Athletics: Decisive burst by Funnell gains win

Winner Alan Funnell (Dunedin) leads the big 10km road race field out of the Caledonian Ground...
Winner Alan Funnell (Dunedin) leads the big 10km road race field out of the Caledonian Ground with runner-up Ricky Gutsell (Gore) No 517 tucked in behind him. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Allan Funnell struck at the decisive moment in the last lap to win the 10km road race.

Ricky Gutsell (Gore) realised he had finally met his match when Funnell hit the accelerator 1km from home.

The pair had been neck and neck throughout the race.

Funnell saw his opportunity in the confusion of passing slower runners as they passed the hockey turf 1km from the finish.

"Ricky beats me most of the time. I was pleased to get one on him tonight," Funnell said.

Funnell (42), the head gardener at Glenfalloch, won the four-lap race around the Butts Rd circuit at Logan Park in 34min 47.14sec.

Gutsell (47), the personnel manager at the freezing works at Mataura, was second in 35min 18.57sec and Dunedin builder Richard Hendry third in 36min 47.37sec.

"I respect Ricky as a runner and I was never confident until I hit the tape," Funnell said.

Gutsell admitted it was a hopeless task trying to catch Funnell when he made the decisive break to win by 32sec.

"I tried to hold contact but he was too strong. When he got 100m on me I knew I couldn't pull him back," Gutsell said.

The leading pair completed the extended first lap in 10min 15sec and had a 42sec lead on Hendry.

They were still together when they went past the halfway mark in 17min 59sec and the gap to Hendry had extended to 60 seconds.

The pressure was on when the two were still together after three laps were completed in 25min 51sec.

The gap to Hendry had stretched to 1min 12sec.

Dunedin school teacher Sue Cuthbert (42) took control of the women's race from the start and extended her lead throughout.

She led Dunedin lawyer Leonie Matehaere (39) when she completed the first lap in 12min 23sec and had increased the margin to 1min 47 sec when she passed the halfway point in 21min 16sec,Cuthbert won by 4min 17sec with her time of 40min 44.44sec.

Matehaere was second in 45min 02.56sec and Carol Chettleburgh (Dunedin) third in 46min 49.10sec.

The men's 5km walk was won by Neville Shanks (Dunedin) in 30min 30.33sec from Bevan Cook (Motueka) in 30min 24.95sec with retired Dunedin school principal Danny Knudson third in 30min 43.02sec.

First home in the women's 5km walk was Donna Pettitt (Balclutha) in 32min 05.01sec with Penny Purcell (Tauranga) second in 32min 32.69sec.

Purcell (46), who works in the office at a rest-home, won the 21km walk in 2hr 23min.

There were only two male walkers in front of her.

The performance of the night came from Hamilton's Rose Jacob (95) who completed the 5km walk in 54min 29.65sec to win her age-group title.

Naomi Crowder (England) won the women's aged 70 to 74 walk in 43min 51.96sec.


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