Athletics: Winner's plug for nationals

From left: Harrison Dean, Matt Harris, Peter Meffan, and Joshua Baan lead the pack across the...
From left: Harrison Dean, Matt Harris, Peter Meffan, and Joshua Baan lead the pack across the Clyde Dam during 2014 Clyde-Alexandra 10km road race. Photo by Leith Huffadine.

The Clyde-Alexandra 10km road race should double as the national 10km championship, the senior men's winner says.

After finishing the race on Saturday in 30min 52sec, Peter Meffan suggested the idea when talking to the Otago Daily Times.

''I'll see if I can get it out there. It's probably the most picturesque 10km race in New Zealand.

"It would be great to promote it nationally and make it the most competitive 10km race of the season.

''It's such a good course and such a fast course.''

Alexandra Harriers spokesman Peter Sarson said the club would enjoy the prestige of holding the national championships, but was not sure it would be possible.

''We would be happy to host them, subject to support from the national body.

"It is something not likely to happen, given our location,'' Sarson said.

Meffan (24) was frustrated with his time after the race.

''Not particularly [happy]. I have done it a lot faster a few years ago. The aim is always to break 30 minutes on this course.''

Meffan (Caversham) was part of a group of four, including Matt Harris (Auckland City), Harrison Dean (Nelson) and junior star Joshua Baan (Caversham), that took the early lead.

Pursuing the group were Tony Payne (Wesley Harriers) and Nick Pannett (Pakuranga).

As the leaders left Clyde, the bunch of four began to build a lead on Payne and Pannett, who were about 3sec and 10sec behind respectively.

By the 6km mark, the group had dropped Baan, about 20sec behind, who was closely followed by Payne. It was here Meffan began his attack.

''I could sense a bit of a gap opening up so I put some pressure on and tried to make the most of that,'' he said.

The remaining pair from the earlier group began to split up at about the 7km mark.

Looking strong, at about 8km Meffan had built a 9sec lead over Harris.

When he crossed the line, Meffan was 9sec in front of Harris, who finished second in 31min 1sec.

Dean was third in 31min 34sec.

Baan, who had been in the leading group, finished first in the junior men, and fourth overall.

After the race, runners commented on a slight head wind that had bothered them on the flat sections.

''There was a sort of an annoying head wind that went all the way. [It was] pretty consistent,'' Meffan said.

Hannah Parker (Pakuranga) claimed first place in the open women's category in 37min 2sec.

Bella Bloomfield (Hill City-University) was second in in 40min 9sec and Kirsty O'Sullivan (Hill City-University) was third.

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