sail with 2km to go and went on to win by five seconds in 30m 58s.
Jackson was second with Parlane third, followed by the Wellington pair of Tim Hodge and Stefan Smith.
“We started off a bit slow and then Alex started cranking it up with 4km to go. I went with him and then I started to get a bit of a gap on him in the last lap and it was starting to hurt over the last kilometre,” said Lett.
Jackson said that he had Lett in his sights throughout the race.
“He always gets a break one or two laps out and then it’s just chase cat and mouse.”
“He’s a good competitor I just want to beat him once,” said Jackson.

Lisa Robertson of Auckland captured her first national title winning the senior women 10km in 34m 32s. Canterbury’s Fiona Crombie set the pace from the start with Robertson chasing. With a 1000m remaining Robertson hit the front and went on to win by 16 seconds.
“I just knew I had to get in front and she wasn’t going to let me, so I thought I may as well wait till the last bit when she was a bit more tired and then go for it,” said Robertson.
Crombie said she set out to challenge herself.
“I ended up pushing it at a good pace, kept it true and honest. I was trying throughout but the last kilometre I had a few stomach issues so I couldn’t push it,” she said.

Julian Oakley (Tauranga) was an impressive winner of the M19 while Auckland’s Georgie Grgec retained her W19 title.
Oakley said that his middle distance track speed helped him to the victory.
“It was a pretty slow race which I was happy about. 1500m out Alex (Gorrie) took off and I closed the gap and when I caught up to him I thought I might as well go from here, 1km to go I got the lead and I just held on,” said Oakley.
John Schreuder finished strongly just seven seconds behind Oakley in 25m 49s with Gorrie third in 25m 52s.
Grgec said that she had most of the season off with a stress fracture of the foot.
“I had six weeks off and I’m just getting back to racing now,” she said.
“I was not expecting anything and to retain the title is a great thrill.
“I was just trying to hang on to Nicole (Mitchell). She kept kind of surging then she made a move down the back with 500m to go. So I went after her and just kind of tried to keep pushing it,” said Grgec.
Mitchell said that there was a good group that got established and worked together well.
“I got out sprinted in the last bit. It’s good preparation for the world mountain running championships, to see where I’m at training wise,” said Mitchell.

16 winners were Jacob Priddey (Hamilton) in the men and Wellington’s Susannah Lynch in the women.
For Priddey it was his first national title.
“It’s a good first time title after all the training,” said Priddey.
“Everyone took off fast so I just sat in and got some protection from the wind and then I tried to break everyone on the second lap but a couple of guys came with me and then I got to the last 500m took the lead and ended up winning,” he added.

Tauranga’s Sally Gibbs W45 fresh from her success at the recent world masters championships was in superb form in the master women winning the combined race with the junior women outright with an outstanding time of 17m 22s for the 5000m.
“I’m glad I had a cyclist (Todd Stevens) leading me through as I was quite confused about the course,” said Gibbs.
“It was windy, it’s a pity I didn’t have time to enjoy the scenery. The aim was to try and win overall so I’m happy with that and happy with the time,” she added.
Daniel Nixon of Wellington won the master men 10km in 32m 34s from Martin Lukes who ran 33m 17s.
Nixon said that the crowd support was brilliant and gave him a extra edge.
“I felt quite good at the start and I wanted to go out quite hard and strong and just run my own rhythm and not really think about the other people. I just had this image of myself in a cocoon the whole way just totally concentrating on myself – I was wondering if this makes me the fastest old man in New Zealand,” said Nixon.
Roseanne Robinson of Otago won the women’s 10km walk championship in 50m 1s, while Mike Parker of Auckland won the men’s 10km walk in 49m 57s.

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