Gutsy Gutsell savours his golden day

Southland runner Ricky Gutsell grabbed himself a national title on Saturday when he won the 50-plus age-group at the New Zealand road race championships in Dunedin on Saturday.

Gutsell has spent the past few years finishing on the podium at the event but was eager to turn the bronze and silver medals he had won into a gold one this year.

That's just what he did.

It was a determined end which won it for Gutsell as he powered home to win by just three seconds over the 10km distance.

Southland athletics official Lance Smith said it was well-deserved. "That was a damn good result; that was a very tough division he was in."

It took another blistering finish for fellow Southlander Jordan Rackham to take silver in the boys (under-18) section.

Rackham headed into the end of the 6000m race looking as if he could miss out on the medals. Instead, he produced some of his speed he usually uses over his preferred 800m distance to ensure he grabbed silver.

"He was fifth with 200m to go and powered home to get second," Smith said.

Other notable Southland performances included Debbie Telfer, who won bronze in the 55-59 masters women age-group despite not being able to train because of injury.

The Southland girls under-18 team won gold in for the best overall team. Southland won the honour because they were the only province with the required four runners. It appeared to be a hollow win but Smith said that wasn't the case.

"The girls really deserved the gold because one of their goals was to finish so they had a team and Fion Muhl is injured and really should not have been running, but she did it for the others. It's that Southland spirit that got them the gold."

The Southland Times