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Bayfield Park, Dunedin.  Organised by Leith Harriers and Ariki Harriers Clubs
The Results are now available >> Results Crosscountry 2024 

Please go to the event website for all results and reports >> JOE COWIE MEMORIAL, BAYFIELD 5KM HANDICAP RACE, Sat 25 May 2024


Leith Cross Country Relays & Ponydale Challenge

Dunedin Pony Club, 50 Three Mile Hill Road, Halfway Bush, Dunedin

Visit Event Website >> Leith Cross Country Relays & Ponydale Challenge

For full results >> Leith Cross Country Relays & Ponydale Challenge Results

Once again the Leith Cross Country Relays & Ponydale Challenge had a enormously successful day out on the Ponydale Cross Country course. The weather behaved somewhat, hovering around 11 degrees Celsius for most of the afternoon with some naughty gusts of wind threatening to remove the gazebos. The sun peaked through the clouds often but there was no rain. Thanks to the race organisers, volunteers, Dunedin Pony Club, The Lion Foundation, the Otago and Dunedin Athletics clubs, Athletics Otago, the ODT, the Star Midweek, Strawberry Sounds, Hotshot Coffee, WasteCo, the athletes themselvers and their supporters and the very patient horses in the closed paddock for putting up with us hoofing around their space

The Leith Senior Men and the Leith Open Women’s team (all MW35+ runners) won the main Open Men’s and Women’s 4 x 4000m “The Gallop”. The Leith Men achieved a 3-peat title win in a tremendous battle with the young and talented Hill City-University SM A team. The Leith MM35+ team were actually all Master Men 50+ runners who preferred to do the longer 4 x 4000m Gallop than run in the shorter Canter 4 x 2000m MM35+ category race won the MM35+ category. These guys liked the long stuff.  Featured on the podium finishes for the Leith teams are viewable below.  The Event Website has full reports on all the race. 

Leith teams collage

Featured Leith Team Reports

The Gallop – Open Men

There was no way of predicting which of the top men’s teams from either of Hill City-University or Leith Harriers was going to win this one. Lovelock Relays was not a reliable guide either due to the difference in nature of the underfoot conditions with one being on totally flat manicured grass cricket surface at the University Oval. With the other being a tough true cross country course with hills, ditches, rocks, log jumps, sharp turns, uneven ground, long grass and in places – mud and horse droppings. This time it was 4 runners in a team, not 6 which balanced the depth out a bit.  Which team would adapt the best? Leith are known to be good on this type of course.

The Leith SM1 team of Janus Staufenberg (fastest time 13:43), Dan Hayman, Grayson Westgate and Liam Chesney (second fastest 13:45) prepared to defend its title against the young and determined Hill City-Uni SM A team of Jake Owen (third fastest 14:04), Matt Bolter, Luke Geddes and Leon Miyahara.

Janus put the pedal down from the start with Jake hanging on as long as  he possibly could to the tough international triathlete. However at the end of the leg, Janus had put Leith into a lead which it was never to relinquish. Matt tried to gain on Dan and initially he got close, but the pressure took its toll and Dan had Leith in a bigger lead when he handed over to Grayson. From there each Leith runner piled on the pressure winning their leg with Leith’s last runner Liam stepping on the gas to bring the team home in an excellent combined time of 56:36 seconds, thus achieving a 3-peat title win.  The HCU team finished in second place in a creditable 59:40 seconds and were never threatened by the third placed team Leith SM2. The SM2 team of Sandor Toth, Finbar Chesney (fastest team time 15:12), Tadgh Ryan-Charleton and Liam Turk put in a great team effort in its third placed podium finish of 1:02:55. 

The Gallop – Open Women

The Leith OW 1 team of Kristy Eyles MW35+ ( third fastest 17:31), Katie Smith MW35+, Margie Campbell MW35 (fastest time 17:15)  and Mel Aitken MW35+ looked the strongest on paper. However begging to differ from that assessment were members of the HCU SW A team of Rebecca Allnutt (second fastest 17:18), Sophie Waddell, Aly Craigie and Taryn McLean and the Leith SW Sea Biscuit team of Claudia Sole, Laura Bungard, Stephanie Wilson and Alice Cuthbert.

