Sprint gives Matt Harris national distance win

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 23/06/2014
Matt Harris
KENT BLECHYNDEN/ Fairfax NZ

FINISHING JOY: Matt Harris crosses the line to win the national half-marathon title in Wellington yesterday.

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Joseph Parker says Kali Meehan's size, experience will test world title aspirations Veteran Kali Meehan confirmed as Joseph Parker's next opponent in Auckland bout Surf star Mick Fanning donates $83,000 TV fee to fellow shark attack survivor AFL star Adam Goodes set to return for Sydney Swans against Geelong Cats Secrecy surrounds identity of red-carded Canterbury hockey player Outgoing IAAF president Lamine Diack hits back at 'joke' mass doping allegations Lauren Boyle qualifies for 1500m freestyle final at swimming world championships Quiz: Test your sports knowledge - August 4 Aussie boxer Bowie Tupou slams claims he took a dive in loss to Joseph Parker New coach Kevin Braswell may lure Southland Sharks players to Wellington

It wasn't the distance Matt Harris had dreamed of, but it felt pretty good nonetheless.

Running for Auckland City, the 26-year-old Cantabrian claimed his first national title in Wellington yesterday, finishing with a withering burst of speed to win the half-marathon in 1hr 8min 32sec, four seconds ahead of pre-race favourite Daniel Balchin.

''I always dreamed of doing it in the 1500 but this opportunity came up and I was in good shape so I thought I'd come down and give it a good crack,'' said Harris, who collapsed on the Westpac Stadium concourse after crossing the line.

''I've been on the grind for about 10 years so it's nice to get a win. I'm just stoked.''

An accountant, Harris lived in Wellington for two years after graduating from university, before shifting to Auckland.

He believed his experience running for Wellington Scottish gave him an edge yesterday, overtaking Balchin with 400 metres to go.

''When you sign up for a half-marathon on the Wellington waterfront in the middle of June, you're not really expecting tip-top conditions. There were a few moments where you start to doubt yourself but I managed to get to the end and have a big finish.

"I'm mainly a 1500 metre guy so I'd always planned on leaving it as late as possible. In the last 600 it was 'believe, believe'. Going up that tiny wee hill [stadium ramp], it feels like Mt Everest at the end. 

''I just pinned the ears back and didn't dare look back in case anyone was coming behind me.''

Balchin finished second while Rowan Hooper, who set the pace for much of the race, was third.

With a personal best of 4min 2sec Harris said his life goal was to run a sub-four-minute mile.

''I want to get that done and then have a think about where I can represent New Zealand one day.''

Phil Murray won the men's marathon in 2hr 37min 25sec, 34 seconds ahead of Daniel Clendon.

Brian Garmonsway was third.

Cameron Goldsmid won the men's 10 kilometre in 31min 24sec, 55 seconds ahead of Luke O'Donnell. James Richardson was third.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content