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The 42nd Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 11 May 2024

Dunedin Branch Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill, Dunedin

See the full results >> Results

Leith dominate cross-country relays >> ODT Oline report by Kayla Hodges Monday 13 May 2024

Once again the Leith Cross Country Relays & Ponydale Challenge had a enormously successful day out on the Ponydale Cross Country course.  The weather behaved somewhat, hovering around 11 degrees Celsius for most of the afternoon with some naughty gusts of wind threatening to remove the gazebos. The sun peaked through the clouds often but there was no rain. Thanks to the race organisers, volunteers, Dunedin Pony Club, The Lion Foundation, the Otago Athletics clubs, Athletics Otago, the athletes and their supporters and the very patient horses in the closed paddock for putting up with us

The Leith Cross Country Relays Report

The Leith Senior Men and the Leith Open Women’s team (all MW35+ runners) won the main Open Men’s and Women’s 4 x 4000m “The Gallop”. The Leith Men achieved a 3-peat title win in a tremendous battle with the young and talented Hill City-University SM A team.  See the galleries for more photos


The Gallop

The last race of the afternoon also contained some of the highlights with titles in three categories being offered. Open Men, Open Women and Masters Men 35+ over the 4 x 4000m relay distance (each leg runner running 2 x 2000m laps)

The Gallop – Open Men

There was no way of predicting which of the top men’s teams from either of Hill City-University or Leith Harriers was going to win this one. Lovelock Relays was not a reliable guide either due to the difference in nature of the underfoot conditions with one being on totally flat manicured grass cricket surface at the University Oval. With the other being a tough true cross country course with hills, ditches, rocks, log jumps, sharp turns, uneven ground, long grass and in places – mud and horse droppings. This time it was 4 runners in a team, not 6 which balanced the depth out a bit.  Which team would adapt the best? Leith are known to be good on this type of course.

The Leith SM1 team of Janus Staufenberg (fastest time 13:43), Dan Hayman, Grayson Westgate and Liam Chesney (second fastest 13:45) prepared to defend its title against the young and determined Hill City-Uni SM A team of Jake Owen (third fastest 14:04), Matt Bolter, Luke Geddes and Leon Miyahara.

Janus put the pedal down from the start with Jake hanging on as long as  he possibly could to the tough international triathlete. However at the end of the leg, Janus had put Leith into a lead which it was never to relinquish. Matt tried to gain on Dan and initially he got close, but the pressure took its toll and Dan had Leith in a bigger lead when he handed over to Grayson. From there each Leith runner piled on the pressure winning their leg with Leith’s last runner Liam stepping on the gas to bring the team home in an excellent combined time of 56:36 seconds, thus achieving a 3-peat title win.  The HCU team finished in second place in a creditable 59:40 seconds and were never threatened by the third placed team Leith SM2. The SM2 team of Sandor Toth, Finbar Chesney (fastest team time 15:12), Tadgh Ryan-Charleton and Liam Turk put in a great team effort in its third placed podium finish of 1:02:55. 

The Gallop – Open Women

The Leith OW 1 team of Kristy Eyles MW35+ ( third fastest 17:31), Katie Smith MW35+, Margie Campbell MW35 (fastest time 17:15)  and Mel Aitken MW35+ looked the strongest on paper. However begging to differ from that assessment were members of the HCU SW A team of Rebecca Allnutt (second fastest 17:18), Sophie Waddell, Aly Craigie and Taryn McLean and the Leith SW Sea Biscuit team of Claudia Sole, Laura Bungard, Stephanie Wilson and Alice Cuthbert.

The HCU team had a lead of around 13 seconds on the Leith OW 1 team at the first changeover via Rebecca Allnutt’s excellent run. However the HCU team without some of its marquee runners just lacked the depth to hold onto that lead. At the end of the second changeover, Leith OW 1 had surged into a signicant lead with the Leith SW Sea Biscuit team and the HCU team level pegging at that point. Leith’s Margie Campbell had a blistering run to stamp her team’s authority on the chasing bunch. Although Alice Cuthbert had a great run to narrow the gap between her team and the Leith OW 1 team it was not enough. It was enough to keep the HCU team at bay though and ensured her team of a second place podium finish of 1:12:03 with the HCU team finishing third in 1:12:52.  The Leith OW1 won the title in an excellent 1:11:43

The Gallop – Masters Men 35+

The Leith MM35+ 1 team of Steven Morrison (second fastest time 15:51) , Aaron Eyles. Richard Campbell (third fastest time 16:00) and Nathan Shanks (fastest time 14:57)  was the hotpot favourite to win this one. The battle would be more for second place honours between the Leith MM35+ 2 team of Raul Martin Gomez MM50+, Danny Baillie MM50+, John Bayne MM50+, Andrew Lonie MM50+ and the Ariki MM35+ team of Eddie Smith, Bryce Saunders, Hamish Dobson and Aaron Porter.

The Leith MM35+ team were actually all Master Men 50+ runners who preferred to do the longer 4 x 4000m Gallop than run in the shorter Canter 4 x 2000m MM35+ category race. These guys like the long stuff.

Steven Morrison got his team off to a perfect start with second fastest time in the MM35+ Gallop category. With the rest of his team all posting faster times on their respective legs than the opposition runners, it was all over bar the shouting. The Leith MM35+ lead was never threatened. Although Andrew Lonie of the Leith MM50+ as always put his life on the line in running an excellent 16:16 on his leg it was never going to be enough to win. At the start of his leg, Andrew had to chase the Ariki team which had hurled itself past his team by the end of the third leg due to determined running from the likes of Eddie Smith, Bryce Saunders and Hamish Dobson. They had a 33 seconds lead on him. He ate into that lead and took the race by the scruff of the neck by then drawing away from Ariki’s Aaron Porter, thus ensuring his team of an excellent second place podium finish in 1:09:10, proving that the “old boys” still have what it takes to beat the “youngsters”. Ariki finished just 32 seconds behind in 1:09:42 for an excellent third place podium.  The victorious Leith MM35+ 1 team finished in an excellent 1:03:06, a full six minutes ahead of the second placed team, to win the title

The Canter

The Canter had multiple categories taking part. Open Women, Masters Women 35+, Masters Men 50+, Masters Men 60+, Under 18 Mixed, All grades mixed, All grades (Social)

The Canter – All Grades Mixed

The HCU Mixed Social team of Jack McNeil (7:49 fastest time in Canter), Cristian Nita (8:19 second equal fastest time in the Canter), Tessa Swinson (3rd fastest women’s time in the Canter) and Timothy Dawbin were the first across the line in the Canter in 33:40 beating all the other grades and as well as winning the the All Grades Mixed category.  The Leith MM35+  team of James Bishop MM35, Phil Page MM50+, Jacques Brown MM35+ and Colin Tocher MM35+ (8:19 second equal fastest time in the Canter) finished second in 35:10 in its category and was the third team across the line in the Canter

The Canter – All Grades Mixed (Social)

It was an all Cavy team affair in the All Grades Mixed (Social) category with the Cavy Ponies team of Nick Heng MM50+, Menzie Saker, Kerry Rowley and Leo Young emerging victorious in a time of 44:53 narrowly holding out the  Cavy Friesians (45:18) and the Cavy Thoroughbreds (46:42). Fastest time in this category was shared between Menzie Saker and Gracie Young (10:06)

The Canter – MM50+

The Ariki (& Rob) MM50+ team of Glen McSkimming (8:33 2nd fastest time in the MM50+ category race), Phil Napper MM70, Rob Homan MM60 and Brent Halley, containing some legends of running in Dunedin, looked good enough to beat the Leith MM5 team of Lee Flowers, Raul Gomez (8:01 second fastest time in the Canter race), Vic Artates,  and Richard Exon. Among them, the likes of Phil Napper multiple Otago record holder over the years in middle and long distance in the Master 60+ and Master 70+ grade and Brent “Hammer” Halley an accomplished marathoner in his younger days were there to get the job done. The third team to enter in the MM50+ category race was the HCU MM50 team of Mark Lokman (9:09 3rd fastest time in the MM50+ category race), Dave Mackle MM60+, Steve Pinker and Barry Purton MM60+

Ariki’s Glen McSkimming with a blistering 8.33 seconds first leg had his team in the lead at the end of first leg. HCUs Mark Lokman was the gun runner for his team and he had them in the picture at start of the second leg lyinig in second place. However, Leith’s hot shot runner Raul Gomez, with a fastest time of 8:01 seconds in the Canter, gave his team a massive lead at the start of the third leg after having overhauled Ariki’s Phil Napper and HCU’s Dave Mackle. However, that lead by Leith evaporated during the third leg with Rob Homan’s excellent run bringing his team into the lead at the start of the final leg. HCU’s challenge had faded significantly and it was out of the running for top spot. Brent “Hammer” Halley took his team home in fine style for the win. The Ariki team finished in 37:48. Leith finished second in 39:29 with the HCU MM50 team third in 48:10

The Canter – MW35+

The Leith MW 2 and the HCU MW3 teams looked the most likely to win this category race. The Leith team consisted of Tess Molloy MW35+ (9:25 3rd fastest MW in the Canter), Sue Hendry MW50+, Orlaith Heron MW35+ and Angela Bishop MW35+ (9:16 2nd fastest MW in the Canter). The HCU MW3 team consisted of Georgy Pakeho MW50+ (9:13 fastest MW in the Canter), Leia Silby, Cilla Dickinson MW60+ and Lia Bezett. Both teams looked closely matched with the rest likely to fight it out for a podium third

Georgy Pakeho had an excellent run to have her team in a 9 sec lead over the Leith MW 2 team by the start of the second leg. Leia Silby built on that lead when she handed over at the start of the third leg. Leith’s Orlaith Heron brought the Leith team into the lead on her leg and had Leith in a substantial lead when she handed over to Angela Bishop for the final leg. Angela increased that lead for a fine win for the Leith team in 38:31. The HCU team finished second in 39:45 way ahead of the third placed Leith Lasses MW35+ team of Rachael McKinney MW50+, Karen Hein, Jade Lee and Manya Sabherwal which itself had a tough battle for third place against the determined Mini Thinkers team of Alesha Smith, Willow Wallace, Macaela van Aart and Chanel Gardner prevailing at the end for a fine 3rd place podium

The Canter – Open Women

The Ariki team of Catherine Lund (8:22 second fastest women’s time in the Canter), Catherine Lund (8:19 fastest women’s time in the Canter), Emily Hay and Jen Walker MW40 (8:56 fastest MW35+ time in the Canter) had quality throughout. NZ Junior International runner Catherine Lund headlined the act and opted to run the first two legs for her team.  The HCU Open Women team of Maddy Clarke, Millie Horan, Carly Smith and Esther Fogarty and the Leith SW White team of Adelie Guergoua, Caitlin O’Donnell, Kayla James and Cushla Bridges were expected to be the main challenges to the Ariki team. 

As expected, Catherine Lund got her team off to a flyer. A first leg 8.22 then an even faster second leg of 8.19 gave her team whopping 2 min 47 sec lead over the HCU team at start of the third leg. Emily Hay and then Jen Walker just increased the lead bring their team in for the win in 34:45. The HCU team finished second in 38:24 almost 2 minutes ahead of the Leith SW White which finished with a well-earned third place podium in 40:13

The Canter – U18 Mixed

The Ariki U18 Girls team of Melanie Button (9:15 fastest time in the U18 Mixed), Kotomiyo Cowell, Niamh Porter and Lola Saunders had this category all to itself with no other team to take up the challenge. However, it could measure itself against the other teams in the Canter from the various categories.  Having won its category in 37:56 which placed it 5th of 20 teams in the Canter, the youth team members will be well pleased with that result

The Long Trot

There was a big field for the Long Trot with 10 teams battling it out for the top three placings. The distance was a bit longer than the 800m advertised due to course changes in the weeks leading up to the event.  The distance was a little over 900m

In the end there was a keen close tussle between the top teams with the lead changing hands a number of times. In the end the Ariki Boys u14 team of Taylor Martin (3:44 second fastest time), Sammy Walker, Hugh Walker and Taylor Martin (3:35 fastest time) winning the race in a come from behind win over the HCU Pink team of Fletcher Webster, Eva McLean, Sylvie Haig and Ethan Kaina. 

