Roadworks put paid to historic race

One cancelled, one postponed and one still on.

That is the outlook for the three running races scheduled for this week in Dunedin.

The Port Road Race, one of the most historic races on the Athletics Otago calendar, has been cancelled. It will not be run due to road conditions on the course, Athletics Otago said yesterday.

Road works disrupted the course and the logistics of traffic management around that were going to be too difficult.

An alternative date had been looked at, but as the calendar had already been delayed due to Covid-19, there were no free weekends to move it to.

The race, first held in 1902, begins at Port Chalmers and follows the old road into town to finish at Logan Park.

It had been held uninterrupted for 93 years — the only break being for World War1 — until a land slip in 2013 left the road needing to be repaired and the race being cancelled.

Meanwhile, an alternative event is being held, in the form of the Spring Track 3000m Challenge at the Caledonian Ground on Friday night.

The event had initially been scheduled to run as well as the road race.

Entry numbers had been low to start with, although it was hoped runners who had planned to do the road race may now run the track event.

It was also not unusual for entries to come in late.

The event was first run last year, targeted predominantly at students, trying to keep them involved in sport after moving to Dunedin.

On the children’s side, Friday’s proposed Otago Primary School Cross Country Championships at Kaikorai Valley College have been postponed.

The event now has a proposed date of the following Friday, depending on Covid-19 alert levels and gathering limits, and has no alternative date.

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