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New Zealand Cross Country Challenge, Saturday 29 August 2020

Chisholm Park Golf Course, Dunedin

Results are now available >> Athletics New Zealand Cross Country Challenge 2020 Results

There was some exciting running today with warm conditions becoming very gusty in the latter stages of the competition.  There was a lot on offer for the top performers.  A new medal called the NZ Cross Country Challenge Medal was swiftly minted for this event to be available under the Athletic New Zealand Championship categories.  Another medal was also available to be won under various age grades.

Check further below for some personal accounts from Leith athletes such as Lydia Pattillo, Andrew Lonie and Ray Knox.  

Otago featured prominently in the teams titles with the Leith contingent also contributing significantly in this category: Otago won the NZ Cross Country Challenge team gold in the following grades: The Women’s 35-49; the Women’s 50-84; the Women’s Under 18; the Men’s 35-49. Otago won the NZ Cross Country Challenge team silver in the following grades: Women’s Senior 10km; Men’s 50-64. Otago won NZ Cross Country Challenge team bronze in the following grades: Men’s Senior 10km; Men’s Under 18 


It was great to see the Otago Senior Women’s team securing the NZ Cross Country Challenge Silver with Becky Greene (Hill City-University) finishing in a triumphant second place in 39:39 followed by a very strong effort from Olivia Gold (Leith) in 8th place in 44:18, Jennifer Walker (Ariki) 11th in 46:49 and Lydia Pattillo (Leith) 12th in 48:09.   See Lydia’s full Senior Women’s race report below. 

The Otago Senor Men’s team of Hill City University’s Oli Chignell 3rd in 33:00.64 and Caden Shields 5th in 33:19.91, Leith’s Janus Staufenberg 11th in 34:40.22 and Hill City University’s Joshua Baan Otago 16th in 35:26.44 achieved a well deserved NZ Cross Country Challenge Bronze medal. Although outside the team placings Leith athletes Nic Bathgate 21st in 36:13.76, Nathan Cochrane 25th in 37:28.86 and Jack Shaw 31st in 39:32.50 all acquitted themselves well over the tough mostly undulating 5-lap 10km course. Janus Staufenberg competed well for the lead with Hayden Wilde of Waikato Bay who is in the form of his life and who eventually finished first in a remarkable 31:43.27.  However Hayden’s relentless pace eventually proved too much for Janus and with Hayden disappearing into the distance on the second lap, Janus settled back into the chasing pack.

Leith’s Julius Staufenberg up against some quality national performers in the 4-lap 8km Men’s Under 20 race ran bravely to finish a creditable ninth in 28:56. With only three athletes in this grade for Otago and four to count, Otago were unable to challenge for a team medal.

The third of the Staufenberg brothers, Leo Staufenberg of Leith was the only Leith athlete representing Leith in the 6km Men’s Under 18 race.  Once again this race was stacked with top competitors from around the country and he battled gamely to finish in 18th place in a very good time of 23:19

Leith’s Glen Chisholm 3rd in the 8km Master Men’s 35-39 grade in 29:41 spearheaded the Otago team to a NZ Cross Country Challenge Gold in the Master Men’s 35-49 grade. Ariki’s Xaviour Walker in 29:53, Leith’s Steven Morrison in 29:58 and Caversham’s Blair Martin in 30:06 rounded off the team effort.  Leith’s Andrew Lonie missed out narrowly on being part of the Men’s 35-49 team gold medal winning team, however he achieved a well-earned bronze medal in the Master Men’s 45-49 grade in 30:52 (read his report which is further down in this article).  The Otago Men’s 50-64 team achieved a NZ Cross Country Challenge Silver in the 8km race. Caversham’s Geoff Anderson in 34:22 spearheaded this team effort, with Hill City Uni’s Stephen Bloomfield in 34:51 and Richard Fogarty in 36:49 and Leith’s Ray Knox in 36:54 helping to bring home the bacon. It was good to see accomplished Masters runner Ray Knox back in the medals again after work commitments have curtailed his running over the past few years – see his report later on in this article.  Leith’s Chris Sole finished a solid 4th in the Men’s 60-64 in 38:44

Another one of Leith’s top performers was Christine Montgomery who had a fantastic run in the 6km Master Women’s 50+ grade.  She won the NZ Cross Country Challenge Gold in this grade as overall winner in a time of 28:38.  In doing so she also won the Women’s 50-54 grade gold medal.  With some significant national and Otago road titles perhaps still on offer this season, her form is very encouraging for some more gold medals. Leith’s Siobhan McKinlay up against some quality national class runners in the Women’s 45-49 grade, never gave up in finishing 4th in 30:28