The HCU team had a lead of around 13 seconds on the Leith OW 1 team at the first changeover via Rebecca Allnutt’s excellent run. However the HCU team without some of its marquee runners just lacked the depth to hold onto that lead. At the end of the second changeover, Leith OW 1 had surged into a signicant lead with the Leith SW Sea Biscuit team and the HCU team level pegging at that point. Leith’s Margie Campbell had a blistering run to stamp her team’s authority on the chasing bunch. Although Alice Cuthbert had a great run to narrow the gap between her team and the Leith OW 1 team it was not enough. It was enough to keep the HCU team at bay though and ensured her team of a second place podium finish of 1:12:03 with the HCU team finishing third in 1:12:52.  The Leith OW1 won the title in an excellent 1:11:43

The Gallop – Masters Men 35+

The Leith MM35+ 1 team of Steven Morrison (second fastest time 15:51) , Aaron Eyles. Richard Campbell (third fastest time 16:00) and Nathan Shanks (fastest time 14:57)  was the hotpot favourite to win this one. The battle would be more for second place honours between the Leith MM35+ 2 team of Raul Martin Gomez MM50+, Danny Baillie MM50+, John Bayne MM50+, Andrew Lonie MM50+ and the Ariki MM35+ team of Eddie Smith, Bryce Saunders, Hamish Dobson and Aaron Porter.

The Leith MM35+ team were actually all Master Men 50+ runners who preferred to do the longer 4 x 4000m Gallop than run in the shorter Canter 4 x 2000m MM35+ category race. These guys like the long stuff.

Steven Morrison got his team off to a perfect start with second fastest time in the MM35+ Gallop category. With the rest of his team all posting faster times on their respective legs than the opposition runners, it was all over bar the shouting. The Leith MM35+ lead was never threatened. Although Andrew Lonie of the Leith MM50+ as always put his life on the line in running an excellent 16:16 on his leg it was never going to be enough to win. At the start of his leg, Andrew had to chase the Ariki team which had hurled itself past his team by the end of the third leg due to determined running from the likes of Eddie Smith, Bryce Saunders and Hamish Dobson. They had a 33 seconds lead on him. He ate into that lead and took the race by the scruff of the neck by then drawing away from Ariki’s Aaron Porter, thus ensuring his team of an excellent second place podium finish in 1:09:10, proving that the “old boys” still have what it takes to beat the “youngsters”. Ariki finished just 32 seconds behind in 1:09:42 for an excellent third place podium.  The victorious Leith MM35+ 1 team finished in an excellent 1:03:06, a full six minutes ahead of the second placed team, to win the title

The Canter – All Grades Mixed

The HCU Mixed Social team of Jack McNeil (7:49 fastest time in Canter), Cristian Nita (8:19 second equal fastest time in the Canter), Tessa Swinson (3rd fastest women’s time in the Canter) and Timothy Dawbin were the first across the line in the Canter in 33:40 beating all the other grades and as well as winning the the All Grades Mixed category.  The Leith MM35+  team of James Bishop MM35, Phil Page MM50+, Jacques Brown MM35+ and Colin Tocher MM35+ (8:19 second equal fastest time in the Canter) finished second in 35:10 in its category and was the third team across the line in the Canter

The Canter – MM50+

The Ariki (& Rob) MM50+ team of Glen McSkimming (8:33 2nd fastest time in the MM50+ category race), Phil Napper MM70, Rob Homan MM60 and Brent Halley, containing some legends of running in Dunedin, looked good enough to beat the Leith MM5 team of Lee Flowers, Raul Gomez (8:01 second fastest time in the Canter race), Vic Artates,  and Richard Exon. Among them, the likes of Phil Napper multiple Otago record holder over the years in middle and long distance in the Master 60+ and Master 70+ grade and Brent “Hammer” Halley an accomplished marathoner in his younger days were there to get the job done. The third team to enter in the MM50+ category race was the HCU MM50 team of Mark Lokman (9:09 3rd fastest time in the MM50+ category race), Dave Mackle MM60+, Steve Pinker and Barry Purton MM60+

Ariki’s Glen McSkimming with a blistering 8.33 seconds first leg had his team in the lead at the end of first leg. HCUs Mark Lokman was the gun runner for his team and he had them in the picture at start of the second leg lyinig in second place. However, Leith’s hot shot runner Raul Gomez, with a fastest time of 8:01 seconds in the Canter, gave his team a massive lead at the start of the third leg after having overhauled Ariki’s Phil Napper and HCU’s Dave Mackle. However, that lead by Leith evaporated during the third leg with Rob Homan’s excellent run bringing his team into the lead at the start of the final leg. HCU’s challenge had faded significantly and it was out of the running for top spot. Brent “Hammer” Halley took his team home in fine style for the win. The Ariki team finished in 37:48. Leith finished second in 39:29 with the HCU MM50 team third in 48:10

