In enthralling races Rebecca Jane Toomey, 8.15.21 (North Harbour Bays, Auckland), and Paul Hewitson, 8.34.49 (Wellington Harrier Athletic) won the 14th Annual Sri Chinmoy 100 km Races (Athletics New Zealand 100 km National Championships) held in North Hagley Park, Christchurch on Sunday.
The 2019 road champs were held in cool cloudy conditions (7-18C), with occasional blue skies ... near perfect late autumn running weather.
A highly competitive 100 km women's field brought forth the best performances seen in New Zealand since the Winnie Cosgrove/ Lilac Flay/ Val Muskett era of the late 1990's.
Women's runner up Mel Aitken, 8.27.26 (Wellington Scottish) led the field through 50 km in 3.53.37 followed by 2017 champ Katrin Gottschalk (4.06.37), Rebecca Jane Toomey (4.07.04) and 2018 champ Shannon-Leigh Litt (4.16.56).
Rebecca ran a very fine second half 50 km, recording near even split times (4.07/ 4.08), to take 19 minutes off Katrin's 2017 course record. Mel and Katrin also broke the old course record.
In the men's 100 km race Paul Hewitson, 8.34.49 (Wellington Harrier Athletic), after an absorbing battle, just finished ahead of Stuart Hughes, 8.35.44 (Caversham Harriers) ... followed by 2018 champ Wayne Botha 9.18.51 (Takapuna Harriers).
In the Sri Chinmoy 100 km Team's Race 4-man team a talented 'Cuming from Behind' team (6.20.35) demolished the last year's race record by over 26 minutes ... followed by 2018 winners 'Been Leaving Our Marks Behind', 6.59.17 (Papanui TOC H Athletic Club) and the 'Weekend Warriors' 7.24.43.
The Sri Chinmoy 50 km men's Race was won by Erik Monasterio, 3.51.17 (Port Hills Athletic), followed by Kevin Hunt, 4.47.26 (Canterbury Triathlon Club) and Michael Passant 5.08.32 (Christchurch Marathon Clinc).
Sarah Alexander 3.59.38 (University Of Canterbury) won the women's 50 km Race followed by Sarah Grimes 4.19.33 and Georgina Cox 4.56.39 (Wainuimata Hariers).
The 7:00 pm awards ceremony was followed by a post-race meal under tranquil Hagley Park evening skies.