Kerr, Wilson claim Three Peaks honours

Competitors set off at the start of the Three Peaks race at the Woodhaugh Gardens yesterday...
Competitors set off at the start of the Three Peaks race at the Woodhaugh Gardens yesterday morning. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Queenstown's Cameron Kerr backed up his victory in the Motatapu Challenge Ultra just two weeks ago to win the New Zealand short course trail racing title on the Three Peaks Mountain Race course yesterday.

Victory in the 56km race, which doubles as a selection trial, puts the 28 year-old engineer in a prime spot to compete at the world championships in Spain next year.

Kerr said despite it only being two weeks since his victory in the 52km Motatapu Ultra, putting himself in front of the New Zealand selectors with a top result yesterday was a motivating factor.

Kerr put his win down to having a measured start over the Flagstaff and Swampy summits and being able to gas it on the run off Mt Cargill and down Bethunes to the finish at Chingford Park.

Comfortable with his early pace, he caught race leaders Tom Barnes (Wellington) and Dwight Grieve (Te Anau) coming off Swampy Summit. Kerr and Barnes then set a solid pace up front, leaving Grieve in their wake.

The pair then went hammer and tongs until Kerr found another gear to pull away from the Wellingtonian on the long run down to the finish, crossing in 5hr 11min 2sec, with Barnes clocking 5hr 12min 22sec for second and Grieve third in 5hr 25min 26sec

Intense competition also took place for the open women's title and pole position for Spain next year, with the Wellington duo of Ali Wilson and Hannah Fletcher, along with Dunedin's Margie Campbell, all involved in close quarters combat throughout the 56km journey.

Campbell set the initial pace to hold any early lead until Wilson and Fletcher went cruising past on the run down Longridge Rd to leave Campbell in chase mode.

Wilson said she was initially unable to find the legs to maintain Fletcher's pace and was mentally preparing to settle for second until she caught a glimpse of her going up to Mt Cargill and everything then just fell into place.

"When I caught her, I thought it was game on", Wilson said.

Wilson finished in 5hr 59min 52sec, with Fletcher second in 6hr 1min 22sec and Campbell third in 6hr 1min 46sec.

In associated races, Auckland's Logan Griffin won the 26km classic race in 2hr 10min 4sec, while Ness Cup mile champion Sophie Shallard (Riversdale) clinched victory in the women’s race in 2hr 39min 10sec. .

The 11km race was won by Dunedin’s Leon Miyahara in 51min 8sec, with the women's won race won by Caitlin Dent (Manapouri) in 1hr 2min 48sec.