What a pity there was no team medal available for the 6km Master Men’s 65+ age grade race. If there had been then Dave McLean would have been part of a gold medal winning Otago team in this grade.  He ran exceptionally well to finish 5th in the Men’s 65-69 grade in a time of 31:09

Leith Senior Women’s Racereport by Lydia Patillo

The final, and longest, race of the day for senior men and women was greeted with the strongest wind gusts of the day to contend with in what felt like all directions. It was safe to say the Covid-19 situation and the daunting 10km distance had its greatest effect on the Senior Women’s race with very low entry numbers coupled with many late pull-outs.  A disappointing number of only 12 contested the race.  In saying that, the standard was still very high with a few international runners back home and able to run.

The senior women for Otago (Becky Greene of HCU, Olivia Gold and Lydia Pattillo both of Leith) were very pleased to have the late change approved to bring Ariki’s Jennifer Walker down from the Masters race to complete the Otago team of four to hopefully secure a medal (assuming all finished).

Assuming the race couldn’t possibly be any windier than it was at Otago Champs, we were cruelly proven wrong and the battle of the wind became even harder than the tough geography of the course itself.  A blistering pace was set from the get-go before many realised just how tough the course and conditions were and the field began to spread for the killer 5 lap challenge. By race end, Otago had secured the NZ Cross Country Challenge Silver for the Senior Women’s team with Becky finishing in a triumphant second place followed by a very strong effort from Olivia in fifth, Jennifer and Lydia rounding out the team effort in 10th and 11th place respectively.

Master Men’s 35-64, Men U20 grade 8km Race – report by Andrew Lonie

Today was my seventh National cross country event – and sixth as a Master. The continuous rolling terrain was reminiscent of Waikanae Park (2008 & 2010) and Harcourt Park Upper Hutt (2018) but with fewer straight flat stretches.  As often with a national event targeted months in advance, how preparation goes in the final weeks can vary and it can come to just doing what you can with the condition you are in on the day – a week out with a cold meant I only had a couple of days chance to feel good beforehand.

The start had a strange feeling with the pack almost languid for the first 400m or so – but perhaps it was just consistently brisk as I went through the first 2k in 7 minutes – plenty of familiar talent to work with – Steve Morrison, Glen Chisholm, Blair Martin, Xaviour Walker, Robbie Johnston, Leon Miyahara (U20)  – but too fast for my aim of just under 30 minutes for the 8k.  I slowed down to 8 minutes for the next 2k and let people go a bit, to try and recover. That seemed to help for Laps 3 and 4 where I could still push up the two steep hills on each lap.  Bare feet were good on those, and didn’t let me down when flying down the slightly muddy and cambered descent through the macrocarpas.  I heard so many encouraging words from the sidelines.  Having the legendary Richard Bennett pop up on my shoulder in the last two laps was encouraging too, and I recalled him winning outright in Waikanae in 2008. 

As I pushed into the wind up the final straight I saw the clock and thought, oh well, I’m just going to have to make sure I get under 31 minutes instead of 30 – finishing in 30:52 which was 28 seconds slower than the Otago champs on the same course, but I managed to achieve 3rd MM45-49, and came away, all things considered, happy and content to have been part of another national challenge.

Coming back from work to runningreport by Ray Knox

So after a few years of injuries and even more lacking motivation, too old, too slow, why bother?  I decided in late 2019 that i would enter the Rotorua Marathon in May 2020 to force myself to get running again.  I would have to run right?  Things were going ok until covid 19 and a big increase in work load at work derailed my motivation again. However, some timely annual leave in the last month helped me to a 49 second improvement from the Otago Champs two weeks earlier.  It is so good to be back racing, and I plan to kept going as I am a long way from where I want to be. So for any Leith runners out there, who are injured or lacking motivation or both, don’t give up and I will see you on the starting line sometime soon.

In conclusion:

This was a great day out for Otago and New Zealand Cross Country athletes despite the Covid-19 restrictions.  The weather truly played its part, the course was in sublime condition and the organisation appeared to go very smoothly without any hiccups.  Thanks to all those volunteers out there from the clubs and elsewhere.  Your support is most appreciated by the organisers and the athletes.  Thanks to the Chisholm Park Golf Course for allowing this event to take place and for the support given.  Thanks to all the Athletics New Zealand and Otago Athletics officials and administrators for their fabulous organisation of this event.  We also thank Leith’s Margaret Knox for her major part in the management of the event and to Leith’s Greg Johnston for his invaluable work in setting up the finishing area and the equipment organisation, a task he has done for many many years.  Thanks also to the guys doing the live streaming of the event which is now on Youtube and finally thanks to the athletes themselves and their supporters and spectators who made it a really great day out.