The Canter – MW35+

The Leith MW 2 and the HCU MW3 teams looked the most likely to win this category race. The Leith team consisted of Tess Molloy MW35+ (9:25 3rd fastest MW in the Canter), Sue Hendry MW50+, Orlaith Heron MW35+ and Angela Bishop MW35+ (9:16 2nd fastest MW in the Canter). The HCU MW3 team consisted of Georgy Pakeho MW50+ (9:13 fastest MW in the Canter), Leia Silby, Cilla Dickinson MW60+ and Lia Bezett. Both teams looked closely matched with the rest likely to fight it out for a podium third

Georgy Pakeho had an excellent run to have her team in a 9 sec lead over the Leith MW 2 team by the start of the second leg. Leia Silby built on that lead when she handed over at the start of the third leg. Leith’s Orlaith Heron brought the Leith team into the lead on her leg and had Leith in a substantial lead when she handed over to Angela Bishop for the final leg. Angela increased that lead for a fine win for the Leith team in 38:31. The HCU team finished second in 39:45 way ahead of the third placed Leith Lasses MW35+ team of Rachael McKinney MW50+, Karen Hein, Jade Lee and Manya Sabherwal which itself had a tough battle for third place against the determined Mini Thinkers team of Alesha Smith, Willow Wallace, Macaela van Aart and Chanel Gardner prevailing at the end for a fine 3rd place podium


Ponydale Challenge

The Ponydale Challenge attracted 23 runners with Leith Marathoner Nic Bathgate setting a new mark on the new adapted course of 19 laps in under 3 hours (2:56:32). Leith’s Lydia Pattillo won the women’s race completing 16 laps in under 3 hours (2:58:30). Read the full report further below:

The field this year had 23 runners mostly from Leith Harriers with Caversham Harriers with the next most runners in Claire Anderton, Lynne Kerr and Celia Lie.

In the field was Leith’s Ben Pigou who was the defending champion and record holder from 2023 in the men’s category (18 x 2km laps of the course in under 3 hours. His time for this feat was 2 hours 56 minutes 12 seconds for a distance of 36 kms).

Emma Timmis from Don Greig Racing Stables had the record which she set on 2023 (16 laps within the 3 hours for a time of 2 hours 53 minutes 39 seconds for a distance of 32 kms). However this year, she was not there to defend both record or title.  The adapted course was technically easier this year without the tricky steep downhill section from the upper paddock. The course now also had the runners heading down into the ditch in the reverse direction from 2023 which was also trickier.  Would a new record be set this year – the distance was still approximately 2km per lap?

The Challenge – Senior Men, Masters Men 35+

Nic Bathgate and Ben Pigou matched each other step for step over the first 8 laps with just seconds between them. Nic made his move on the 9th lap throwing down a 9:07 lap. Ben’s 9:23 left him 18 seconds adrift of Nic at the start of the 10th lap. Nic kept on applying the pressure from the front, putting into another faster lap on the 11th lap (9:05) and the 16th lap (9:06) to make sure that thoughts of making a comeback didn’t enter Ben’s mind. Nic kept up mostly steady laps right through to the end all under 9:30 whereas from lap 11 onwards Ben didn’t get under 9:30 on any of his laps. In the end Nic drew away to win in a new record on the new adapted course of 19 laps in under 3 hours (2:56:32). Ben fnished second running 18 laps in under 3 hours (2:51:05). He congratulated Nic on breaking his 2023 record. As well as finishing first and second overall, Nic and Ben also won the MM35+ grade.

Third was Senior Men’s runner Noah Burbank who started conservatively and as he built into the race, he passed Leith’s Ultra and Trail Captain to be lying third behind Nic and Ben. A position he didn’t relinqiush despite Chris’s determined efforts to get back to the podium overall third. Noah also won the Senior Men’s title running 18 laps in under 3 hours (2:55:24). Chris finished fourth overall with a podium third place the Masters Men 35+grade running 18 laps in under 3 hours (2:56:50)

Senior Men’s race was initially dominated by Leith’s Marcus Hurst who was in the lead in this grade by the end of the 3rd lap where he was level with Leith’s Ryan Whitburn who had caught up to him and who then kept the lead right up to the end of the 8th lap. Here Marcus got into the lead again which he would keep for the next two laps. Noah who had settled back into third place took the lead during the 11th lap – a lead which he would never relinquish in the Senior Men’s grade.  Ryan who had a bit of a scare with Marcus passing him again, put into a determined effort to hold on to his second position from the 12th lap onwards. He finished second in this grade running 16 laps in under 3 hours (2:48:36) and was 5th overall. Leith’s Bryan Staunton who had run conservatively and consistently throughout the race edged past Marcus in the 14th lap to grab the third place podium in the Senior Men’s grade running 16 laps in under three hours (2:53:08). He finished 6 overall. Marcus had to settle for 4th in this grade and 8th overall