It was close in the end with the Ariki Boys U14 winning by just 6 seconds in 16:00 to the HCU Pink team’s 16:06. The HCU Yellow team of George Solomon, Zac Broom, Luie Broom and Connor Broom competed well holding into its third place to the end.  The Caversham Arabians, though finishing 8th had the third fastest runner in the race, Josh Keogh ran 3:49 for the first leg. He then also ran the last leg for the higher placed Caversham Mustangs (6th) running 3:53 which was very close to his first time


Ponydale Challenge, Sat 11 May 2024

Dunedin Branch Pony Club, 50 Three Mile Hill Road, Dunedin

See the full results >> Results

See Galleries for more photos or visit Leith Facebook Group

The Ponydale Challenge attracted 23 runners with Leith Marathoner Nic Bathgate setting a new mark on the new adapted course of 19 laps in under 3 hours (2:56:32). Leith’s Lydia Pattillo won the women’s race completing 16 laps in under 3 hours (2:58:30). Read the full report further below:

The field this year had 23 runners mostly from Leith Harriers with Caversham Harriers with the next most runners in Claire Anderton, Lynne Kerr and Celia Lie.

In the field was Leith’s Ben Pigou who was the defending champion and record holder from 2023 in the men’s category (18 x 2km laps of the course in under 3 hours. His time for this feat was 2 hours 56 minutes 12 seconds for a distance of 36 kms).

Emma Timmis from Don Greig Racing Stables had the record which she set on 2023 (16 laps within the 3 hours for a time of 2 hours 53 minutes 39 seconds for a distance of 32 kms). However this year, she was not there to defend both record or title.  The adapted course was technically easier this year without the tricky steep downhill section from the upper paddock. The course now also had the runners heading down into the ditch in the reverse direction from 2023 which was also trickier.  Would a new record be set this year – the distance was still approximately 2km per lap?


The Challenge – Senior Men, Masters Men 35+

Nic Bathgate and Ben Pigou matched each other step for step over the first 8 laps with just seconds between them. Nic made his move on the 9th lap throwing down a 9:07 lap. Ben’s 9:23 left him 18 seconds adrift of Nic at the start of the 10th lap. Nic kept on applying the pressure from the front, putting into another faster lap on the 11th lap (9:05) and the 16th lap (9:06) to make sure that thoughts of making a comeback didn’t enter Ben’s mind. Nic kept up mostly steady laps right through to the end all under 9:30 whereas from lap 11 onwards Ben didn’t get under 9:30 on any of his laps. In the end Nic drew away to win in a new record on the new adapted course of 19 laps in under 3 hours (2:56:32). Ben fnished second running 18 laps in under 3 hours (2:51:05). He congratulated Nic on breaking his 2023 record. As well as finishing first and second overall, Nic and Ben also won the MM35+ grade.

Third was Senior Men’s runner Noah Burbank who started conservatively and as he built into the race, he passed Leith’s Ultra and Trail Captain to be lying third behind Nic and Ben. A position he didn’t relinqiush despite Chris’s determined efforts to get back to the podium overall third. Noah also won the Senior Men’s title running 18 laps in under 3 hours (2:55:24). Chris finished fourth overall with a podium third place the Masters Men 35+grade running 18 laps in under 3 hours (2:56:50)

Senior Men’s race was initially dominated by Leith’s Marcus Hurst who was in the lead in this grade by the end of the 3rd lap where he was level with Leith’s Ryan Whitburn who had caught up to him and who then kept the lead right up to the end of the 8th lap. Here Marcus got into the lead again which he would keep for the next two laps. Noah who had settled back into third place took the lead during the 11th lap – a lead which he would never relinquish in the Senior Men’s grade.  Ryan who had a bit of a scare with Marcus passing him again, put into a determined effort to hold on to his second position from the 12th lap onwards. He finished second in this grade running 16 laps in under 3 hours (2:48:36) and was 5th overall. Leith’s Bryan Staunton who had run conservatively and consistently throughout the race edged past Marcus in the 14th lap to grab the third place podium in the Senior Men’s grade running 16 laps in under three hours (2:53:08). He finished 6 overall. Marcus had to settle for 4th in this grade and 8th overall

The Challenge – Women and Masters Women 35+

Leith’s Lydia Pattillo had an excellent run in attempting to break the record set by Emma Timmis in 2023. She got close also completing 16 laps. However, her time was slower just about 5 minutes off the time that Emma set for the record.  Lydia completed 16 laps in under 3 hours (2:58:30) winning the MW35+ grade and finishing as first woman overall and 9th out of the field of 23 athletes.

Her nearest rival Leith’s Anna O’Byne was actually in the lead by the end of the third lap and looking like she would be the one to take the spoils. However she rolled her ankle badly tackling the notorious ditch and this slowed her down from then on. However, she courageously continued the race to finish in second place in the MW35+ grade running 15 laps in under 3 hours (2:52:31) which was a really superb effort. 

Also to briefly feature and actually leading on the first lap was Caversham’s Claire Anderton. However she was unable to sustain the pace and settled in third place for the rest of the race. She finished 3rd in the MW35+ grade completing 14 laps in under 3 hrs (2:59:03)

The Challenge – Masters Men 50+

The Masters Men 50+ category was also a competitive race, with famous Leith 3 Peaks Mountain Race Director and Trail and Ultra Marathoner Steve Tripp out to show that he still has what it takes to win a race.  Being the experienced Ultra Trail runner that he is, he started conservatively knowing that to prevail in this type of event you need to run at a consistent but conservative pace. He settled back in 2nd place behind Leith’s Lee Flowers who started off with a fast first lap of 9:54 (note: this would be his fastest lap) while Steve started off with 11:47 which would be his slowest lap.  Lee after another fast second lap of 11:00, 3rd lap 11:02 and 4th lap 11:02 got gradually slower and slower whereas Steve was like a metronome averaging around 11:26 per lap till the end. Steve overtook Lee in lap 9 and never looked back increasing his lead lap after lap. Steve won the grade running 15 laps in under 3 hours (2:51:20) with his last lap being faster than his first lap. He finished 10th overall. Lee had to settle for second place in the MM50+ grade running 14 laps in under 3 hours (2:47:04). Although Andy Smith had a fair first lap, he never threatened and he finished third in the MM50+ grade running 13 laps in under 3 hours (2:53:11)

The Challenge – Masters Men 60+

This was a two horse race, so to speak. Wayne Porteous and Jamie Sinclair (Leith & Fiordland) looked evenly matched. However, Wayne prevailed after Jamie was only to able complete 12 laps which he did in  2:12:51 opting not to continue to the 3 hour cutoff time. Wayne ran an excellent challenge finishing 14 laps in under 3 hours (2:54:21) to win this grade. He finished 13th overall

The Challenge – Masters Women 50+

This would be battle between Leith’s Christine Montgomery’s speed and Donna Tumaru’s famous endurance. Caversham’s Lynne Kerr had opted to walk the challenge so was unlikely to win this one unless the runners in front her hit the wall or got injured.  

Running barefoot throughout the race, Christine used her speed to gain a substantial lead over Donna. Even though Christine slowed down appreciably in the latter laps whilst Donna kept a consistent pace thoughout, it was enough for Christine to prevail for the win. She ran 11 laps in under 3 hours (2:45:55). Donna also completed 11 laps in under 3 hours running it in 2:50:26. Lynne finished third completing 8 laps in under 3 hours ( 2:44:18). Note that Lynne had helped during the course build and design on the Friday and had walked around the course a number of times on the day of the event filling holes and removing other obstructions. This was a sterling effort from her.


The 41st Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 13 May 2023

Dunedin Branch Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill, Dunedin

See the full results >> Results

The weather was gloriously sunny and warm during most of the events. With up to 300 people participating or supporting we can say that it was a very successful edition of the Leith Cross Country Relays and Ponydale Challenge.  There were some exciting relay races and superb endurance feats by the Challenge participants.  Thanks to all those who helped organise this event – the team captains, the club captains, the course setup people, the timekeepers, marshals and the course clearers.  A big thanks to the friendly supportive people at the Dunedin Branch Pony Club who enable us to use these grounds once a year

The Leith Senior Men successfully defend their Relays Title

In what turned out to be a 2-horse race over the 4 x 4km legs of the Senior Men’s race, the Leith Senior Men’s No 1 team of Grayson Westgate (14:28), Janus Staufenberg (13:48 second fastest time in SM race), Dan Hayman (15:20) and Liam Chesney (13:42 fastest time in SM race) won the title in 57 minutes 18 seconds keeping at bay a young and ferocious Hill City-University Senior Men A team of Matt Bolter (14:22), Nico Alvarez Rey-Virag (15:11), Jake Owen (14:27) and Kirk Madgwick (14:07 third fastest time in SM race) which was less than a minute back in 58 minutes 7 seconds.  Cavy SM1 team of Jonah Smith (15:25), Jayden Toomey (17:01), Nathan Shanks (14:58) and Leon Miyahara (15:47) was next to finish in 1 hour 3 minutes 11 seconds 

Caversham’s Senior Women also defend their title

Photo by Ashim GC

The defending champs, Caversham Senior Women’s team of Becky de la Harpe (8:23), Kristy Eyles MW35+ (8:21), Laura Bungard (8:21) and Sophie Shallard (8:10) won this prestigious title in a time of 33 minutes 15 seconds, from second placed Hill City-University SW A team of Rebecca Allnutt (8:08), Carly Smith (9:20), Erin McKevitt (8:46) and Zara Geddes (7:47 fastest time in SW race) which finished in 34 minutes 1 second.  Just over a minute back in third place was the Leith SW 1 team of Olivia Thornbury (8:04 third fastest in SW race), Eliza Rothery (9:07), Olivia Sutherland (9:16) and Margie Campbell MW35+ (8:37) in 35 minutes 4 seconds.  Ariki’s Catherine Lund running the last leg for the fourth pladed Ariki Woman Team  achieved second fastest time of 7:56 in the SW race

Leith Master Men 35+ No. 1 team also defends its title, an unprecedented 7th time in a row

Going back to 2014 when the Leith Master Men 35 wrested this title from defending champions Ariki, and with two missing years of the event when Covid struck and the grounds were unavailable, this team never ceases to amaze. Defending its title for an unprecedented 7 times in a row, the 2023 Leith team of Glen Chisholm (7:34 fastest time in race), Steven Morrison (7:46 third fastest in race), Gallien Chanalet-Quercy (8:09) and Jason Palmer (7:43 second fastest in race) finished in 31 minutes 13 seconds. Second to finish were the MONDAY MONSTERS a Leith affiliated Master Men 35+ team of Marco Kleinlangevelsloo (8:16), Bri Adams, Mat Dent (8:24) and Aaron Saunders (9:18) with a time of 34 minutes 17 seconds. Third team was the Leith MM35+ No 2 team of Andrew Wilson(8:17), Mark O’Neill (8:20), Chris Clark(8:57) and Jacques Brown (9:21)  in 34 minutes 54 seconds

