Callan Moody's dream season on Canterbury courses continued when he clinched his first New Zealand men's cross-country championships title.
The 26-year-old - a cardiac physiologist at Christchurch Hospital - won the Christchurch half-marathon in June and the New Balance 10km road race in Christchurch in May, and ran a carefully calculated race on the six-lap cross country circuit at Halswell Quarry on Saturday.
Moody, the national 5000m track silver medallist, snatched the lead on the fifth lap of the 12,000m men's race.
"I had stomach cramps early in the race but recovered and was feeling good so pushed a bit and found myself in the lead earlier than I expected," he said.
The former Otago athlete then put in another move on the uphill section of the last lap to increase his lead and secure a first New Zealand title.
"I have won some gold and silver medals previously, but this was my first championship title, so I'm very pleased with my run," Moody said.
A fast finishing Jonno Jackson (Auckland) grabbed second place ahead of Cantabrian Daniel Balchin.
Auckland won the men's team title, getting their best six runners all inside the top 17, taking the title from Canterbury, who, although taking three of the top four positions, could not get their remaining three runners high enough.
Camille Buscomb from Waikato BOP fought off a strong challenge by Rebecca Kingsford (Canterbury) and Annie Keown (Auckland) to take out her first senior women's cross country cross-country title to go with the 2013 road championships and two 3000m titles.
The three athletes ran together for the first 6km of the 8km race, before first Keown and then Kingsford were dropped, giving Buscomb, who narrowly missed selection for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 5000m, the title.
"Annie and Rebecca ran really well and I had to dig deep to stay in front of them," said the 24-year-old from Cambridge.
Although Waikato BOP had three in the top five, they did not have a fourth runner, and the team title went to Wellington.
Joshua Baan from Otago caused an upset in the junior men's 8km race, outsprinting favourite Geordie Beamish from Wanganui to take the title, adding to his junior 5000 track championships win. Jacob Priddey from Waikato BOP finished third.
Rosa Flanagan and Gabrielle Gray made it a quinella for Canterbury in the junior women's 6km. Flanagan was a clear winner, just two weeks after finishing seventh in the world junior 3000m steeplechase championships in Oregon, while Auckland's Audrey Gregan was third.
Cameron Avery (Canterbury) won the youth men's 6km from team-mate Matthew Prest and Harry Ewing (Waikato BOP).
Ari Graham was another Canterbury hometown winner in the youth women's 4km from Kelsey Forman (Wellington) and Harriet Bush (Canterbury).
Masters races were won by Mark Bailey and Sally Gibbs.
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