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Clendon and Lund break race trend

Veteran women’s winner Mel Aitken. PHOTO/ WOUNA LE ROUX


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Dan Clendon and Hannah Lund are king and queen of the mountains after winning the annual Jumbo-Holdsworth Mountain Race in the Tararua Range on Saturday.

Runners in the 24km race could choose to run uphill to Jumbo and then across to Mt Holdsworth before the fast downhill, or they could race in the opposite direction.

The Jumbo-Holdsworth direction is considered to be faster than Holdsworth-Jumbo and most of the previous winners have taken the Jumbo-Holdsworth route.

But Saturday’s race broke that trend, with Clendon and Lund choosing the Holdsworth-Jumbo direction.

Veteran Clendon, 43, from Wellington, was pushed hard by British athlete Hector Haines to take line honours in two hours, 34 minutes and 33 seconds, 16sec clear of open men’s winner Haines, who backed up from winning the Ultra Easy 42km mountain race in Queenstown the previous weekend.

Pre-race favourite Martin McCrudden from Wellington was third fastest and first to complete the Jumbo-Holdsworth route in 2:40.43.

Lund, from Dannevirke, dominated the women’s race to win in 3hrs 04:22, more than seven minutes clear of the first veteran woman Mel Aitken from Wellington [3:11.32], who struggled with a knee injury in the latter part of the course. Rachel Shackleton was third in 3:21.21.

Jeremy Upson took line honours in the 12km Hooper Loop run in 1:06.48, almost six minutes ahead of Dave Holland and Wairarapa-Bush rugby representative James Goodger in third.

Georgia Cassidy was first woman home in 1:16.25, 29 seconds in front of Lucy Jurke, with Jan Eichmann in third.

Organiser Andrew Thompson said 238 competitors started the race.

“The hot weather slowed the times especially when the wind dropped off,” he said.

“There were no troubles apart from one guy who fell near the Atiwhakatu Hut because of the heat and required to be walked out.”

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