Quin Hartley wins two national titles in last hurrah before moving to Yukon
Quin Hartley's two national titles at the New Zealand track and field championships could be the last time he's sighted on an athletics track for a while.
Manawatu's Hartley won two titles at the national track and field championships at Hamilton at the weekend - the 400m and the 4x400m sprint along with Manawatu-Wanganui team-mates Sam Merson, Brayden Grant and Zac Topping.
But Hartley is putting athletics on hold for a while so he can move to the Canadian wilderness to build houses.
Now he has finished studying, Hartley has organised through family friends to shift to Whitehorse in Yukon in western Canada, towards the Alaskan border.
He said there might be a grass track there, but expected it to only be available for a couple of months a year because of the harsh winter conditions.
It was a successful last hurrah for the 20-year-old Hartley though, as he won the 400m on Saturday, running 48.63 seconds to beat Thomas Smith of Hawke's Bay-Gisborne in 49.09 and Michael Gutry of Waikato-Bay of Plenty in 49.38.
"That was pretty close," Hartley said. "I was on the outside lane and my two major competitors were on the inside right next to each other.
"I knew I had to go out hard because they would be working off each other."
He said he found a bit extra at the end to win the race and his time was a season best.
Then in the 4x400m race on Sunday, the Manawatu-Wanganui four finished in 3min 19.33sec, ahead of the Waikato-Bay Of Plenty team (3min 19.91sec) and Canterbury (3min 20.25sec).
Merson and Grant were first and second and put them in a good position. Topping then flew down the back straight to set Hartley up in the final leg to win the race.
"The relay, the 4x400, was always something we've got our sights set on as a squad," Hartley said. "We've got quite a bit of depth as a 400m team."
He also ran the 4x100m with Harry Symes and Jordan Peters and finished fourth.
Hartley ran the 400m at the Auckland Track Challenge last month, where he finished second behind Waikato-Bay Of Plenty's Cameron French.
That race was the big one he needed to get his final race form ready, Hartley said.
Hartley's efforts of winning two national titles is even more impressive considering he had brain surgery two and a half years ago, having seriously injured his head while doing high jump training.
He had ruptured a blood vessel in his brain and required brain surgery, which put him out of action for four months.
Manawatu-Wanganui athletes won nine gold medals and four senior titles at the event, which is thought to be the most successful haul in years.
Along with Hartley's two, Ben Langton-Burnell won the javelin and Hamish Kerr won the high jump, for the second time in three years.
There was also five silver meals and seven bronze medals for Manawatu-Wanganui athletes, but there were two bronze medal winners who were competing for other centres.
Manawatu's Stacey Gunn was competing for Otago and Dannevirke's Corinna Minko was competing for Australia.