A big win for the Leith MW35+ No. 1 team


Beating the defending champions Hill City-University was the goal and it was achieved in style.  The Leith MW35+ team of Angela Bishop MW35+ (9:29 third fastest in MW35+ race), Tess Molloy MW35+ (10:22), Christine Montgomery MW50+ (10:37) and Sue Hendry MW50+ (10:31) won by over a minute and a half in a time of 41 minutes. Defending champs Hill City-University MW35+ of Georgy Pakeho (9:24 second fastest in MW35+ race), Cilla Dickinson MW50+, Barbara Patrick (MW50+) and Aly Craigie (9:04 fastest time in MW35+ race) finished ni 42 minutes 36 seconds. The Caversham MW35+ team of Claire Anderton (9:45), Glenda Bruce MW60+ (13:04), Karen Rowley (12:15) and Evelyn Armstrong MW50+(10:20) was third in 45 minutes 23 seconds

Caversham defends its Master Men 60+ title convincingly

The Caversham MM60+ team of Ian McDonald (9:16 fastest time in MM60+ race), Richard Young (10:42 third fastest time in MM60+ race), Alistair McAlevey (11:43) and Geoff Anderson (9:25 second fastest time in MM60+ grade) convincingly defended its title in a time of 41 minutes 7 seconds. Leith MM60+ team of Chris Sole MM60+ (10:53 ), Peter Hughes MM60+ (11:08), Marc Boulle MM60+ (11:08) and Dave McLean MM60+ (12:11) finished second in 45 minutes 20 seconds

Taieri – The Untouchables were …well..untouchable in the All Grades Mixed Social Race

Taieri Athletic Club cleaned up in the podiums for the All Grades Mixed Social Race. The Taieri- The Untouchables team of Michael Finnie SM (9:05), Mark Findlay MM50+ (10:16), Michelle Summers MW35+(11:41) and Janice Finnie MW50+(10:55) were literally untouchable in winning the all Grades Mixed Social race in 41 minutes 57 seconds. Second team in this grade was the Taieri – The Fantastic Four of Jimmy Gray, Richard Finnie MM50+, Angela Sidon MW50+ and Karin Drummond MW50+ in 42 minutes 35 seconds. Third was another Taieri Team – The A Team of Josh Siloy, Richard Brockwell MM50+, Mike Dooley MM50+ and Angie Low MW35+ finishing in 43 minutes 1 second

Cavy U18 mixed team competed well in Race 1

The Cavy U18 team of Gracie Young (10:02), Leo Young U14 (11:22), Emily-Rose Young (10:33) and Henry Hodgson U14 (8:38) finished in 40 minutes 36 seconds beating some of the more senior teams in Race 1

HCU U14 ‘Yellow’ win a close race

HCU U14 ‘Yellow’ win by 2 secs from The Fast Four in the Boys & Girls Mixed 4 x 800m Race. The HCU U14 Yellow team of Lewis Anglemyer (3:10), Eva McLean (3:24), Julia Hodgson (3:20) and Santiago Fernandez Perez (3:12) finished in 13 minutes 6 seconds.  Second placed team The Fast Four consisting of Jimmy MacKenzie (3:11), Tom Taylor (3:35), Charlie Clements(3:23) and Caleb Dobier (3:00) nearly snatching victory in 13 minutes 9 seconds. Third was the Cavy Mustangs team of Henry Eyles (3:14), Nate Crawford (3:59), Perry Saker (3:23) and Josh Keogh (3:03) in 13 minutes 40 seconds


The 4th Ponydale Challenge, Sat 13 May 2023

Dunedin Branch Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill, Dunedin

Two thirds of the field – showing Champions Ben Pigou and Emma Timmis with their winners ribbons

Ben Pigou and Emma Timmis have record breaking runs in the new 3 hr cutoff format

Caversham’s Ben Pigou in his first attempt at this event ran magnificently to complete 18 x 2km laps of the course in under 3 hours.  Under the new format he has the new record.  His time for this feat was 2 hours 56 minutes 12 seconds for a distance of 36 kms.  Second was Leith’s Trail Running Captain and Ambassador Chris Bisley who completed 17 laps in under 3 hours in 2 hours 53 minutes 11 seconds for a distance of 34 kms to win the Master Men’s 35+ grade. Third was Leith’s Richard Campbell also running this for the first time and also completing 17 laps in under 3 hours in 2 hours 59 minutes 42 seconds for a distance of 34 kms. Leith’s Ryan Whitburn finished fifth overall and 2nd in the Senior Men’s grade completing 16 laps in 2 hours 56 minutes 8 seconds

Emma Timmis from Don Greig Racing Stables was in fine form at her first attempt at this event – and running with a smile on her face all the way, she was the first female and fourth overall running 16 laps within the 3 hours for a time of 2 hours 53 minutes 39 seconds for a distance of 32 kms. She also won the Master Women’s 35+ grade. There were a lot of first timers in the field of 23 starters and one of them was Leith’s own Lydia Pattillo who finished as second female, 2nd Master Women’s 35+ and 6th overall completing 15 laps in under 3 hours for a time of 2 hours 53 minutes 25 seconds – a distance of 30 kms

The 50+ grade was highly competitive with with five athletes competing .  Hill City-University’s Eric Scharpf won the Master Men’s 50+ grade completing 15 laps in 2 hours 58 minutes 2 seconds.  Caversham’s Donna Tumaru won the Master Women’s 50+ grade completing 11 laps in 2 hours 51 minutes 35 seconds. Hill City-University walker Cherie McKinnon was second in the Master Women’s grade completing 7 laps in 2 hours 28 minutes 30 seconds 

The full results including grade results are available in the results section

“Ponydale Challenge – you don’t race it, you just survive it!” Lydia Pattillo

Photo by Ashim GC

Chris Bisley, Emma Timmis (Don Greig Racing Stables), Lydia Pattillo

Lydia… don’t race it, you just survive it! Here are her impressions of the event and her participation…

Preferring to run slower and longer these days and, of course, always wanting to enhance female running participation, the time felt right to strap up my big girl shoes and dip my toes (or literally throw myself in the deep end) of the Ponydale Challenge.
3 hours of pure cross-country chaos – she’ll be right!!
How on earth to pace this thing was my main concern and also to not annihilate and/or embarrass myself, in the first lap I was also racing for one of our Leith OW teams.
The first hour went reasonably well and come the second hour I was happy to be maintaining a consistent pace. The third hour got hard. Wet socks from the increasingly damp and muddy terrain had my feet slipping in my shoes as I gripped the constant uneven terrain and inevitable blisters were to brew. Fortunately my pace didn’t dip too much and I was happy to finish with 15 laps and 8 minutes to spare.

For me there were two things that really stood out for me:
it was so great to hear so many females inspired to now give the challenge a go after Emma, myself, Donna and Cherie tore up the Pony Club grounds. This was a large part of the reason for choosing to run the event for me, so I was so happy to hear this!
The atmosphere and running all together was incredible. So many long races end up with large gaps between runners and we cannot really support each other out there. The lap-by-lap format meant the support, from not only spectators (which was much more than the usual, given seeing them every lap), but the other challenge runners AND all the relay runners was constant from start to finish – for a 3hour race in tough terrain this was invaluable and so great to be a part of. Thank you 🙏🏼

Would I do it again?? I’ll need 12 months to dwell on it and I’ll let you know! Nevertheless I would highly recommend the challenge to anyone, it is the most supportive run we have on the calendar where you will run, at some point, with nearly all of our Dunedin running community. No one cares how far or fast you have gone – no one can actually tell to be honest!
So if you were apprehensive on doing a longer off road run or intimidated by falling far behind the pack, Ponydale Challenge may just be a perfect starting point to give the big off-road stuff a go!


The 40th Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 21 May 2022

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill, Dunedin

Caversham’s depth key in relay victory >> ODT Online Report Tuesday, 24 May 2022

This report will be updated during the week (last update was at 11:00am, Thursday 26 May 2022)

Despite the rather inclement weather, the 40th running of the Leith Cross Country Relays resulted in a magnificent afternoon of cross country racing in both the relays and the 3rd Ponydale Challenge.  Leith Senior Men’s No. 1 team turned the tables on the Hill City-University Senior Men’s team this year, unseating the defending champions in convincing fashion in the Senior Men’s race. The Caversham Senior Women’s team had to come from behind to snatch victory from defending champs Hill City-University.  A full report on all races including photos will be available here sometime on Sunday

Leith Senior Men snatch title from defending champs Hill City-University

The last race of the day, the Senior Men’s and Master Men’s 35+ gruelling 4 x 4km, was a thrilling affair.  Defending Senior Men’s champions Hill City-University, missing some of their stars, knew that they had a real threat to their title defending aspirations when Leith’s Janus Staufenberg laid down a marker with a second fastest time of 13 minutes 58 seconds for Race 4 on the first leg handing Leith’s Corey Lewis a lead of 61 seconds over chasing team Hill City-University at the start of the second leg. The resurgent Leith Senior Men’s No. 1 team of Staufenberg, Corey Lewis, Hamish McKinlay and Liam Chesney never released the shackles and although the Hill City-University team of Finn Molloy, Ben Conder, Joel Carman and Matthew Bolter attempted a comeback, it was to no avail.  Liam Chesney with fastest Race 4 time of 13 minutes 53 seconds on the last leg brought Leith home over three minutes clear to finish in 59 minutes 43 seconds. Hill City-University finished in 1 hour 2 minutes 58 seconds.  Caversham finished third in the Senior Men’s race in 1 hour 9 minutes 42 seconds.

Leith Masters Men win the MM35+ race in convincing fashion

The Leith MM1 team not only won this grade held in conjunction with the Senior Men’s teams in Race 4 over 4x 4km, they also finished third overall. Stacked with their stalwarts of previous years, the team of Danny Baillie (MM50), Neale McLanachan, Gallien Chanalet-Quercy and Andrew Lonie were unstoppable in their march to the title with last leg runner Lonie achieving a time of 16 minutes 5 seconds, just edging fellow team member Baillie (16 minutes 9 seconds) for fastest time honours in this grade. This team ran so well it finished third overall in Race 4 in 1 hour 6 minutes 23 seconds consigning the Caversham Senior Men’s team to fourth overall. Their main opposition in the MM35+ grade was the second placed Leith MM2 (1:11:52) and third placed Cavy Stallions (1:12:40) who had got off to a flyer from Aaron Eyles who had third fastest time of 16 minutes 10 seconds and had his team in second place by one second at the end of the first leg and with another magical run from the Cavy team’s second runner Jono Ryan (16:41) were actually leading by 10 seconds at the start of leg 3.

Caversham wins the Senior Women’s title

Running this year in Race 1 over 4 x 2km, the resurgent Caversham Senior Women beat a competitive field to prevail over the strong Hill City-University Senior Women’s No. 1 team.  It took a while to gain the ascendancy though, with star Hill City-University first leg runner Zara Geddes throwing down fastest time in the grade of 7 minutes 50 seconds to have everyone thinking this was going to be Hill City-University’s day.  Ariki’s star Women Under 18 runner, Catherine Lund was not far behind with a second fastest time of 7 minutes 57 seconds on leg 1. This left the Cavy team of Kristy Eyles (MW35+), Becky De La Harpe, Claire Anderton (MW35+) and Laura Bungard with plenty of catching up to do as they were lying in third place at the start of the second leg.  However, the overall depth of the Cavy team won the day with it gradually making inroads and eventually soaring into the lead on the last leg to win in 34 minutes 34 seconds to the 35 minutes 8 seconds of Hill City-University. Ariki Senior Women finished third in 36 minutes 15 seconds with Leith Senior Women N0.1 fourth in 37 minutes 17 seconds.

