Tony Snell has repaired many an athlete's body over the years as a physiotherapist with the golden touch. That devotion to keeping others' active sometimes pays a dividend and so it proved on Monday at the annual Queens Birthday Road Race in Napier. Run under open handicap conditions on the testing 9km route over Shakespeare & Coutt Roads, which is completed twice, Snell made the most of the generosity of the handicapper to eke out a gap on the chasing field that proved a bridge too far for the others to conquer.
Coming through the intersection at Shakepeare Road and Coutt Road, for the last time, it was obvious to the onlookers that Snell had enough time up his sleeve to survive the last 1.5km to take the victory. The win made it a big weekend for Snell given his role as physiotherapist for the IMS Payroll Hawks with the all-conquering basketball team continuing its' winning ways on Saturday night. Ron Middleton was 1 min 14 sec adrift at the chequered flag, but had enough of his own problems to contend with as the freight train of Lucas Duross, Kristian Day and Ruby Muir was bearing down on him at a great rate of knots. Duross was only 5 sec behind Middleton at the finish as the back-markers tore through the field. Duross clocked the quickest time of 31 min 31 sec for the 9km with Day 5 seconds slower.
The womens field was also compact at the top end as Keiko Hashiba had only 24 sec up her sleeve at the finish line, having run down Jenny Pearson over the last km. Annie Kane made up a truckload of ground in running the fastest time of 19 min 26 sec for the 4.5km but could only get as far as third on handicap.
In the age groups Shannon Geary was a 20 second winner over Holly Moroney in the combined W19/W16/G14 race. The race for top time honours for the 4.5km was even closer with Roisin Pearson claiming a rare victory over Holly Manning recording an 18 min 13 sec time to be 5 sec ahead of her rival.
The Snell family had further cause for celebrations with Darcy & Hayden Snell providing the quinella in the combined M19/M16/B14 over 4.5km. These two had run down Fraser Pearson with only a 12 sec gap between the top three.
A huge field of 35 starters for the U12 2km meant an avalanche of runners at the finish but up front Madelin Herbert took full advantage of her handicap to take a 32 sec win over Ben Stephenson. The following 31 finishers crossed the line within 2 minutes of each other making for a hectic time for the timekeepers. Oliver Marshall again topped the timesheets with a 6 min 56 sec effort while Alia Wentz was to the fore in the girls in 8 min 31 sec.
Noah Green held out James Bassick in a tight finish in the cubs race.
Mens 9.5km. 1. Tony Snell 42.22. 2. Ron Middleton 36.56. 3. Lucas Duross (fastest time) 31.31.
Womens 4.5km 1. Keiko Hashiba 19.34. 2. Jenny Pearson 21.58. 3. Annie Kane (fastest time) 19.26.
M19/M16/B14 – 4.5km 1. Darcy Snell 18.12. 2. Hayden Snell 18.36. 3. Fraser Pearson 19.54. Fastest Time: Alex Langley 18.09.
W19/W16/G14 – 4.5km. 1. Shannon Geary. 2. Holly Moroney. 3. Anne Rinck. Fastest Time: Roisin Pearson 18.13.