Huge potential for cross-country

Friday August 10, 2018 Written by Published in Other Sports
Louise Wittwer claimed the masters women’s national crosscountry title on Wednesday. 18071201 Louise Wittwer claimed the masters women’s national crosscountry title on Wednesday. 18071201

The National Cross Country championships held yesterday have been given the big tick by the Oceania Athletics Association (OAA).

Held at Papaaroa School, the event saw 15 runners turn up to take on the notoriously muddy course, despite heavy rainfall in the days prior.

Tom O’Shaughnessy, competition manager for Oceania Athletics, took part himself in the course, and said it had everything a good cross-country race needs.

“The course itself had plenty of mud and some challenging hills, which is what you want from that type of race,” he said.

“I see plenty of potential for that course to possibly vie to be used for the Oceania Championships to be held in 2020.”

Event organiser Thomas Henderson said that despite a lower than expected turnout, the event ran smoothly.

“It was a beautiful afternoon to hold the Nationals, given the dramatic rainfall we had here earlier in the week,” said Henderson.

“Perhaps the timing around school holidays, after Te Maeva Nui, and again with the early weather in the week, it all could have been a reason behind the low turnout, but I am just pleased we were able to bring the Nationals back here to Rarotonga as it has been absent on the sporting calendar for a while.”

Henderson also said receiving praise from the OAA regarding the race was something he was particularly proud of.

“Even with a smaller number it was still a really fun event and everyone who came added to that, so big thanks and congratulations to them,” he said.

“Hearing that OAA see potential here on the course is surprising but also very pleasing indeed and is a great way to wrap up our cross-country events for 2018.”

Former New Zealand Olympic cyclist Melanie Hayland, who is in Rarotonga on holiday, also decided to join in on the race despite being ineligible for the top prizes.

Henderson said the ACI Road Running series will again resume next Wednesday, starting on the main round outside the Edgewater Resort and Spa adjacent to Spaghetti House.

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