Ariki-Mixed – Green Team was overall winner of Race 1

Mike Horne pictured here running the first leg for Ariki-Mixed – Green Team (photo by Gisela Sole)

A strong Ariki Mixed – Green team of Mike Horne (MM40), Eddie Smith (MM40), Xaviour Walker (MM40) and Will Smith (MM35) prevailed over the large Race 1 field whilst also winning the Mixed Grade category. The Ariki mixed – White team of Grayson Westgate, Grayson Westgate, Russell Lund (MM50+) and Sue Hendry (MW50+) held the lead for 3 legs over the Arik Mixed- Green with Grayson Westgate running two superb legs, the first one was the second fastest time. However, Xaviour Walker on leg 3 and then Will Smith with third fastest time on the last leg brought the title home to the Ariki Mixed – Green team in 32 minutes  49 seconds. Third Team was  Taieri Mixed 1 in 37 minutes 31 seconds. Fastest time of 7 minutes 15 seconds in this grade and Race 1 overall was Nathan Shanks of the fifth placed Cavy Shetland Ponies

Ariki Master Men’s 50+ Team’s convincing win

The strong Ariki Master Men’s 50+ team of Phil Napper (9:22), Glen McSkimming (8:45 fastest time), Richard Hendry (9:31) and Brent Halley (9:09) was quality and consistency personified.  On the first leg they were given a bit of a scare with the Hill City-University runner, Richard Fogarty throwing down a time of 8:57 to give his team a lead of 24 seconds at the start of the second leg.  However, with star Ariki runner Glen McSkimming running an amazing 8.45 on the second leg, the Ariki team was back in front despite HCU’s Barry Purton’s very good 9:34 effort.  From there the Ariki team was never headed. The Leith MM50+ team had gradually made inroads into the HCU team’s lead on them and with a masterful run by Leith’s MM70+ runner Peter Ford (10:16) on the last leg,  surged into second place.  The Leith team, though consistent, could not match the quality of the star Ariki team which won convincingly in 36:47.  Leith finished second in 43:12.  With Hill City – University third in 44:26

Hill City – University Women’s 35+ wins

The Hill City – University Women’s 35+ team of Aly Craigie (9:02 fastest time), Georgy Pakeho (9:28), Kara Bryant (9:22) and Cilla Dickinson (10:59) was another team packed with talent. Although Leith’s first leg runner Anna O’Byrne with a fast 9:26 kept her team in the mix by the end of the first leg, with so much talent at it’s disposal, the Hill City -University team drew away from it’s opposition over the final three legs to record a comfortable win in 38:52.  Leith finished in 41:46

Caversham Master Men’s 60+ “Cavy Speckle Grays” unstoppable

The Cavy Speckle Grays were unstoppable.   The team of Ian McDonald (9:26), Neville Shanks (12:30), Alistair McAlevey (11:11) and Dave Sharp (9:07 fastest time) was involved in a bit of a see saw competition with the steady Leith team.  Firstly, Ian McDonald gave his team a fantastic start to leave replacement runner Neville Shanks with the job of maintaining a hold on the race.  However, the ever improving Peter Hughes of Leith put his team into a healthy lead of 45 seconds at the end of the second leg.  Speckle Gray’s Alistair McAlevey at into Leith lead leaving Leith last runner Marc Boullé at the start of the last leg with the job of holding out the Star Speckle Gray runner Dave Sharp who was just 30 seconds adrift.  Sharpie put in an amazing run on the last leg, soaring up the first hill to pass Marc Boullé and then soaring down all the downhills to give his team a win in 42:14 with fastest time of 9:07.  The Leith team finished in 43:15

Caversham Master Women’s 50+ “Cavy Appaloosa’s” take the title

The Cavy Appaloosa team of Sue Kim (11:52), Glenda Bruce (13:21), Gail Sharp (11:34) and Evelyn Armstrong (10:42) had to come from behind to beat the Leith MW50+ team.  Masterful running by Leith’s Debbie Telfer who ran fastest time of 10:17 in this race and Christine Montgomery (10:27 second fastest time) was unable to keep the consistent Cavy Appaloosas at bay.  The Cavy team surged into the lead on the last leg off the back of a steady run on the 3rd leg from Gail Sharp and a superb 10:42 from Evelyn Armstrong to win in 47:30.  Leith finished in 51:45


The 3rd Ponydale Challenge, Sat 21 May 2022

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill, Dunedin

Matthew Adams breaks Chris Taylor’s record

Battling the inclement elements, the tough cross country course, themselves and each other, the field for this third edition of the Ponydale Challenge stuck to the task.  Senior Men’s runner Matthew Adams broke Chris Taylor’s Ponydale Challenge Record running 16 Laps (=32km) in 2 hours 36 minutes 34 seconds (an almost identical time to that of Chris in 2021) and so winning the 3rd Ponydale Challenge.  Second was the first Master Men’s 35+ runner Shannon Rhodes who ran 14 laps in 2 hours 28 minutes 12 seconds.  Third was Croydon Paton of Fiordland Athletic Club who ran 13 laps in 2 hours 36 minutes 45 seconds, he was also the first Master Men’s 50+ athlete. Fourth and second placed Master Men’s 50+ runner was Eric Scharpf of Hill City-University who ran 11 laps in 2 hours 9 minutes 31 seconds.  Also running 11 laps and completing them in 2 hours 10 minutes 6 seconds and finishing fifth was Master Women’s 35+ runner Sarah Rhodes of Hill City-University. Master Men’s 50+ runner Pieter Burger finished sixth by running 5 laps in 1 hour 33 minutes 34 seconds.  The infamous ditch became harder and harder to negotiate as the legs got tired but these tough endurance athletes were inspirational in the way they went about tackling the tough course.  Well done to them all.

The 39th Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 15 May 2021

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill

The weather played it’s part with cool conditions and a mostly sunny afternoon with light Southerly winds.

Hill City – University Senior Men make it four in a row

The Hill City-University’s Senior Men’s team took the Open Men’s race by the scruff of the neck by the end of the first 2-lap leg and never released the pressure on a determined chasing Leith Athletics Senior Men’s # 1 team over the 4 x 4km (2 x 2km laps) course.  Leith Athletics never gave up though and their last two leg runners were making inroads into the lead.  In the end, Hill City-University won by a margin of just 33 seconds from a fast finishing Leith Athletics team to record a time of 55 minutes 33 seconds.  Leith Athletics SM#1 recorded 56 minutes 6 seconds. Caversham Harriers Senior Men’s #1 team put on a brave show in finishing third in 1:00:07.  Hill City-University successfully defended their Open Men’s title having won it now for the fourth time in a row. This reminds one of the dominance the Caversham Senior Men’s team had a few years back winning it five times in succession between 2009 and 2013. Can Hill City-University defend this title to match this record in 2022? Looking at their current young crop emerging from the youth grades this could well be possible.

Hill City-University’s Russell Green was the fastest runner over the 4km scorching around the tough 2 lapper course in a blistering 13 minutes 29 seconds.  Leith Athletics Janus Staufenberg was next fastest in 13:39, then Leith Athletics Liam Chesney in 13:44 and Hill City-University’s Oliver O’Sullivan in 13:48 to complete a quality quartet of runners who broke the 14 minute barrier.  There was a quality contingent of youth runners spread across the senior men’s teams taking on the older established competitors.  George Hamilton (HCU SM2) running with his usual awesome great form had ninth fastest time of 14:33.  His close rival Josh Hou of the HCU SM team also ran with great style to finish 10th fastest in 14:48. Hamilton’s team mate, the up and coming talented Matthew Bolter had a fantastic run beating some of the big names and finishing with 17th fastest time of 15:12.  Bolter ran conservatively at first using the vastly experienced former Olympic and Commonwealth Games athlete Robbie Johnston as a guide as to how the first half of the 2-lapper should be run. This plan worked well as he passed a number of senior runners along the way.


Hill City-University and Ariki Senior Women teams take both titles on offer

The Open Women’s races were split into two separate optional events – Race 1 over the usual 4 x 2k Course and Race 4 over the 4 x 4km (2 x 2km) Course. The majority of the teams favoured the traditional relay of 4 x 2km as it has lots of historical significance having now been run 39 times over the last 41 years.

In Race 4 (two teams competing), Hill City-University SW #1 finished first in 1:12:51.  The determined Cavy SW team finished just over a minute behind in 1:13:57.  Hill City-University’s SW 1 runner Liliana Braun was the fastest senior women runner achieving an excellent time of 16:34 over the 4km 2-lapper.  Cavy SW runner Becky De La Harpe was next fastest in 17:18 and third fastest was fellow Cavy SW runner Kirsty Eyles in 17:35. 

In the traditional Open Women’s event held in Race 1 (six teams competing), the Ariki Senior Women #1 team won a thriller of a race by a margin of just three seconds in 36:20 from a resurgent Leith Athletics Senior Women’s # 1 team which finished in 36:23.  Hill City-University SW # 1 team finished third in 36:55.  Individual standout performances here were: Hill City-University SW 1 runner Zara Geddes who ran an outstanding 07:56 over the 2km leg recording fastest time; Leith SW 1 runner Sophie Hicks putting in an awesome effort in running the second fastest time of 08:00 to almost bring the Open Women’s title home for Leith on the last leg; Ariki SW team’s U18 runner Catherine Lund, the 2021 South Island Secondary Schools 3000m champion and Otago 2000m Steeplechase champion, who ran third fastest time of 08:01; Ariki SW MW35 runner Jennifer Walker who showed the youngsters how to do it by running an excellent 08:34 keeping a cool head and not folding to the pressure on the last leg wrought by the closing Sophie Hicks of Leith.  What a race, you could say it was right up there as race of the day!

Exciting young Cavy talent on display in the Men’s Under 18 grade

The Cavy Men’s Under 18 team of Matheson Colquhoun, Oliver Young, Ezekiel Stewart and Hadlee Edmunds displayed the burgeoning young talent coming through the ranks of Caversham Harriers.  Although this team did not have another MU 18 team to compete against, it could measure itself against the plethora of established quality runners in the other teams competing in all grades in the Race One category.  This quality young team took overall honours in Race One setting a blistering time of 32 minutes, a full 2 minutes and 8 seconds faster than the next best team.  Esekiel Stewart achieved fastest time overall in Race One of 7:08.  Second fastest in this team and fourth fastest in Race One was Oliver Young who ran his leg in 7:32.  Third fastest team member was Matheson Colquhoun in 7:59. Hadlee Edmunds, a quality sprint athlete better suited to the short sprints on the track, played his part in bringing his team home on the last leg to win overall honours.  We hope to source some photos of this team in action during the week.

The Cavy Mixed Youth team was very competitive in Race One

The Cavy Mixed Youth (U14) team of Emily-Rose Young, Leo Young, Henry Hodgson, and Henry Eyles competed well against some quality teams in Race One.  It finished in 40 minutes and 20 seconds and ended up an impressive 16th out of the 26 teams.  Its fastest runner was Henry Hodgson in 9:09 with Emily-Rose Young second fastest in 9:10. Henry Eyles was third fastest in 10:29.

Defending champions Leith Master Men’s 35 #1 takes the title for sixth time in a row

In one of the mostly keenly contested grades, run since 2018 with the Senior Men over the 4 x 4km course, the Leith team showed that it had the runners capable of mastering the tough Ponydales course.  The team of all-round talented track and road runner Nic Bathgate, the experienced quality runner Andrew Lonie,  the 2012 Marathon Champ Jason Palmer and the stylish Glen Chisholm, was never headed as it beat a Hill City-University team containing the likes of former Olympic and Commonwealth games athlete Robbie Johnson, the tough and uncompromising Tim Bolter, former top Otago runner Elliot O’Sullivan and quality Master Men’s 50 runner Stephen Bloomfield.  The Leith team won comfortably in the end in 1:00:49 defending its title and winning it 6 times in a row. The Hill City-University team was second in 1:06:18

Third was the Leith Master Men 35 #2 team of top MM50 runner Danny Baillie, Gallien Chanalet-Quercy, 2020 and 2021 Three Peaks Ultra 55km Champion Chris Bisley and Glenn Thompson.  Key performances here were: Nic Bathgate achieving fastest time of 14:57; Leith’s Glen Chisholm’s second fastest time of 15:00; Jason Palmer after a long layoff running third fastest time of 15:07.