This report has been compiled by Marc Boullé with contributions by Ray Knox, Lydia Pattillo and Andrew Lonie.  Photos provided by Marc Boullé, Chris Sole and Gisela Sole

This report is now complete (please email Marc if there seem to be any mistakes)

Otago Cross Country Championships, Sunday, 9 August 2020

Chisholm Park Golf Course, Dunedin

For provisional results >> Athletics Otago Results

For an idea of what the actual course map looked like, check the NZ Cross Country Championship link

On a sunny, cool and windy day at the Chisholm Park Golf Course with mostly firm under foot conditions over the new tough and undulating cross country course, Leith’s Janus Staufenberg the defending champion won the Senior Men’s 10km Cross Country race over 5 laps in a time of 33 minutes 29 seconds.  In the process he won the Fairmaid Challenge Trophy (Senior Men Individual Winner). Initially he had a tough tussle with University of Canterbury runner Daniel Balchin in a rerun of last year’s race at Waikouaiti Race Course. However, he gradually drew away from Balchin who finished second in 34 minutes 3 seconds.  The Leith team of Staufenberg, Nathan Cochrane 4th in 36:06, Nic Bathgate 6th in 36:17, and Jack Shaw 15th in 40:31 won the W L Hooper Shield (Senior Men Winning Team).

Glen Chisholm of Leith won the 4-lap 8km race Men’s 35-49 title in 30 minutes 1 second anchoring the Leith team of Steven Morrison 3rd in 30:11 and Andrew Lonie 5th in 30:24 to the team’s title.  The Leith MM35-49 Team of Richard Campbell 7th in 31:50, Simon Leaning 12th in 34:01 and Mark O’Neill 13th in 34:07 finished third.

Christine Montgomery of Leith won the Masters Women’s 50+ title in 28 minutes 40 seconds over the 3-lap 6km course.  Leith only had one other runner in this grade – Rachael McKinney who was fifth in 35:29. Leith needed three team members to challenge for the team’s title.

Olivia Gold of Leith finished second in 43 minutes 20 seconds in the Senior Women’s 10km (5 lap) race. Lydia Pattillo finished 5th in 46:52. With only two runners finishing Leith were unable to challenge for the team’s title.  Leith’s third runner Sharon Lequeux who had a fine run was unfortunately disqualified due to a technicality (wearing an earphone).

Leith’s Danny Baillie  finished second in 33 minutes 18 seconds in the Master Men’s 50-64 grade 4-lap 8km race. The Leith team of Baillie, Ray Knox 8th in 37:38 and Lee Flowers 10th in 38:11 finished second in the team’s event narrowly holding off the third place Caversham team by just one point.

Leith’s unbreakable mean machine, Dave McLean snatched third place in the Master Men’s 65+ grade 6km (3-lapper) in 31 minutes 16 seconds. He was Leith’s only entrant in this event.

Julius Staufenberg finished 7th in 29 minutes 44 seconds as Leith’s sole competitor in the 4-lap 8km Men’s Under 20 race.

Also running bravely were the 6km Masters Women 35-49 Leith runners: Siobhan McKinlay who finished 7th in 31 minutes 13 seconds; Lucy Marr 8th in 34:14; Jane Adams 9th in 39:31

Well done to all those athletes who competed in this event.  A hearty thanks to all those Leith members and non-Leith members who helped in the organising and officiating at this great event.

Sorry if I missed anyone out in the photos – was also officiating so it was difficult to get everyone.  Hopefully someone else took some photos so we can add anyone missing into the collages – report compiled by Marc Boullé

Barnes Cross Country, Sunday, 26 July 2020

Kettle Park, Victoria Street, Dunedin

For results and event details >> Athletics Otago Cross Country Results

ODT Online Report, Mon 27 July 2020 >> Race win dedicated to nephew 

Leith’s Day in the Sun at the Barnes 2020 Cross Country

Leith’s Ray Knox won silver in great style at the Barnes Open Men’s 5km Handicap race. Coming back from a long layoff, he kept up a relentless steady pace over the four laps.  Although Leith did not have the required six runners in this race to count for the team prize, they nevertheless put in a great effort and did Leith proud.  The weather was fantastic with cool sunny still conditions and the ground was firm.  Ideal for good cross country running and some fast times.  Andrew Lonie was the next Leith athlete across the line, finishing in 7th place with an actual time of 18 minutes 37 seconds. He was the fastest Leith runner.  Coming back from an injury sustained in a fall whilst out training, the tough Chris Sole was next Leith runner in 8th place. Mark O’Donnell finished in 21st place whilst in 23rd place was the evergreen Dave McLean.

