Feilding Moa Harrier Club excels at national champs

One of the major cross-country events on the national calendar is the North Island championships held each year in Taupo.

This year's event was an outstanding success for the Feilding Moa Harrier Club, which returned home with two of the titles and filled all three podium spots in the boys' 12-and-under event.

Noah Macdermid won the event, Benjamin Wall was second, Sam Phillips third and Hael Pritchard finished sixth. A most impressive club result.

Zia Macdermid made it a family double, impressively winning the girls' 14 event, with Palmerston North club member Jharna Melbourne fifth.

Tulin Pritchard was unlucky to miss a podium finish with her fourth placing in the girls' 12-and-under race.

Juanita Paterson was fifth in the 35-39 grade.

Liam Wall was another close to the podium, with fourth in the boys' 10 event.

Palmerston North runners David Lovelock and Lance Gray both finished 13th in their respective grades, with Moa club captain Rob Dabb completing a fine day for his club with a sixth in the 50-54 grade.

Athletics Manawatu-Wanganui has long been recognised as being one of the best nurseries for younger athletes and that was enhanced on Saturday.

Both winners of the senior events were athletes who started their careers under Alec McNab in Whanganui before taking up American university scholarships.

Holly Van Dalen, the twin sister of Olympian Lucy, won the women's race, with Hugo Beamish convincingly taking out the men's.

■ The other week I covered the local successes in the New Zealand Marathon championships in Wellington. However, I overlooked the successes from members of the Manawatu Striders Club in the walking events that form part of these championships.

David Jones was first in the marathon walk, with Denise Brunskill fourth to finish and the second woman. In the 10km walk, Dave Cushing was third across the line and second male, while Bridget Wade was the second woman.

■ Congratulations to Nick Willis and wife Sierra on the arrival of their son Lachlan, born last week on American Independence Day.

■ Feilding Moa runner Patricia Stichbury discovered one of the pitfalls of booking accommodation on the internet.

Patricia crossed the Tasman last weekend to compete in the Gold Coast marathon and had booked accommodation at a Southport motel, only to discover the accommodation she had secured was at a motel in Southport, England.

Fortunately, she was able to find alternative accommodation, closer to the start line than her original booking. Patricia completed the marathon in 3hr 52min 35sec to take seventh place in the 55-59 grade. She was the 1550th finisher out of the 4828 who completed this event.

■ We can only look with envy at the news out of Australia that the Victorian Government has made a generous investment of $120,000 towards the hosting of both next year's Australian Athletics Championships and the first round of the IAAF World Challenge.

This investment means Melbourne will be hosting these two bumper events at the state-of-the-art Lakeside Stadium. Athletics Australia has also announced the dates of some of its key events.

Melbourne's Zatopek Classic is on December 12, The Hunter Classic in Newcastle is on January 18, the Australian Junior Championships will be in Sydney from March 12 to 16, with the Sydney Classic being held as part of these championships on March 15.

The Melbourne World Challenge is set down for March 22, and the Australian Championships on April 3-6.

While most of these dates fit in well with the New Zealand programme, it is disappointing that the Hunter Classic clashes with the Potts Classic in Hastings.

As I have mentioned previously, I have strong affiliations with both the host clubs, and during the past week I received advice from Newcastle that it is looking at a suggestion that it might be able offer sponsorship for a local athlete to travel to Newcastle to compete at its meeting.

A reminder to Palmerston North club members of the working bee at the track on Sunday at 2pm

■ What's On

July 10: World Youth Championships, Donetsk, Ukraine

July 21: Manawatu Striders Winter Series

Manawatu-Wanganui Road Championships

July 27: Halcombe Relays

August 3: New Zealand Crosscountry Championships Hamilton.

August 11: Manawatu Striders Half-Marathon

Manawatu Standard