If you like running, keep going right through the winter by joining your club’s harrier group. There is not only cross-country but also road races events to compete in.
Cross-country running is good for you. All track athletes, even sprinters will benefit from winter running.
Cross-country without doubt builds strength. It helps to develop leg strength through the hill work and the extra effort needed in soft conditions. It also builds core stability, (strength in hips, pelvis and lower back) improving your running posture, technique and efficiency.
The very nature of cross-country forces frequent changes in pace and effort, a skill often required in middle distance races.
For the track runner, the most important benefit is aerobic development. In other words, you use the cross-country season to get fit enough to train seriously and harder for the next track season.
Of course there’s another reason for running cross-country
Runners who stick to the track are like swimmers who always swim in a pool and have never experienced the fun of the surf.
Getting out and running freely in the open air over natural terrain is one of the joys of being a runner.
And so what if you’re not brilliant at it - as long as you acknowledge that the cross country season is part of your build up and the main goal is the summer you’ll find it not just worthwhile, but beneficial.
Crosscountry, road and off road running is about to start and a busy season lies ahead. This includes the
Queenstown Mountain Run incorporating the New Zealand Mountain Running Championships.
With these in Queenstown this year a large number of Southland runners are expected to be competing, in fact
a number have already put their entry in, including last years U20 winner and world championship
representative Jack Beaumont.
Jack has made it clear he wants to make the New Zealand team again for the world champs, this time in
Championships for our leading runners include New Zealand secondary schools in Rotorua, national
crosscountry in Auckland, New Zealand half marathon champs in Christchurch and Masterton for the road
champs. And locally there are the Southland crosscountry, road and half marathon championship races, with
the half marathon incorporated in the Gore half, May 22nd (see page 8)
However, winter running is not all about championships – it’s for everyone, all ages. And this includes the
very popular handicap series. This is five races at various locations with points taken over all races with
valuable prizes for series winners. Seniors are 16 and over, although juniors (Under 16) can run in the longer
senior races. Best four races count for series points (means you can drop a bad race or not be penalised for
not competing in one of the events). Races are from 6 to 9km for seniors and around 3km for juniors with
handicap starts – fastest go off last, slowest get a head start.
All Athletic Southland winter races are open to everyone – however, runners not with a club pay a higher entry
fee and are not eligible for Southland medals and trophies.
If you want to walk the courses for exercise or to support family, friends or children you do not pay a race entry
– and as many of the courses are bush tracks and open country, why not get some exercise and watch the races
And there’s another good reason for running distance races in winter – it makes you better for track events.
Many of our greatest track runners have been good on grass and road – from Peter Snell to John Walker to the
Cross country without doubt builds strength. It develops leg strength through the hill work and extra effort
needed in soft conditions. It also builds core stability, (strength in hips, pelvis and lower back) improving
running posture, technique and efficiency. Balance is an under-rated and often ignored aspect of running. Good
balance helps your running and cross country promotes better balance and with it, improved coordination.
Sprinters as well as distance runners will benefit from running crosscountry. Tim Baker (Winton) had his best
ever track season, lowering his 400m PB by a big margin this year. Tim admits the crosscountry running he did
last winter contributed to his improvement. “And it’s fun” he adds.
Handicap series Points taken over all races with prizes for series winners. Juniors (U16) and Seniors categories. Juniors can race in Senior distances. Best four races count for series points (means you can miss an event or drop a bad race
Winter Series Cost:
$20 Registered / $30 Unregistered Athlete total Series Or
$5 Registered / $10 Unregistered Athlete per event
April 22nd Opening run 3-6-9 km Queens Park
29th Club run – contact your local club for information
30th Gore Half Marathon
May 13th Handicap #1 Fosbender Track Otatara
17th Southland Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships
27th Handicap #2 Queens Park Invercargill
June 1st Otago Southland Secondary Schools Cross Country
3rd Queens Birthday Weekend
4th Christchurch Half Marathon
10th Handicap #3 Millers Farm
17th New Zealand SS Cross Country Champs Christchurch
24th Gore Cross Country handicap / NZ Marathon Champs Wellington
25th Balclutha Half Marathon Balclutha
July 1st McNaughton Farm Run Wyndham
8th Southland Cross Country Champs
15th Otago Cross Country Champs
22nd Handicap #4 Heather Skerrett Age Grade Elizabeth Park
30th NZ Cross Country Championships Auckland
August 12th Clyde to Alex 10km
19th Southland Road Champs
26th Great Naseby Water Race Naseby Ultra 50-200km
Sept 2nd NZ Road Champs Christchurch
9th Handicap #5 Estuary Bond Street
16th Masters Run Forest Hill
23rd End of season prizegiving Surrey Park 1&3 Km