Sanson notches fourth half-marathon title
Marton dairy farmer Dave Lovelock wasn't going to let Palmerston North's Chris Sanson cruise around the 32nd Manawatu Striders' half-marathon course yesterday.
Sanson might have won again, but he never shook off the smaller man and the margin was a mere 13 seconds in perfect conditions yesterday.
Three years ago they had a sprint finish, but 27-year-old Lovelock must wonder when it will be his turn.
"Not when he's around," Lovelock said. "I couldn't catch him."
Last year Lovelock was runner-up to Sanson by 29 seconds. It was Sanson's fourth win in the event and his second over the new course.
In their happy post-race post mortem, Sanson said he would get out by 10, 15 and eight seconds over Lovelock. "I had a bit of a spew just over the [Fitzherbert] bridge and I thought he was going to get me."
Lovelock has been running since he was a lad at Rangitikei College in Marton and gets time to train because the farm is a family operation.
He was ninth in the 5000m at the track nationals in the wind at Wellington, so Sanson didn't want to risk a sprint finish against him.
Third and a minute back was Wellington engineer Brian Garmonsway running a personal best in Trentham United Harriers singlet.
Sanson meanwhile, was trying to go under 1hr 11sec and was only four seconds from doing so. Last year he won in 1:11.41.
He said the conditions were spot-on yesterday and while the breeze wasn't strong, he came in sporting wind burn.
"My plan was to get ahead and stay ahead," he said.
The pesky Lovelock forced him to go flat out. They were running 3.22 minutes per kilometre.
"I was running scared for 21km."
He had been hoping to take it easy before defending his national duathlon title at Taupo in two weeks time. "I want to have an easy summer; nothing too serious."
Meanwhile, fleet-footed former Manawatu Standard reporter Jimmy Ellingham, 28, won the men's 10km run by 48 seconds in 37min 07sec.
He headed off Palmerston North Massey University sport and exercise student Liam Woolford, 19, (37.55) and Palmerston North Boys' High School's Harrison Porritt, 14, (38:16). Woolford was back from four months out with an injured ankle.
In the half marathon walk, New Plymouth's Mike Neild took the honours in 2:07.57 and the first woman was Wanganui's Gai-Marie Smart in 2:11.43, both aged over 50.
The event attracted 917 athletes, as against 909 last year. There were 339 runners, 115 walkers (down by about 100), 135 in the 5km fun run and 328 10km runners and walkers.
Top finishers: 1 Chris Sanson (PN) 1hr 11.03min, 2 Dave Lovelock (Marton) 1:11.16, 3 Brian Garmonsway (Lower Hutt) 1:12.04, 4 Jared Humphries (PN) 1:17.20, 5 Struan Webb (Feilding) 1:17.45, 6 Morton David (New Plymouth) 1:19.15, 7 Kunaal Rajpal (Auckland) 1:21.12, 8 Nick Rogerson (PL) 1:22.10, 9 Nicole Goldsmid (Feilding) 1:23.15, 10 Phill Jones (Wellington) 1:23.30.