The University of Canterbury shattered the course record en-route to clinching a richly-deserved first senior men’s title in nine years while North Harbour Bays earned a fifth women’s win in eight editions at the New Zealand Road Relay Championships in sunny Feilding on Saturday.
Following narrow defeats of less than a minute to Wellington Scottish in each of the past two years, the University of Canterbury were not lacking in motivation to climb to the top of the men’s podium.
The Christchurch-based club made their intentions known from the first leg, seizing control of the race with New Zealand mountain running champion Andy Good establishing a 56-second advantage from Tayler Reid of Pakuranga AC.
It was a lead the classy seven-strong University of Canterbury team did not relinquish, as they went on to complete the 67.467km distance in an eye-catching 3:30:03 – to wipe almost five minutes from the course record set by Wellington Scottish.
Some 6:40 further back, Pakuranga AC enjoyed a strong outing to take an impressive second spot.
Wellington Scottish, who were bidding for what would have been a record-breaking sixth successive men’s senior title, secured third in a total time of 3:37:57.
Pakuranga AC claimed their first ever victory in the junior men’s race and did so in a short course record time to deny host club Feilding Moa Harriers a second successive title.
The club completed the six-person 38.368km distance in 2:05:11 – with Zane Powell particularly impressive courtesy of a record-breaking fourth-lap time of 20:48 – to repel Feilding Moa by a 1:04 margin. Christchurch Avon in 2:07:10 claimed third.
Olympic Harriers earned a maiden success in the junior women’s event with an impressive victory in a cumulative total time of 2:28:39. Auckland City were a further 2:28 back in second. Wellington Harriers, the 2018 and 2019 champions, rounded out the top three in 2:34:56.