Snowfall a Challenge 'curve-ball'

03:00, Nov 05 2012
QT Hill Challenge 1
Claire Frooms, the second woman to finish the QT Hill Challenge.
QT Hill Challenge 2
QT Hill Challenge winner Dean Chiplin, left, with Maurice Whelan, who was second.
QT Hill Challenge 3
Nicola Dudley, the first woman to finish in this year's QT Hill Challenge.
QT Hill Challenge 4
Wakatipu High School student Isabella Nicholson, left, who will attend Branches Camp this year with Annabel Ritchie. The valley to the right of Annabelle leads to the Branches Station.

Fresh snowfall covering high-altitude sections of Saturday's Queenstown Hill Challenge threw a ''curve-ball'' runners and organisers had not anticipated.

Race co-ordinator Robin Miller said high winds and snowfall probably culled contestant numbers down from 200 to 110, which was disappointing.

''The weather gave us a real curve-ball, as it was awfully windy and no-one anticipated having to run through four inches of snow,'' Mr Miller said.

''The previous day when we were marking out the track we had was glorious weather. We used white course markers, and of course on the morning of the race those were not visible to runners. Luckily we had some very good marshalling organised, so in the end apart from a few runners going very slightly off course everything went well.''

The race is a fundraiser for the Wakatipu High School senior camp at Branches Station at the head of Skippers Canyon.

Dean Chiplin won the men's 13km Sugar Loaf course with a time of 1.07.05. Maurice Whelan came second with a time of 1.07.33 and Seamus Costello third with 1.10.16.

In the women's section Nicola Dudley came first with a time of 1.29.23. Claire Frooms came second with 1.37.23, and Janet Slye placed third with 1.38.17.

In the youth section Dylan O'Connor placed first with 1.10.30 while Josh Speight and Jacob Flannigan tied for second equal with 1.25.03. The first female youth to cross the line was Witney Middendorf in 1.48.0.

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