Chris Taylor breaks The Ponydale Challenge record

Master Men’s 35 runner Chris Taylor of the Wednesday 6.15 Pub Runners set a new open record for this event in running 15 laps in a time of 2 hours 36 minutes 37 seconds. Senior Men’s runner Harjinder Sing Chander of Leith Athletics was second, running 14 laps and third was Senior Women’s runner Mandy Lowther who had a fantastic metronomic run and completed 13 laps.  In fact, each and every competitor was a winner in this long distance cross country challenge.  Everyone ran more than 10 laps which is an amazing accomplishment on this tough hilly cross country course. Steve Tripp 12 laps (including running his first lap for the Leith MM50 1 team), Tim Hodgson 11 laps and David W Liddell 11 laps, were not far off the pace of the leaders.  Well done to all and we hope to see you all there next year for another amazing event.  I am sure there were some out there imagining themselves attempting the Ponydale Challenge next year.

Cavy Master Women’s 35-49 team wins in style

A resurgent Cavy Master Women’s 35 team consisting this year of Donna Young, Claire Anderton, Michelle Watt and Jen Hodgson won this one comfortably in the end leading from the start to the finish.  The year 2009 was the last time Caversham had this title, so this was a magnificent achievement for a team that had always threatened to take the title many times in the interceding years.  The combined team time over the 8km was an excellent 38:51, over 3 minutes clear of the strong second placed Leith MW35 #1 team of Gaya Gnanalingam, Christine Montgomery (MW50), Siobhan McKinlay and Rach McKinney (MW50) which finished in 41:59.

Finishing third in 44.45 was the Ariki MW35 team consisting of some of the legends in Otago and NZ running, Sue Cuthbert (MW50), Julie Wilson (MW60), Dalise Sanderson (MW60) and Tracy Thomas.  Ariki threatened by the end of the first leg to challenge for second being 2 seconds in front of Leith, but Leith’s greater depth took it’s toll over the next 3 legs.  Cavy’s Jen Hodgson achieved fastest time of 09:26 in this race. Cavy’s Claire Anderton was second fastest in 09:35, just beating out by one second her team mate Donna Young who was third fastest in 09:36. There were some amazing performances from Leith’s Christine Montgomery and Gaya Gnanalingam who both ran again for the Leith MW35 #2 team.  Christine had times of 10:23 and 10:31 which was very consistent and Gaya was almost as consistent with times of 10:26 and 11:00.  If anyone has more photos of this race especially the winning team, we would love to have them for a photo collage. Email Marc Boullé

The Ariki Master Men’s 50 holds off a strong finishing Leith team

The Ariki team of multiple Otago track record holder Phil Napper (MM60), quality experienced master runner Russell Lund, former marathon winner John Thomson (MM70) and top Otago masters runner Alan Nicholls (MM60) and with three of their team over the age of 65 including one over 70, was always going to be a tough team to beat based on quality and experience.  And so it proved true.  This team of legends held off an equally strong team consisting of ultra running legend and Three Peaks Mountain Race director Steve Tripp, Simon Leaning, Phil Page and Don Bate by 52 seconds to win in an excellent time of 37:24.  Steve Tripp ran the first leg as part of the Ponydale Challenge, so kudos to him.  The third placed Cavy MM50+ team of super fast Dave Sharp, Richard Young, Steve Stewart and Tom Heath threatened to take the race away from the rest with Dave Sharp setting second fastest time in this grade race of  8:44 to have his team in front by 31 seconds at the end of the first leg.  It was a brave effort, but unfortunately the greater depth of the Ariki and Leith teams proved too much in the end.  Fastest time went to quality master runner Leith’s Phil Page who ran magnificently to finish the third leg in 8.30. Third fastest was Ariki’s Russell Lund in 8.46. Phil Napper was fastest of the MM60+ runners here in 9.15 with Alan Nichols not far behind in 9.22. Well, what more can one say about over 70 runner John Thomson’s 10.01 – what an excellent run from a quality runner, he just doesn’t seem to slow down.  The one man team of Eric Scharpf put in an excellent effort and was competitive finishing just 22 seconds adrift of the third placed Cavy team. Eric Scharpf also ran as a one man team in the Social/Mixed grade  in 2019, finishing 7th out of 13 teams. We did not get many photos of the runners in this race, so if anyone has any we would love to have them to put a photo collage here.  Email Marc Boullé

The Ariki Social team wins the social and mixed grades race

The Ariki Social team of Grayson Westgate (U18), Xaviour Walker (MM35), Xaviour Walker (MM35), Tim Dobier (MM35) had a convincing win in which it lead from the start finishing in 34:08. Xaviour Walker had to run both the 2nd and 3rd legs for his team with impressive times of 8:01 and 7:59 for each leg. Second was the Taieri Mixed team of Georgia McCutcheon (YW), Graham Murphie (MM50), Josh Siloy (BU14) and Amanda Waldron (MW35) in 37:55.  Not far back in third was the Cavy Social Black team of Gracie Young, Becs Webster, Alex Brown and Oliver Lodge in 38:12.  Fastest runner in this race was Loan Fuller (SM) of the fifth placed Cavy Mixed team setting a blistering time of 7:09. He was the second fastest across all the athletes in the entire Race One. Next fastest in this race was Grayson Westgate (U18) of the winning Ariki Social team in 7:27. Third fastest was Oliver Lodge of the third placed Cavy Social Black team in 7:51.

The Cavy and Leith Masters Men’s 60 teams “Duel on the Dales”

The Leith Master Men’s 60+ team consisting of Marc Boullé, Dave McLean, Marc Boullé, Dave McLean achieved a somewhat surprise victory over a typically strong Cavy team.  Decimated by injury and illness the Leith team was left with just two men standing, albeit two men fit and ready to rumble. Ultra athlete Dave McLean who is normally accustomed to tackling trail ultras and was second in the MM60 grade 2021 Three Peaks 55km definitely felt this course suited him. With Boullé providing able backup, the die was cast.  The Cavy team consisting of Ken Fahey, Neville Shanks, Ken Pullar and Alistair McAlevey looked unbeatable with star runner in this age grade Alistair McAlevey running the last leg set to take the spoils. In the end the two teams were evenly matched.  Leith gained a progressively larger lead, helped by the fastest time effort of Dave McLean of 11:11 on the 2nd leg, until the start of the last leg and thankfully Dave McLean did not know how far the Cavy team was behind him as he started off on the last leg.  Alistair McAlevey put in an impressive effort at catching a tiring McLean which earned McAlevey the second fastest time in this race of 11:14. Boullé ended with 3rd fastest time of 11:20 and Leith held off Cavy by just 60 seconds to finish in 45:54.  As can be seen in the photo collage above, Marc and Dave’s unusual enormously long arms probably hampered them a bit in the tight turns, but were useful in enabling them to pull themselves up some of the hills by grasping tufts of grass to take the load off their normal propulsion muscles 🙂 

Primary/Intermediate School, Boys and Girls 7+ Mixed (4 x 650 metres)

This race was keenly contested with the kids have a lot of fun out there on the paddocks. Seven teams competed overall with the Ariki Mixed Kids team of Kotomiyo Cowell, Lola Saunders, Caleb Dobier and Kotomiyo Cowell winning narrowly by just 24 seconds from the Leith Intermediate team of Tim Niblock, Ashton MacNee, Angus Graham and Zac Baillie. Just 55 seconds back from the Leith team in third place was the Hill City-University Primary Blue team of Jackson Phillips, Maddi Phillips, Violet Pakeho and Archie Rhodes. Everyone was a winner in this event and it was good to see the kids running out there on the paddock enjoying themselves.

Thank you to all involved in organising this event

We thank all those involved in organising this great event in pre-race organisation, course setup, timekeeping, results, refreshments, marshalling, public announcements, photographs, website and all other crucial tasks.  Well done!

Leith Cross Country Relays, May 2020

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill 

This event did not take place due to the Covid-19 Alert Level restrictions

The 38th Leith Cross Country Relays, 18 May 2019

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill 

Full Results >> Leith Cross Country Relays Results


Hill City University dominates the Open Grades

report by Marc Boullé 

Hill City University Open Mens No. 1 team won the Open Men’s 4 x 4km Leith Cross Country Relays on Saturday. The team of Matthew Sutcliffe (2nd fastest time 14:10.4), Kirk Madgwick, Joel Carmen and Russell Green (fastest time 14:09.7) put in a superb team effort to hold out the Leith Open Men’s No. 1 team by just under a minute in 57:38.8. The Leith team of Nathan Cochrane, Nathan Hill, Liam Chesney and Janus Stauffenberg put in a brave effort to finish second in 58:38.6. The Leith Open Men’s No.2 team finished third. Ollie O’Sullivan finished with third fastest time of 14:17.4 in the fourth placed Hill City University Open Men’s No. 2 team.

The Hill City University Open Women’s team of Rebekah Greene (fastest SW 8:14.6), Taryn McLean (fastest MW35 09:07.7), Laura Bungard (fastest HSG 08:33.6) and Kirsty O’Sullivan achieved a comfortable win in the Open Women’s 4 x 2km race in 25:55.9. The Caversham Pumas team of Heather Evans MW35, Lehana Reeves, Becky de la Harpe HSG and Heather Evans put in an excellent effort to finish second in 37:50.5. The Leith Open Women’s team of Sophie Smith, Gaya Gnanalingham, Erin O’Brien and Claudia Sole finished third in 40:57.6

Leith’s Masters Men’s 35-49 team of Danny Baillie (fastest MM35 15:41.2), Andrew Lonie (third fastest MM35 15:51.8), Neale McLanachan and Glen Chisholm (second fastest MM35 15:41.8) had a runaway victory in the Master Men’s 35-49 grade 4 x 4km relay in an impressive time of 1:03:43.4. The Ariki team of Aaron Porter, Mike Horne, Eddie Smith and Brent Halley MM50 put in a brave effort finishing a clear second in 1:10:51.0. The Leith No. 2 team finished third in 1:15:35.8

Hill City Uni Masters Women 35-49 team of Georgie Pakeho MW35, Cilla Dickinson (2nd fastest MW50 10:45), Sarah Rhodes MW35 Aly Craigie (second fastest MW35 09:59) won the MW 35 grade 4 x 2km relay comfortably in 41:19.3. Caversham Cougars were second in 48:37.3 while Leith finished third in 48:45.2 where Leith Masters Women 60+ runner Jocelyn Springthorpe was second fastest MW60 runner in 14:56.4

The Ariki High School Boys team of Ben Lund (2nd fastest HSB 7:44.8), Nathan Harrison (fastest HSB 7:41.1), Grayson Westgate (third fastest HSB 07:58.7) and Thomas McCracken put in a great team effort to win their 4 x 2km relay in 31:53.3. Both the Hill City Uni High School Boys teams finished second and third respectively.