The Challenge – Women and Masters Women 35+

Leith’s Lydia Pattillo had an excellent run in attempting to break the record set by Emma Timmis in 2023. She got close also completing 16 laps. However, her time was slower just about 5 minutes off the time that Emma set for the record.  Lydia completed 16 laps in under 3 hours (2:58:30) winning the MW35+ grade and finishing as first woman overall and 9th out of the field of 23 athletes.

Her nearest rival Leith’s Anna O’Byne was actually in the lead by the end of the third lap and looking like she would be the one to take the spoils. However she rolled her ankle badly tackling the notorious ditch and this slowed her down from then on. However, she courageously continued the race to finish in second place in the MW35+ grade running 15 laps in under 3 hours (2:52:31) which was a really superb effort. 

Also to briefly feature and actually leading on the first lap was Caversham’s Claire Anderton. However she was unable to sustain the pace and settled in third place for the rest of the race. She finished 3rd in the MW35+ grade completing 14 laps in under 3 hrs (2:59:03)

The Challenge – Masters Men 50+

The Masters Men 50+ category was also a competitive race, with famous Leith 3 Peaks Mountain Race Director and Trail and Ultra Marathoner Steve Tripp out to show that he still has what it takes to win a race.  Being the experienced Ultra Trail runner that he is, he started conservatively knowing that to prevail in this type of event you need to run at a consistent but conservative pace. He settled back in 2nd place behind Leith’s Lee Flowers who started off with a fast first lap of 9:54 (note: this would be his fastest lap) while Steve started off with 11:47 which would be his slowest lap.  Lee after another fast second lap of 11:00, 3rd lap 11:02 and 4th lap 11:02 got gradually slower and slower whereas Steve was like a metronome averaging around 11:26 per lap till the end. Steve overtook Lee in lap 9 and never looked back increasing his lead lap after lap. Steve won the grade running 15 laps in under 3 hours (2:51:20) with his last lap being faster than his first lap. He finished 10th overall. Lee had to settle for second place in the MM50+ grade running 14 laps in under 3 hours (2:47:04). Although Andy Smith had a fair first lap, he never threatened and he finished third in the MM50+ grade running 13 laps in under 3 hours (2:53:11)

The Challenge – Masters Men 60+

This was a two horse race, so to speak. Wayne Porteous and Jamie Sinclair (Leith & Fiordland) looked evenly matched. However, Wayne prevailed after Jamie was only to able complete 12 laps which he did in  2:12:51 opting not to continue to the 3 hour cutoff time. Wayne ran an excellent challenge finishing 14 laps in under 3 hours (2:54:21) to win this grade. He finished 13th overall

The Challenge – Masters Women 50+

This would be battle between Leith’s Christine Montgomery’s speed and Donna Tumaru’s famous endurance. Caversham’s Lynne Kerr had opted to walk the challenge so was unlikely to win this one unless the runners in front her hit the wall or got injured.  

Running barefoot throughout the race, Christine used her speed to gain a substantial lead over Donna. Even though Christine slowed down appreciably in the latter laps whilst Donna kept a consistent pace thoughout, it was enough for Christine to prevail for the win. She ran 11 laps in under 3 hours (2:45:55). Donna also completed 11 laps in under 3 hours running it in 2:50:26. Lynne finished third completing 8 laps in under 3 hours ( 2:44:18). Note that Lynne had helped during the course build and design on the Friday and had walked around the course a number of times on the day of the event filling holes and removing other obstructions. This was a sterling effort from her.



LOVELOCK RELAYS, 1pm Saturday 27 April

University Oval, Logan Park, Dunedin

Visit Leith Facebook Group for up to minute updates >> Leith Facebook Group

Results >> Cross Country Results 2024

This iconic relay event is to honour Jack Lovelock winner of the 1500m gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is organised by Hill City University Harriers Club. The races are run on a grass 375m track on the University Oval with each runner of a team doing (4x375m) 1500m each. The Senior Men’s teams contain 6 members whilst the rest have 4 team members. The 4 person kids teams do one lap of 375m each 

Leith Team photo by Ashim GC

What an awesome afternoon of top class relay running. The weather played its part with virtually no wind and warm overcast conditions. Leith had a massive turnout of 26 teams (the most ever by the club) and the blue and White club uniform could be seen everywhere. 

