Callum Wilkie making his way through the Lake Rotoiti track. Photo: Nelson Events.

Wilkie wins Loop the Lake on study break

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He doesn’t win many races, but Nelson’s Callum Wilkie managed to cross the line first at last weekend’s Loop the Lake during a mid-semester break from university.

The 20-year-old blitzed the field of 363 runners at Lake Rotoiti finishing in 1 hour 44 minutes and 57 seconds.

Callum says he had a simple strategy for the 25km course.

“The plan was to just go hard as could from start.”

It would prove to pay dividends but Callum says the final 7km proved the toughest task.

“The terrain was a bit rougher and I struggled to maintain momentum a bit.”

The young runner says he was covering up to 100km per week in preparation for Loop the Lake.

It acted as the perfect warm up to the Christchurch Marathon on May 13.

“I have been building towards the Christchurch race next month, I don’t win a lot of races, so it was a great trial run for that.”

The former Nelson College student is studying at Canterbury University where he is carving out an impressive running resume, coming third in February’s Shotover Moonlight Marathon in Queenstown in 4:49:08.

Though he isn’t sure exactly what his running future holds, Callum hopes to return to the region in 2020 and defend his title.

“We’ll see what happens.”

Wellington’s Theo Wordsworth finished the race with Nelson’s Ethan Helliwell nudging out Aucklander Janes Kuegler for third.

The top woman was Julia Anderson from Australia who pipped Wakefield’s Jodi Dobson.

Jodi was only four seconds shy of victory back in 2014 and despite running six minutes quicker five years later, she still had to settle for second as Anderson held on by 37 seconds.

Klaartje van Schie crossed third.

Next year will be the event’s 25th anniversary.