The Leith High School Girls team of Caitlin O’Donnell, Viviane Dalphin (3rd fastest HSG 08:48.3), Rebecca Dalphin and Rebecca Hill held out the Hill City Uni HSG (2nd) and the Ariki HSG (3rd) teams to finish first in the 4 x 2km relay in 38:02.6. Ariki’s Catherine Lund finished with second fastest HSG time of 8:42.9

The Hill City University Intermediate School Boys team of Magnus Pakeho, Lachlan Crumpton (fastest time 09:52.1), Alex Walker and Archie Rhodes finished their 4 x 2km relay race in 44:45.8. The Hill City University Intermediate School Girls team of Lila Rhodes, Heidi Parker, Alice Hancox and Anya Rhodes (fastest time 09:02.4) finished the 4 x 2km relay in 44:47.6

The Ariki Masters 60+ team of Phil Napper (2nd fastest MM60+ 09:22.2). Dalise Sanderson (fastest MW60+ 11:59.2), Gene Sanderson and Alan Nicholls (3rd fastest MM60+ 09:40.1) had a great team run finishing first in the 4 x 2km relay in 41:38.3. Caversham Tigers team of Alistair McAlevey, Stu McCormack, Ian McDonald and Ken Fahey showed what a committed team effort can do by finishin second in 44:34.1. Caversham Jaguars showed the depth Caversham have in this grade by finishing third in 48:36.5. The Leith MM60+ team finished fourth with the Barefoot Mountain Goat and Leith Club President Chris Sole taking out fastest MM60+ time of 9:02.1

The Ariki Green Primary Schools team of Kotomiyo Cowell (fastest time 2:56.7), Maddix Adamson, Riley Horne (3rd fastest time 3:03.6) and Riley Horne won the 4 x 650m relay in 12:37.8. Second was Leith Blue team of Alexander Bork, Roman Meijerink, Tim Niblock and Zac Baillie in 13:15.1. Third was Leith Green team of Georgie Winneke, Lewis Marr, Frankie McKinlay and Archie Mckinlay in 13:22.1. Jesse Willis of the Leith Black team which finished 6th had the second fastest time of 3:02.5

The social 4 x 2km relay race was as always a keenly contested affair with a couple of teams having only one runner running all four laps. It was also great to see the triathletes representing the Dunedin Tri Club out there having a go. The St Pauls Turkeys team of Buddy Small, Buddy Small, Sam McDonald and Lachie Baird won this race in 31:23.3. The Tim Bolter Hill City Uni MM team with Bolter running all four laps finished second in 32:24.0 which was a magnificent effort. The Hill City University MM team of Richard Fogarty (third fastest MM50 8:56.6), Phil Morris MM60, Mike Wakelin MM and Stephen Bloomfield (fastest MM50 08:41.3) finished third in 36:08.2. Russel Lund running for the Ariki Green team (6th) was second fastest MM50 runner in 8:42.2 while Sue Cuthbert running for the same team was fastest MW50 runner in 10:25.9. Karin Drummond running for the ninth place Athletics Taieri team was the third fastest MW50 runner in 10:45.8. Barbara Patrick running for the 13th placed Hill City Uni team was the second fastest MW60+ athlete finishing in 12:57.7. Another highlight was Hill City Uni’s Eric Sharpf running all four laps in 40:46.5.

Ponydale Challenge

There were two runners doing the Ponydale Challenge which was run for the first time this year at short notice with runners starting with the first race at 12.45pm and continuing to do as many laps as they choose until the end of the day’s events, so hopefully we will see others take up this challenge next year. Harjinder Chander of Leith ran 12 x 2km laps completing 24km over a tough cross country course whilst Andrew Glennie of Caversham completed 9 laps for a distance of 18km. Well done guys and it was great to see you out there doing your ultra distance training as part of the Ponydale Challenge.

Thanks and a hearty well done to all those involved in this event: the participants, supporters, helpers and organisers. Every year we endeavour to make this event better than the year before and if there are any improvements that we can make, please let us know! We wish all the athletes all the best for the rest of the season which has some exciting events lined up.

The 37th Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 19 May 2018

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill, Dunedin

Full Results >> Leith Cross Country Relays Results

Hill City-University take both Open titles

The Hill City- University Open Men’s Team 0f Alistair Richardson, Kirk Madgwick, Drew Cairney and Matthew Ogle won the main 3km (approx) event, with Leith One placing second and Caversham One placing third.

The Hill City-Uni 4 team of Rebecca Allnutt, Aly Craigie, Bella Bloomfield and Lorna Pairman won the Open Women’s 2km (approx) event from Caversham 2nd and Leith third.

The Leith teams do well

report by Marc Boullé

It was a very successful day for Leith teams at the club organised cross country relays held at the Dunedin Pony Club grounds on Three Mile Hill Road. Of the eight teams entered seven were placed in a top three placing.

The first race was the combined master’s men and high school boy’s race. Glen Chisholm, celebrating his 35th birthday, completed his first master’s event in style by scorching around the course in 7 mins 25 secs, the fastest time recorded for the day, handing over to Andrew Lonie with a 25 second lead over the second placed team. Lonie (7min 40secs) and the other two team members, Nolan Hill (8min 21 secs) and Danny Baillie (7min 44 secs) extended the lead, with the team finishing with a time of 31 mins 10 secs, two minutes ten seconds ahead of the second placed team. The Master’s Men 35 number two team consisting of Luke McKinlay (8mins 16secs), Mark O’Neill (9mins 17 secs), Alan Funnell (8mins 53secs) and Glen Chisholm (7mins 39secs) combined well to finish in 3rd place overall. Lonie and Baillie also featured in the fastest time honours with 2nd and 3rd fastest times respectively. The Leith master’s men 50+ team of Chris Sole (8mins 57secs), Ray Knox (9mins 18secs), Tom McKinlay (8mins 49secs) and Steve Tripp (8mins 51 secs) all ran well to finish in first place in the Masters Men 50+ grade. Fastest time in this grade went to John Bayne who ran 8min 9 secs when completing the first leg for the Pubrunners team.

The second race featured all of the women’s grades as well as the social/mixed grade teams with 19 teams in total facing the starter. Once again the Leith teams were to the fore in their respective grades. A great first lap by Rebekah Hill (8 min 37 secs – 2nd fastest high school girl) saw the High School Girls team in third place over all of the women’s teams at the end of lap one. Steady runs by Caitlin O’Donnell (9min 38 secs) and Rebecca Dalphin (9mins 25 secs) over the next two laps saw the team consolidate their lead in the high school girl’s grade. Last runner for the team, Cecelia Crooks had a storming run over the last lap, completing the lap in 8mins 16 secs, and in doing so recording the fastest women’s time overall and bringing the team home in 1st place in the high school girl’s grade, and second fastest women’s team overall, just two secs behind the winning women’s team. The senior women’s team of Sophie Smith (8mins 58secs), Gabi Newman (9mins 2secs), Olivia Gold (8mins 59secs) and Christine Montgomery (9mins 51secs), ran steadily to finish in third place in their grade. Christine Montgomery recorded the fastest Masters Women 50+ lap time.

Meanwhile in the social/mixed grade the Leith team also performed with considerable credit. Young first leg runner, Viviane Dalphin (9min 5secs), ran a great first lap to be in third place at the changeover. Christian Schmied (8mins 38secs), Peter Hughes (10mins 9secs) and Robyn O’Neill (14mins 3 secs), all ran well, with the team finishing up in third place in the social/mixed grade once all runners had completed their laps.

The final race of the day was the Open Men’s race and just like at the Lovelock Relays two weeks earlier, the Leith number one team was leading at the first changeover thanks to the brilliant run by Nathan Hill, who completed the lap in a time of 9mins 35 secs, the fastest lap time overall for the day on the longer course. He was ably backed up by Hamish McKinlay (10min 20secs), Louis Freeman (10mins 36secs) and Jamie Gardner (10mins 11 secs), with the team finishing in a notable second place, just over a minute behind the first placed team and over a minute in front of the third placed team. The second men’s team consisting of Bradley Goodall (10mins 55 secs), Glenn Thompson (12mins 19secs), Harjinder Chander (11mins 29secs) and Cliff Kelway-Pope (14mins 30 secs) had a great tussle with four other teams throughout the race with the lead changing several times over the laps. The team eventually finished in 7th place.

As a club we can feel proud of all of our teams and individual runners’ achievements. For the record, the club won three grades, finished second in one grade and third in three grades. Individuals recorded the fastest times in four grades, including the fastest men’s, and women’s time overall. We can also be very proud of the way the club conducted the event. For many of the runners, the Leith Cross Country Relays is their favourite event on the Athletics Otago running calendar. A special thank you goes to Laurie Hill and Bryce Watt for helping with the time-keeping and results on the day and the Dunedin Pony Club for allowing the event to be held on their grounds. Many thanks to all those who helped out to make the event happen, whether it be setting out the course on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, doing the event administration, running for a team, marshalling out on the course during the races, being an official at the finish line, bringing food for the afternoon tea, helping serve the afternoon tea or bringing in all of the gear at the end of the day, it is a culmination of everyone working together that makes the event such a successful day for the club and for the Athletics Otago running community. Well done everyone, another very successful Leith Cross Country Relays event has been completed. It was great that the weather played its part as well!

The Leith Cross Country Relays, Saturday, 20 May 2017

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill 

This event did not take place.  See report below for reason

Popular relays off due to double booking

ODT Online News Article Tuesday, 16 May 2017
By Wayne Parsons

The double booking of the Dunedin Pony Club Grounds on Three Mile Hill has led to the cancellation of this year’s Leith cross-country relays, affectionately called the Ponydales.
They had been scheduled for Saturday.

The popular interclub event has been a feature of the local harrier season for about the past 40 years and has been held at the pony club grounds for the past decade.

That followed several years at Wesleydale, from which the term Ponydale was derived.

The forced cancellation of this year’s event was not taken lightly with several course options looked at but one could not be put in place at late notice.

”These days, with health and safety regulations, we need to have a lot more than just a course to consider and use for the event,” race director Alan Funnell said.

”There is are a lot of factors to consider and things put in place behind the scene that a lot of people don’t realise.

”We also have to take into consideration other sports using grounds in and around Dunedin on Saturday.

”It’s a health and safety nightmare when it comes to changing a course for an event such as this.”

The Hill City-University Club, which dominated the senior events at the recent Lovelock Relays, was favoured to retain the senior men’s and women’s titles they won last year.

A mass club run has been organised instead, to take place from the Hill City-University clubrooms on Logan Park at 1.45pm.

The 36th Leith Cross Country Relays, Saturday, 28 May 2016

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill

Full Results >> Leith Cross Country Relays Results 

Ponydales 2016 Full Centre Club’s Report  by Marc Boulle

Open Men (4 x 3000m approx)
Hill City University won the Open Men’s relay race on Saturday by just over two minutes from its nearest rival.  Running in cold rainy conditions, the team of Kirk Madgewick, Jared Monk, Oli Chignell and Sam Bremer led from start to finish to defeat the defending champions Caversham Harriers whose number one team put up a brave effort in finishing second.  In a four member team relay format, any team that ends with three of the fastest runner’s times would be hard to beat.   With Madgewick leading the way for Hill City University with second fastest time of 9mins 24secs, the team was never headed.  With the ever improving Bremer achieving fastest time of 9mins 16secs on the last lap on this difficult course and Chignell with his second fastest time of 9min 18secs, this team was magnificent on the day finishing in 37mins 32secs.  Although outclassed this year, Caversham never gave up trying to defend it’s title and finished in 39mins 45secs.  Not far behind in third place was Caversham’s No. 2 team in 40mins 10secs.

Open Women (4 x 2000m approx)
Hill City University also won the Open Women’s title.  The team of Jean Kozyniak, Bella Bloomfield, Shireen Crumpton and Sabrina Grogan led from start to finish to beat the Hill City University number two team by just under two minutes.  Kozyniak’s excellent run on the first lap where she ran in incredible fastest grade time of 7mins 52secs, ensured that the Hi l City University No. 1 team were in pole position from the end of the first lap.  In the end it was a competition between the No. 1 and No. 2  Hill City University teams.  Mary Gray who ran the first lap for the No. 2 team was second fastest with 8mins 29secs.  The No. 1 team’s last runner Grogan finished with third fastest time of 8mins 54secs to bring the team home in 35mins 23secs.  The Hill City University No. 2 team finished in 37mins 15secs.   The Caversham Harriers team finished third in 43mins 18secs.