The Leith Women’s team (3 runners to count – O’Donnell 4th, Montgomery 7th, Gold 11th) almost snatched teams’ first place in the 3.75km event but in the end had to settle for second place (22 points) behind the strong Hill City University team on 14 points . Caitlin O’Donnell was the first Leith woman to finish achieving a fourth place in an actual time of 17 minutes 2 seconds.  Christine Montgomery was the second Leith athlete to finish. She finished in 7th place on handicap. The third Leith athlete to finish was Olivia Gold in 11th place. She was Leith’s fastest athlete being 4th fastest overall in an actual time of 15 minutes 30 seconds. The Leith contingent started pouring in after that:  15th place Meriam Van Os (actual time 16:15, 8th fastest overall); 16th Jane Adams; 17th Gaya Gnanalingam; 20th Sophie Smith; 21st Lydia Pattillo, 22nd Orlaith Heron; 23rd Siobhan McKinlay. What a pity the strong women’s field was not counting for six team members for the team prize – Leith may have won that prize.

TK Cowan Race, 8km Handicap, Sat 18 July 2020

Tomahawk Hall, 307 Tomahawk road, Ocean Grove, Dunedin
Organised by Hill City University Harriers Club and invitation extended to Leith Harriers

For the Hill City University Athletics Manager’s Report >> Hill City Uni Manager’s Report

For results >> TK Cowan Race, Hill City University Athletics

Leith Harriers athletes were invited to take part in this iconic event.  The sun shone brightly and the wind blew cold and hard from the North East.  The first Leith athlete across the line in the 8km handicap event was new member Orlaith Herron off a handicap of 18 minutes for an actual time of 39 minutes 34 seconds finishing in 9th place. She was 7 minutes 34 seconds behind the winner on handicap. The second Leith athlete across the line was Mark O’Donnell who off a 20 minute handicap steadily worked his way through the field to finish in 11th place in an actual time of 37 minutes 41 seconds.  He was 7 minutes 41 seconds behind the winner on handicap.  Simon Leaning was off a handicap of 23 minutes and flew through the field finishing in 13th place with an actual time of 35 minutes 4 seconds which was the third fastest time of the day.  He was 8 minutes 4 seconds behind the winner on handicap.  Next across the line for Leith was Caitlin O’Donnell who was off 17 minutes.  She finished 18th overall in an actual time of 42 minutes 45 seconds.  Marc Boulle was off 4 minutes but heading up the first hill got a dog attached to his ankle which drew some blood.  After a discussion with the dog owners who had some menacing out-of-control dogs in their driveway and ensuring that the dogs were under control before the younger runners arrived behind him, he attempted to carry on running but by then had lost his mojo and jogged half the course instead for a DNF.  The Leith athletes results did not count for any of the Hill City University trophies but they got an honourable mention.  The hot soup and refreshments afterwards were much appreciated and the organisation was excellent for this iconic event.  Bruce Cowan, who is the son of TK Cowan which the race is named after, gave us all a nice history of the event.   In fact, Merrilee Williams who is the granddaughter of TK Cowan won the prize for first person overall and also first female across the line. 

Lovelock Relays, Saturday, 11 July 2020

University Oval. Dunedin
Organised by Hill City University Harriers Club and Athletics Otago

Teams Relays 4 or 6 x 1500m around 375m grass track

ODT online report Monday 13 July 2020 >> Caversham breaks dominance of HCU

Click here >> Cross Country Results 2020

The Leith Masters Mens No 1 Team takes the Master Men’s title whilst the Leith Senior Men’s No 1, Senior Women’s No 1  and Master Women’s teams finish second in their grades

It was a glorious winter’s day with light winds, warm weather and the sun shone brightly on the proceedings.  The Leith Senior Men’s No 1 team of Nathan Hill, Julius Staufenberg, Nick Bathgate, Jack Divers, Liam Chesney and Janus Staufenberg finished second to the strong Hill City University Senior Men’s No. 1 team in a time of 27 minutes 6 seconds – with Janus achieving fastest time out of all teams of 4 minutes 5 seconds.  The Hill City University’s team’s time was a fast 26 minutes 29 seconds.  The Leith SM No 2 team of Mark O’Neil, Luke McKinlay, Simon Leaning, Mark O’Donnell had a steady run too.

The Leith Master Men’s No. 1 Team of Andrew Lonie, Steven Morrison, Neale McLanachan, and Danny Baillie won its grade in a time of 20 minutes 49 seconds with Hill City University MM #1 second in 21 minutes 6 seconds.  The Leith Master Men’s No 2  Team of Mark O’Neil, Luke McKinlay, Simon Leaning, Mark O’Donnell was third in 21 minutes 54 seconds.  The Leith MM No 3 team of Steve Tripp, Peter Hughes, Marc Boulle and Lee Flowers ran steadily to finish around 6th in its grade. 

