Nelson’s Patrick Higgins and Appleby’s Paula Canning showed they are on track for bigger events later in the season when they led from start to finish to win Saturday’s Dun Run.
Patrick won the 25km trail that started at the Maitai Dam and took runners over the 875m Dun Saddle to the finish at the OK Corral in The Brook, to finish in 1hr 54min 18sec.
Paula also set a fast pace out in front, finishing in 2hr 6min 49sec to win her third Dun Run from four starts.
“I wasn’t really planning to go to the front, but the pace was only steady so I decided to go,” Patrick says. “I got a bit of a break although I was looking over my shoulder coming down the track to make sure nobody was chasing.”
But the Dun Run is just the start for Patrick who is building up to the GODZone Adventure Race in Fiordland in March. Patrick has competed in GODZone in the last two years, finishing seventh in this year’s race in Queenstown.
Paula’s win shows she is on target for her main mission, the national half marathon champs in Kerikeri in November. The region’s top female distance runner was just outside her Dun Run course record of 2hr 5min 28sec, set last year.
Dave Keen was a close second in the men’s race, finishing in 1hr 56min 45sec, while Stu Cottam won the 50-59 age group in 2hr 10min 26sec and Graeme Sellars won the 60+ in 2hr 35min 22sec.
Young Nelson runner Callum Wilkie also impressed, finishing in 1hr 59min 52sec.
Jessica Barnes was second in the women’s race in 2hr 25min 43sec, just ahead of third-placed Frances Riley in 2hr 26min 32sec. Mapua’s Maria Voight won the women’s 50-59 age group in 2hr 51min 10sec.
A record 181 runners competed in the event.