The Leith Senior Women’s team earned a well deserved second place on the podium against the quality Hill City-University team. The Leith Senior Men’s team despite some last minute changes took it to the young Hill City-University team with the overall depth of the Hill City-University team winnning out in the end but the “never say die” Leith team was not far behind in finishing second. 

The Leith Masters Women 35+ team won it’s grade in style. As did the Leith Masters Men 35+. 

Leith Senior Men finish second to HCU SM

This was the most exciting race of the afternoon. It was literally a two team race. The Leith SM1 team of Janus Staufenberg 04:07 (fastest time of the day), Dan Hayman 04:28, Stephen Johnson 04:32, Nathan Shanks 04:38, Sandor Toth 04:32 and Grayson Westgate 04:30 – combined time 26:47 put up a mighty effort against the Hill City – University SM1 Team of Jake Owen 04:18 (Second fastest of the day), Nico Alvarez Rey-Virag 04:27, Alex Witt 04:28,Josh Hou 04:36, Matt Bolter 04:20 (third fastest of the day) and Ollie O’Sullivan 04:22 for a combined time of 26:31.  The strong and swift Janua Staufenberg built up a substantial lead for the Leith team at the end of his leg of 11 seconds despite the young and swift Jake Owen (a sub-2min 800m runner) challenging him every inch of the way.  Janus’s strength told in the end. It was then catchup time for the HCU team as each runner gradually ate into the lead. Still HCU’s young and fast runner Matt Bolter (also a sub 2min 800m runner) had a bit of catching up to do on Sandor Toth who had recently returned from injury. He broke the “camel’s back” so to speak as he surged into the lead and never looked back or did he? When Matt handed over the batton to the wily old fox Ollie O’Sullivan the writing was on the wall. As hard as he tried Grayson Westgate could not make any gains on Ollie with HCU winning the race with 16 seconds to spare

Leith Senior Women finish second to HCU SW

This was always going to be a race between the Hill City-University SW1 and the Leith SW1.  The Leith Senior Women were missing a key runner, Olivia Thornbury, but the Leith team of Kristy Eyles 05:16, Orla Dunlop 05:59, Claudia Sole 05:15 and Alice Cuthbert 05:17 combined time 21:17 was determined to win this one. The HCU team of Becky Aitkenhead 04:33 (fastest on the day) Erin McKevitt 05:06, Taryn McLean 05:11 and Zara Geddes 04:54 (second fastest on the day) combined time 19:44 had two marquee runners, Becky and Zara, so Leith knew they had their work cut out. As expected NZ International runner Becky took the lead from the outset and she finished her leg having given the HCU team an unassaible lead due to the quality and depth of her team.  Leith put everything into the challenge but with NZ Junior International Cross Country runner Zara on the last leg it was all over bar the shouting.

Leith Masters Women 35 No 1 team win in fine style

The Leith team of Tess Molloy 05:28 (second fastest), Lydia Pattillo 05:47, Agnetha Korevaar 05:36 (third fastest) and Mel Aitken 05:46 combined time 22:37.0 knew they would have a race on their hands against the strong HCU team of Aly Craigie 05:21 (Fastest time), Leia Silby 06:18, Georgy Pakeho 05:54  and Jo Hare 05:51 combined time 23:24.0. With Tess and Aly having a great battle for supremacy with Aly winning the contest and giving her team a great start, it was however the greater depth of the Leith team that prevailed in the end for Mel to take the Leith team to a fine win

Leith Masters Men 35 win the toughest grade

This was definitely the toughest grade to win with some of the 6 Leith teams in with a podium chance. However, the Ariki Young Guns team of Eddi Smith 05:05 Bryce Saunders 05:18 Xavior Walker 05:04 and Aaron Porter 04:59 combined time of 20:26 was the one to be aware of with known quality runners for all four legs. The Leith team of Steven Morrison 04:42 (second fastest) Aaron Eyles 04:58 Ben Pigou 04:46 (third fastest) Nic Bathgate 04:35 (fastest time) combined time of 19:01 had fast runners on all four legs.  Steven took the Leith team into the lead by the end of his leg and the team just kept on building on its lead to end up winning comfortably. The Ariki Young Guns finished second with the Leith MM2 team of Andrew Lonie 05:04, Raul Martin Gomez 04:57, George Armstrong 05:25 and Mark O’Neill 05:59 combined time 21:25 finishing third.  The rest of the Leith teams ran well to achieve awesome times

Check out the photo collages below of some of the action