Three Three Peaks thirds, then first first

Hamish Elliott atop Mount Cargill yesterday during his Three Peaks Mountain Race win. Inset:...
Hamish Elliott atop Mount Cargill yesterday during his Three Peaks Mountain Race win. Inset: Sharon Lequeux. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Third time might not have been so lucky for Sharon Lequeux - but fourth time certainly was.

After finishing third in each of the past three years, the 29-year-old finally conquered Dunedin's hills yesterday.

She claimed the Three Peaks Mountain Race women's title, finishing the 26km course in 2hr 44min 10sec.

Ailsa Rollinson and Orlaith Heron put up a strong fight, both remaining in touch at 2min and 3min back, respectively.

Lequeux led from start to finish, her time 2min faster than her previous best.

Alongside claiming the overall win, she also claimed the Queen of the Mountain prize, being the first to climb Swampy Summit.

"It's nice to come something other than third, for once," she said with a laugh.

"I just tried to push up the hills, the tough bit was going up Mount Cargill.

"It was a beautiful day, it's easy to stay motivated when the conditions are good.

"These two [Rollinson and Heron] were right behind me, so that was good motivation, too."

In transit . . . Sharon Lequeux and her daughter, Poppy (2), on the way home from work along...
Sharon Lequeux and her daughter, Poppy. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
An electron microscopist, Lequeux fits much of her training in running to and from work while pushing her daughter in a pram.

That was good strength training, and a lot of her focus had been on road running and trying to get faster.

She had only done two trail runs in the past two months.

Her next big race would be the Christchurch marathon.

Meanwhile, Hamish Elliott claimed the men's title in his first time competing in the race.

The 24-year-old held on to the fast-paced leading pack through the first half, before opening a gap.

His time of 2hr 06min 21sec was the fastest since Stafford Thompson's 2015 time.

That left him four and a half minutes ahead of second-placed Tim Bolter.

He was "really surprised" to claim the win over some strong runners.

An Oamaru dairy farmer, he was primarily a multisport athlete, although running was his strong suit.

He had come down as he looked to find races in the weekends, and said this was not dissimilar to others he had done.

"It was really good actually, really similar.

"I've competed in the Coast to Coast and it's quite a similar grunt, a lot of climbing and a lot of off-road terrain.

"I do try to do a lot of off-road running and a lot of multisport.

"It was a really good training run as well, so I could take that out of it."

He had not quite been able to claim the King of the Mountain prize, however.

That had gone to Jonah Smith, who topped Swampy Summit marginally before Elliott and Alex Gorrie.

Next weekend Elliott will trade his running shoes for the bike, as he contests the Hawea Epic mountain bike race.

The Three Peaks race follows a 26km course in which runners ascend Flagstaff, Swampy Summit and Mount Cargill, finishing at Chingford Park.


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