Craig Lautenslager and Annika Pfitzinger won the final two Athletics New Zealand titles on offer for 2017 at the ASB Kerikeri Half Marathon on Saturday.
Lautenslager (Nelson) had a grand battle with defending NZ half marathon champion Oska Baynes (Christchurch) with the title not decided until the final few hundred meters. The 24 year old Lautenslager, running 64:58 in his first half marathon was pushed all the way by Baynes (65:01) with both athletes breaking the race record in less than ideal conditions.
Cam Graves from Auckland finished third in 67:17.
Lautenslager, who also won the NZ cross country title in July paid tribute to Baynes.
“Oska was just hammering the whole time. In the last kilometre I got a little bit of a lead on him, he passed me and then I charged and held on to the finish. I was hoping to go under 1.05 and was a little surprised to get that time in the conditions. I couldn’t have done that time without Oska out there,” said Lautenslager.
Pfitzinger, running her first half marathon since 2015, broke her personal best by almost two minutes to claim her first NZ senior title with a winning time of 75:58.
“I wasn’t sure if I would run the race but had a good session last Saturday and decided to come up to Kerikeri. They were pretty tough conditions with a head wind most of the way, I was running in no man’s land for a while and manged to reel in a some guys and work them a little which really helped me get through to the finish,” said the 25 year old Pfitzinger.
Defending champion and pre-race favourite Olivia Burne (Auckland) suffered stomach problems during the race and finished second in 76:41, ahead of Pakuranga’s Penny Peskett with 77:13.
Simon Yarrow was the quickest in the Masters Men 35-49 grades with 74:48 ahead of Rick Tombling (75:50) and Christopher Robb (76:07).
Michael Wray won the 50+ Masters Men title in 77:46 from Alastair Prangnell (78:36) and Anthony Rogal (82:15).
In a tight contest, Sally Gibbs – fourth overall of the women competitors took out the Masters Women Championship, running 81:04 from Fiona Love (81:12) and Ady McKenzie (81:48).
1 Annika Pfitzinger North Harbour Bays 1:15:58
2 Olivia Burne Auckland City 1:16:41
3 Penny Peskett Pakuranga 1:17:13
4 Alannah Van Hout North Harbour Bays 1:23:01
5 Gracie Keown North Harbour Bays 1:27:49
6 Katherine Reardon Auckland City 1:28:03
7 Anna Williams Auckland YMCA 1:30:05
8 Sarah Lewington Glen Eden 1:33:39
1 Craig Lautenslager Nelson 1:04:58
2 Oska Baynes New Brighton Olympic 1:05:01
3 Cam Graves North Harbour Bays 1:07:17
4 Harry Linford Auckland City 1:10:42
5 Mick Keating Auckland City 1:12:06
6 Mark Boyce Takapuna 1:13:35
7 Louis Young North Harbour Bays 1:14:11
8 Chris Mills Whangarei 1:14:12
Background Image: Craig Lautenslager leading Daniel Balchin in the men’s 10km race at the NZ Cross Country Championships in Auckland. Photo by Heather McDonald / Macspeedfoto.