The Leith Senior Women’s No 1 team of Lydia Patillo, Caitlin O’Donnell, Olivia Gold and Merian van Os ran exceptionally well to finish second in 23 minutes 5 seconds to the strong Caversham SW No 1 team.  The Leith SW #2 team of Sophie Smith, Gaya Gnanalingam, Zoe Van-Wijk and Claudia Sole also had a very good run.

The Leith Masters Women’s No 1 team of Siobhan McKinlay, Christine Montgomery, Jane Adams and Rach McKinney had a great race finishing second in 27 minutes 23 seconds to the Caversham Master Women’s No 1 team.

The kids teams also had a great day out on the park.  The teams were Leith Kids #1 Terrance Farella, Oliver Morgan, Rowan Hamilton and Archie Mckinlay and Leith Kids #2 Daniel Morgan, James O’Neill, Ailish O’Neill  and Dante Taigel-Pierce

Thanks to Chris Sole and the team captains and all those who helped in getting these teams together and those who helped with the lap counting and to all those athletes who took part in this iconic event. Thanks also to the timekeepers and officials from all the clubs and thanks to Hill City University Harriers for putting on this event.

Kennet Cup/ SI Cross Country Champs, Saturday 4 July 2020

Christchurch QE11 Park 
For more results visit Athletics Canterbury, Kennett Cup

Lovelock Trials, Club Mile, Saturday, 4 July 2020

Guthrie Pavilion, Bayfield Park, Andersons Bay

For results >> Cross Country Results 2020

Leith members were invited to run a mile trial in conjunction with Ariki Harriers and Civil Service Harriers starting at 1.45pm from the Guthrie Pavilion, Bayfield Park, Andersons Bay for a one mile flat loop starting on the path bordering the Andersons Bay Inlet, and going right around the inlet.  It was not cross country, but has been put into the cross country bracket because usually it is run on grass. 

Three Leith athletes competed in howling windy conditions.  Nathan Hill won the one mile loop course in an easy 5 minutes 16 seconds.  Christine Montgomery ran well to finish in seventh place in 6 minutes 57 seconds.  Marc Boulle propped up the field from the back with an easy 9 minutes 18 seconds.  Leith thanks Ariki and Civil Service for inviting the club to the event and for the refreshments afterwards.  Life Member Kevin Blair was there as well in a walking capacity.  It is a pity not more club members supported this event. 

Rotary Park Cross Country 5km, Saturday, 27 June 2020

Rotary Park Lookout, Highcliff Road, Dunedin

Full results >> Results 2020

Leith were invited to the Rotary Park X-Country 5km by Ariki Athletics and Harriers Club and Hill City-University Athletic Club. The distance was four laps of approximately 1.25 km per lap for a distance of about 5km.  There were options for the juniors to do 1 or 2 or 3 laps. The course was undulating run mostly on grass and with some tree roots to spoil the flow. The weather was sunny but with a cold North Easterly blowing hard on the exposed hilly parts of the course.  The ground was firm and made for some good times.

Mark O’Neill, Mark O’Donnell, Caitlin O’Donnell and Christine Montgomery lined up to take on the large Hill City University Harriers contingent as well as the Ariki Harriers runners. Hill City University’s Mike Geddes was first across the line in the 5km with ninth fastest time of 22 minutes 13 seconds. Leith’s Caitlin O’Donnell was second across the line. She ran very well carving out an extra part of the course just for herself and in the process adding a few metres to her distance including an extra slight uphill section. Her actual time of 22 minutes 20 seconds was tenth fastest. Hill City University’s Luke Geddes was third across the line also achieving second fastest actual time of 20 minutes 2 seconds, narrowly missing the 20 minute barrier.  Mark O’Donnell was the next Leith runner to hit the line finishing in tenth place with an actual time of  21 minutes 55 seconds.  Fastest Leith runner was Mark O’Neill who was the next Leith runner across the line in 13th place in an actual time of  21 minutes 14 seconds which was the fifth fastest. Christine Montgomery was running well but was unfortunately unable to finish.  Fastest runner in the 5km was Ollie O’Sullivan of Hill City University who coasted in at the back of the field for an actual time of 19 minutes 26 seconds.

Afterwards we were treated to a nice table of refreshments at the Ariki Clubrooms at Bayfield Park.  Thanks to both Hill City-University and Ariki for inviting Leith to this excellent event.