Men’s Under 18 (4 x 2000m approx)
The Taieri Men’s U18 team of Sam Gouverneur, Jacob Granger, Cameron Miller and Liam Turner fended off a strong challenge from the Ariki youth team to win its grade.  Although Taieri stayed in front from the first lap with Gouverneur (2nd fastest 7:53) and Cranger (3rd fastest 7:55) showing that their team was determined to take the title, Ariki’s Ben Lund with fastest time of 7mins 52secs threatened to bring Ariki into serious contention by the end of the second lap.  There were strong runs from Taieri’s Miller and Turner, and despite Ariki’s Parson’s fast finishing effort of 8mins 7secs, it was not enough to threaten Taieri, which finished in 32mins 48secs.  Ariki were under a minute behind in 33mins 29 seconds.  Third team was Hill City University in 35mins 56secs.

Womens’ Under 18 (4 x 2000m approx)
The Leith High School Girls put in a fine team performance to win this grade in 37mins 35secs. Caitlyn O’Donnell (fastest time of 9mins 12 seconds), Lucy Matahere, Rebecca Dalphin and Rebecca Hill showed that Leith have some promising runners ready to step up from the youth ranks. The Caversham High School Girls finished second.

Master’s Men 35 (4 x 2000m approx)
Master’s Men 35 (4 x 2000m approx) In arguably the toughest and most competitive grade of them all, the Leith No. 1 team of Neale McLanachan (third fastest 7mins 34secs), Alan Funnell, Nolan Hill, and Rob Creasy (second fastest 7mins 33secs) kept its lead from the first lap onwards, despite a tremendous run from Hill City University’s Mike Wakelin on the last lap where his fastest grade time of 7mins 24secs was not enough to threaten Leith. Creasy kept his nerve to bring the title home to Leith by just 17 seconds from Hill City University in 31mins 22secs. The Civil Service Masters team never threatened the top two, but still put in a fine team effort to finish third in 35mins 58secs.

Master’s Women 35 (4 x 2000 approx)
The Caversham team of Liza Bezett, Heather Evans, Kerry Rowley and Donna Young was a comfortable winner in this grade. Bezett led the way with the grade’s fastest time of 9mins 2secs. With Evans (third fastest in 9mins 31secs) and final runner Young (second fastest in 9mins 6secs) this team was always going to be hard to beat finishing in 37mins 37secs. And so it proved for it was never headed although Leith stoically fought off the threat from the eventual third placed Caversham No. 2 team with excellent runs from Christine Montgomery (9:38) and Siobhan McKinlay (fourth fastest time of 9mins 32secs) to finish in 45mins 39secs. The Caversham No. 2 team were not far behind in 46mins 50secs.

Master Men’s 50 (4 x 2000m approx)
The Caversham No. 1 team of Peter Fitzgerald, Geoff Anderson, Osvaldo Gonzalez and David Sharp was never headed after Fitzgerald’s blistering run on lap one where he ran the fastest grade time of 7mins 52secs.  The two closest chasing teams of Ariki and Leith could not make up on that opening lap.  Leith’s Chris Sole achieved fourth fastest time of 8mins 21secs to put Leith into second position by the end of the second lap, this set up a ding dong battle for silver.  However, Ariki eventually gained the initiative over the final two laps to emerge as the top team threatening Caversham’s lead.  With Anderson’s second fastest time of 8mins 10secs on the second lap and Sharp’s final lap fifth fastest time of 8mins 25secs, the Caversham Over 50s No. 1 team was hard to beat, finishing in an excellent time of 33mins 43secs over two minutes ahead of its nearest rival Ariki.  Ariki’s Alan Nicholls’s time of 8mins 53secs and Russell Lund’s third fastest time of 8mins 18secs enabled Ariki to overhaul Leith to take a well earned second place in 35mins 48secs.  Leith finished not far behind Ariki in 36mins 14secs.

Social Grade (4 x 2000m approx)
Although there were fewer teams contesting this popular grade this year, there were still some keen contests for podium honours. Leith’s Social team of Hamish McKinlay, Cliff Kelway-Pope, Pete Hughes and Alan Funnell dominated this grade from start to finish. Young McKinlay’s fastest time of 8mins 19secs set up the Leith team for a grab at the title.  The other team members did not disappoint either, with final lap runner Alan Funnell running third fastest time of 9mins 7secs to bring Leith home in 38mins 56secs.  The second placed team Hill City University battled gamely with its final runner Matt Bixley achieving second fastest time of 9min 6secs to bring his team back into second place after a concerted effort by the Civil Service runners which had them lying second at one stage.  Hill City University ended up with a time of 41mins 25secs.   The Civil Service Harriers team finished third in 42mins 18secs.

Children’s U13 (4 x 400m approx)
The Ariki Girls U13 won this keenly contested grade in 12mins 20secs. Second was the Caversham Harriers U13 mixed team in 12min 39secs. Third was the Hill City University Girls U13 in 13mins 53secs.

Ponydales Leith Harriers teams’ Report by Louisa Andrew

It was  a soggy wet, cold day for Ponydales this year, but despite that plenty of hardy runners fronted up to race. Leith had good results across the board so it was a successful day for us. First up the MM35 1 team of Neale McLanachan, Alan Funnell, Nolan Hill and Rob Creasy took out the Masters Men race from Hill City, and it was nice to reverse the positions from the Lovelock Relays. Neale and Rob had the 2nd and 3rd fastest laps. The MM 35 2 team of Mark O’Donnell, Michael Walker, Luke McKinlay and Stu Hodges were 4th in the grade, out of a total 9 teams. Leith MM 50 Dave McLean, Chris Sole, Ray Knox and Steve Tripp were 3rd in their grade….Chris was the happiest runner we saw all day, sprinting up the first hill with barefeet and a big, wide smile! Leith Youth Women also cruised to a win easily, by almost 10 minutes! Caitlyn O’Donnell, Lucy Matahare, Rebecca Dalphin and Rebecca Hill put in a tremendous team effort, and the girls finished 3rd overall beating all the Masters Women teams and 2 Senior Women teams. Caitlyn and Rebecca H also gained 2nd and 3rd fastest laps in their age group. Leith Social 1 also won.  Hamish Mckinlay ran a great race to start, with Cliff Kelway-Pope, Pete Hughes and Alan Funnell all turning in solid runs to seal the win by 2 1/2 minutes. Hamish got fastest lap, and Alan picked up 3rd fastest. Leith Masters Women also ran this race and were 2nd behind Caversham. The team was Christine Montgomery, Siobhan McKinlay, Megan Balchin and Susan Craig, all had good runs and it’s great to see Megan back running again. Leith had 2 Senior Men teams this year which is great to see. In a tough grade  Leith 1 Jason Palmer, Jamie Gardner, Nathan Hill and Rob Creasy (running again) finished a creditable 5th  and Leith 2 Glen Chisolm, Isaac Tripp, Glenn Thompson and Mark O’Neill finished 8th. Glen Chisolm had the fastest lap out of the Leith SM.

The 35th Leith Cross Country Relays, Saturday, 23 May 2015

Dunedin Pony Club, 3 Mile Hill

Full Results >> Leith Cross Country Relays Results 

A big thank you to all those who took part in this popular cross country event and with the snow holding off for a day or so the weather also played its part in making this a thoroughly enjoyable day out for contestants, spectators and officials. The biggest thanks should go to the officials and course constructors, time keepers and office staff who worked tirelessly before, during and after the event. We hope to make this event even bigger next year in terms of contesting teams.

Race Report

by Marc Boullé

Open Men’s Race:
The Caversham team of Lorenz Kissling, Jonah Smith, Jake Jackson-Grammer and Josh Baan won the Open Men’s title in convincing fashion in cold but ideal conditions. The Hill City University team of Tom Spencer, Jared Monk, Aaron Lynch and Cameron McNoe initially held the lead over the Caversham team, but eventually the strength in depth of the Cavvy Boys took its toll with a runway victory for the Caversham outfit. The Leith team of Jason Palmer, Steve Morrison, Neale McLanachan and Rob Creasy surprised everyone by overhauling the Hill City – University team on the final lap to finish second.

Open Women’s Race:
Also winning its grade in convincing fashion, the Hill City – University team of Susannah Lynch, Sabrina Grogan, Bella Bloomfield and Jessie Murphy ran well to finish ahead of the Hill City University second team of Charlotte Homan, Louise Darwin, Rose Stamm and Mary Grayand. The Ariki team of Katie Higham, Sarah Chisnall, Kirsty Little and Erin O’Brien finished third.

Youth Men’s Race
The most exciting race for both runner calibre and well matched teams was the Men’s Youth race. The Hill City – University team of Matt Ogle, Lochie Chittock, Jonny O’Neill and Sam O’Kane battled it out with the Caversham team of Andrew Smith, Jayden Toomey, Pat Flanaghan and Ben Rowley. Hill City University prevailed as winners by just seven seconds. The Ariki Youth Men team of Ruadhri Brosnan, Ben Lund, Fraser Reid and Nathan Harrison finished third.

Master Men’s Race
The Leith Master Men’s won its race after a hectic battle with the strong Hill City – University team consisting of Mike Wakelin, Stephen Bloomfield, Dwayne Sheddan and Romain Mirosa. The Leith team of Glen Ferguson, Mark O’Donnell, Andrew Lonie ansd Neale McLanachan eventually prevailed by just over a minute to win the title. The Leith team of Chris Sole, Ray Knox, Steve Tripp and Nolan Hill battled gamely to finish third.

Master Women’s Race

The strong Leith Master Women’s team dominated its race from the word go. The team of Louisa Andrew, Siobhan McKinlay, Christine Montgomery and Mel Aitken prevailed over a game Caversham team of Donna Rutherford, Jilly O’Brien, Kerry Rowley and Esther Sibbald. Finishing third was the Hill City University team of Nicola Ferro, Myrtle Rough, Merrilee Williams and Sarah Saunderson-Warner.

Master Men 50 race

Strong favourites Ariki proved too strong for the opposition. Leading from start to finish, the team of Russell Lund, Russell Hurring, Gene Sanderson and Brent Halley showed its class by achieving a win over the Hill City University team of Phil Bremer, Richard Fogarty, Eric Scharpf and Paul O’Neill by just over a minute. The Caversham team of Ian McDonald, Stu McCormack, Richard Rutherford and Peter Fitzgerald finished third.

Social Race

The Taieri Social No. 1 team of Graham Murphie, Mike Dooley, Amelia Jenkins and Bruce Jenkins prevailed to win this popular and keenly contested grade from the Leith Social No.1 team of Cliff Kelway-Pope, Marc Boulle, Michael Walker and Stu Hodges. The Caversham Social 1 team of Audrey Phelan, Neville Scott, Callum Tommey and William Leary finished third.

Children’s Relay

The Hill City – University Bu13a team of Josh Hou, Campbell Neilson, Alex Warlow and William Scharpf won the race with the Caversham Team 1 of Oliver Young, Katie Wong, Caitlin O’Brien and Jordan Evans-Tobata finishing second.  Third was the Caversham Team 2 of Petra Milne, Dan O’Brien, Neil Brown and Nathan Hill

Leith Athletics Specific Report

by Marc Boullé

Leith athletes put in a great performance in cool but ideal conditions in the Leith “Ponydales” Cross Country Relays on Saturday.

