Ella Hou becomes 2nd cup winner in family

Veteran runner Christine Montgomery is the first runner off in the Ness Cup while eventual winner...
Veteran runner Christine Montgomery is the first runner off in the Ness Cup while eventual winner Ella Hou waits to go beside her in the next couple of runners away. Runner-up Jared Monk is on the extreme left. PHOTOS: LINDA ROBERTSON
Ella Hou made the most of her start to win the Ness Cup at the Caledonian Ground last night.

She was not far away from being run down by a fast finishing Jared Monk, but stayed ahead to win by just under 10sec in the handicapped mile race.

Hou sprints to the line to win the Ness Cup.
Hou sprints to the line to win the Ness Cup.
Hou (15), of Hill City-University, followed in the footsteps of older brother Josh, who had won the race three years ago.

The Otago Girls’ High School Year 11 pupil started off the 15sec mark and was in the second group away. Monk on the other hand was last off, along with Josh Hou, 2min 5sec behind veteran runner Christine Montgomery, the first athlete to go,

But Monk and Hou worked their way through the 23-strong field, although when Monk received the bell with a lap to go, Ella Hou was well into the back straight.

Monk — a Dunedin Hospital dentist — did not throw in the towel, though.

"I was hopeful. With about 200m to go I saw she had about 110m left. I had to go hard but it wasn’t quite enough," Monk said.

"I have run it one time before and that time I lost to Josh [Hou] so it must be the family. I really pushed myself and was pleased with the time.

"Hats have to go off to the handicapper. To have a race like that when the back marker gets within a few seconds of someone who started off near the front of the mark is pretty good."

Monk ended up with a time of 4min 22.18sec, while Ella Hou finished in just over 6min.

Alex Brown, who ran off a 1min 10sec handicap, was just over a second behind Monk in third place.

Josh Hou was sixth just behind Montgomery.

In the Otago 10,000m championships, Oliver O’Sullivan had a good win, recording 32min 40.20sec. He won by more than 12sec from Jonah Smith, and Nic Bathgate was third.

Phil Napper (68) set an Otago masters record in his age group of 42min 12.78sec.

Olivia Gold won the women’s title in 41min 14.06sec.

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