The Masters Men’s 35-49 age grade teams of Glen Ferguson (third fastest time, fastest MM50), Mark O’Donnell, Andrew Lonie (second fastest) and Neale McLanachan (fastest time) won the grade by over a minute whilst the second Leith team of Chris Sole, Ray Knox, Steve Tripp and Nolan Hill finished 3rd.

Not to be outdone, the Masters Women’s 35+ team of Louisa Andrew (second fastest), Siobhan McKinlay, Christine Montgomery and Mel Aitken (fastest time) comfortably won its grade. The social team of Cliff Kelway-Pope, Marc Boulle, Michael Walker and Stu Hodges finished second in the social grade and the team of Caitlin O’Donnell (fastest GU15), Joy Scarlet, Susan Craig and Jan Brosnahan was fifth.

Most significant though was a second placed finish in the longer Open Race to the team of Jason Palmer, Steve Morrison, Neale Mclanachan and Rob Creasy which ran magnificently in a ding dong battle with Hill City University to get second place to a strong Caversham outfit. The open team of Jamie Gardener, Thomas Dwight, Glen Ferguson and Andrew Lonie finished fifth.

Thanks to all those who helped to make this a fantastically organised and exciting event in pre-race organising, putting up the course, the race day officiating and the clearing up afterwards. Also thanks to our sponsors and also to Steve Aitken for his awesome photos. And also thanks to the weather for holding off the snow for a day.

The 34th Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 24 May 2014

Dunedin Pony Club, Three Mile Hill Road, Dunedin

Full Results >> Leith Cross Country Relays Results 

Hill City-University secures both senior relay titles

Source – ODT Online Edition | Thursday, 29 May 2014 | 15:25:34
By Alistair McMurran on Mon, 26 May 2014

Hill City-University announced it will be a force to reckon with on the local harrier scene for some time, when it won both senior titles at the cross-country relays on Saturday.
With an average age of just 20 in both teams, Hill City-University teams proved results in the recent Lovelock Relays were no one-off.

The dark clouds over the Dunedin Pony Club grounds, combined with testing underfoot conditions, seemed of little consequence to the runners.

Kick-starting the club’s success were Hannah Adamson, Katrina Andrews, Mary Gray and Deborah Lynch, who battled a motivated Ariki team to clinch the senior women’s title in a come-from-behind victory.

Hanna English got her Ariki team away to a flying start, presenting Bridget Thompson with a 24sec lead for the start of the second leg. Both Thompson and Ariki’s third runner, Charlotte Cahill, held their own against the all-round strength of Hill City-University. But as soon as Lynch took the baton for the final leg, it was game over for Ariki.

Lynch wasted little time in running down a 12sec deficit to take the lead and complement a solid performance put in by Adamson, Andrews and Gray on the earlier legs. Lynch, whose younger sister, Susannah, was running the final leg for the Hill City-University No 2 team, broke the tape in 33min 53sec, clocking second-fastest individual time on the 2000m circuit of 8min 14sec, after English had posted 7min 54sec on the first leg.

”I didn’t want to let my team down,” Lynch said. ”But really I ended up running scared of my sister.”

As darkness descended, the senior men’s 4 x 2750m race unfolded with plenty of drama. Hill City-University’s Joe Beamish and Ariki’s Stafford Thompson turned it into a two-way contest from the start. Beamish snatched a 7sec advantage at the first change. But a blistering turn of pace from Nathan Baxter enabled him to gain
fastest time, a slick 9min 14sec, handing Ariki a massive 1min 11sec lead for Dave Catherwood to take into the third leg. However, the weather gods tested the will of the two teams vying for victory, unleashing a torrent of rain, hail and snow that took its toll on Catherwood. ”It felt like sticking your head in a deep freeze,” Catherwood said. He commented that over the first part of the course he was running head on into the weather. ”You could hardly breathe. The air was so cold and the hail … I had my head down and was struggling to get air in.”

Catherwood always seems to draw the short straw for the game-changing stages. Last year, it was his run in the Lovelock Relay. But on Saturday, he was full of praise for Josh Campbell, who overhauled the massive deficit to regain the lead for Hill City-University.

Campbell handed Andrew Pohl a 6sec advantage over Ariki on the final leg. But with 2000m remaining, Pohl had been caught, and was locked in a stride-for-stride battle with Ariki’s Anthony Trainor. Only over the final stages was Pohl able to break away from Trainor and bring his team home victorious in 39min 36sec, 34sec clear of Trainor’s team, Ariki. Defending champion Caversham was third.

Hill City, before it amalgamated with University, last won the senior men’s title in 1993. University won in 1994 and 2006.

Leith athletes had some good wins in the grades

by Marc Boullé

Leith Harriers held its Ponydales Cross Country Relays on Saturday. The weather ranged from coolish North Westerlies and sun to bitterly cold South Westerlies with hail and rain for the Open Men’s race. Leith teams did very well with the Leith Master Men’s 35 team of Glen Ferguson, Michael Tannock, Alan Funnell and Neale McLanachan winning its grade. McLanachan (7min 22sec) achieved second fastest time in the grade while Glen Ferguson (7min 27sec) was the fastest Master Men’s 50 runner of the day over the 2km course. Louisa Andrew (8min 4sec) who had fastest time in the Master Women’s 35 grade led her team of Andrew, Jude Patterson, Christine Montgomery and Mel Aitken to a win in the Master Women’s 35 grade. The Leith Master Men’s 50 team of Brian Pascoe, Stu Hodges, Chris Sole and Ray Knox finish third in the Master Men’s 50 grade. The Leith Social 1 team of Peter Frew, Andrew Wilson, Megan Balchin and Alan Funnell won the social grade with the Leith Social 2 team of Michael Walker, Cliff Kelway-Pope, Caitlin O’Donnell and Nick Williamson finished third. The Leith Senior Men’s team of Jason Palmer, Aaron Eyles, Sean Hepburn and Neale McLanachan finished fifth in the Open Men’s 3km race. Special thanks to all those who helped organise this race and assisted in any capacity in what was a hugely successful and popular event despite the weather crashing somewhat during the feature Open 3km race.

The 33rd Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 18 May 2013

Dunedin Pony Club, Three Mile Hill Road, Dunedin

Full Results >> Leith Cross Country Relays Results 

Race Report Summary

Weather: Cold and foggy throughout

Caversham won the Leith Harriers Cross Country “Ponydales” Relays Open Men’s title for the fifth time in sucession and Hill City-University won the Open Women’s title for its third successive victory. See the Wayne Parson’s race report and the Leith Athletics specific report further below.

One runner on the last leg for his team was heard to comment: “I knew the runners behind me were faster than I was and I had no idea if they were catching me or not due to the fog. However, the priority was not to get lost and hope that they did. During my lap I saw no one in front of me and none behind me. It was as if I were running on my own.”

Young runners step up in style

Source – Otago Daily Times – Online Edition | Monday, 20 May 2013 | 07:49:59

article by Wayne Parsons on Mon, 20 May 2013

A young and inspired Caversham team overcame the odds to win the club’s fifth consecutive (Leith Harriers) cross-country relay title at the Dunedin Pony Club grounds on Saturday. Caversham, perhaps the club in the region most affected by the loss of athletes because of employment opportunities this year, was also missing two of its leading runners for its defence of the title. But the 11th-hour replacements, relative unknowns Joe Matthews and Sam Hopper, proved they were more than capable of stepping up.

Matthews, in his first full season of running, had mixed success in age-group competition at the Otago championships. But on Saturday, he took the baton from national junior 10,000m champion Jonah Smith and ran as if he belonged in A grade company. Likewise, Hopper’s run was impressive. Matthews (16) and Hopper (18) joined Smith (18) and Otago 1500m champion Ben Anderson (21) to form one of the youngest teams to have won the title. Anderson, who captained the team to victory and was the only member of last year’s team to be backing up, was full of praise for his young team. ”That was an exceptional run from Jonah on the first leg, and Joe was just outstanding,” he said. ”And Sam (Hopper) just proved he’s going to be one to watch.” For Matthews, it was the second time in recent weeks he had stepped up to fill senior men’s A grade running shoes. He was a replacement in the Caversham team that finished runner-up in the Lovelock Relays two weeks ago. ”He’s certainly taking his opportunities and will just keep getting better and better,” Anderson said. Smith found himself lining up with Sam Bremer (Hill City/University), a runner he had never beaten. However, he challenged Bremer from the start, running strongly throughout and attacking the jumps to hand Matthews a handy 18sec lead at the first change. The competition between the two saw Smith gain second-fastest time of 9min 31sec for the 2650m loop. Matthews and Hopper did the business over the middle stages and it was left to Anderson to emerge from the thickening mist after a powerful final leg in the fastest time of the day, 9min 29sec. Caversham stopped the clock at 39min 42sec, Hill City-University was second in 40min 47sec and Leith third in 41min 35sec.

An impressive first leg from Rebekah Greene in the open women’s 4x2000m event set Hill City-University up for a third consecutive victory. Greene clocked 7min 51sec on the 2000m loop, securing fastest time, and consistent runs from fellow team members Hannah Adamson, Shauna Pali and Kirsty O’Sullivan completed the team’s dominance in the grade. They won in a time of 32min 46sec. Ariki No1 was second in 33min 22sec and Hill City No2 third in 35min 48sec. The Ariki pair of Hanna and Sian English achieved second and third-fastest times. Younger sister Hanna got bragging rights with 7min 56sec and Sian finished in 8min 4sec.

Leith Athletes hold their own

by Marc Boullé

The Leith Harrier teams fared well at the Leith Harriers Cross Country Relays on Saturday. Run on the course fondly known as “The Ponydales”, the relays were run in very foggy and cold conditions, although the going was relatively firm.

Open Grade course (2,670m)
The Leith Open Men’s team of Jason Palmer, Angus McDonald, Aaron Eyles, Neale McLanachan (9:45 third fastest SM) achieved Leith’s best result for many years in finishing third in this tough grade in 41:35 over the 2,670m distance.

Open Women + Age grades and Social grades course (2km)
The Leith Masters Women’s team of Louisa Andrew (8:18 fastest time MW35), Joy Scarlet, Jude Patterson and Mel Aitken (8:48 second fastest MW35) ran magnificently for its comfortable win in a time of 37:01 over four minutes ahead of second placed Ariki over the 2km course.
The Leith Social Blue team of Andrew Wilson, Craig Gordon, Sean Hepburn, Megan Balchin ran exceptionally well to win the social grade in 34:38. The Leith Social White team of Jason Low, Murray Jensen-McCloy, Clifford Kelway-Pope, Grant McDougall finished third in 37:37. The Leith Social Black team of Michael Walker, Gaya Gnanalingam, Janice Ashton, Steve Skilling finished eighth in 40:08. The Leith Social Junior team of Tim Horton, Reuben Knox, Erin Knox, Mark O’Donnell finished ninth in 40:17.
The Leith MM50 team of Ray Knox, Chris Sole (8:36 second fastest MM50), Graham Anderson, Marc Boulle finished second in its grade in 37:29. The Leith MM35 team of Mark O’Donnell, Julian O’Hagan, Peter Frew and Alan Funnell (7:30 fastest time MM35) finished third in 31:44.

12 & Under Course (670m)
The Leith Mixed 12 & Under team of Aaron Allan, Bruce Knox, Caitlin O’Donnell, Annabel Murphy ran well to finish fourth in 12:19 on the 670m children’s course.

Thanks to all the officials, timekeepers, marshals, course markers, refreshment workers, sponsors, spectators and athletes for making this a special day for Otago running.

The 32nd Leith Cross Country Relays, Sat 18 May 2012

Dunedin Pony Club, Three Mile Hill Road, Dunedin

Full Results >> Leith Cross Country Relays Results 

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