Stephen Lett, second in the New Zealand cross country championships, steps up to the plate again for the New Zealand road championships to be staged in Wellington on Saturday.
Lett, the national 10,000m track champion, will be aiming to add the 10km road title when he tackles the 2km circuit around the inner basin fronting Jervois Quay.
He easily won the Auckland title two weeks ago in a time of 32m 7s, 20 seconds ahead of Jono Jackson who will again give Lett plenty of competition.
The strong field for the senior championship also includes Tim Hodge and Stefan Smith from Wellington, Matt Harris and Alex Fowler from Canterbury, Shaun Burgess from Southland, Daniel Balchin and Callan Moody from Otago, Eric Speakman of Hawkes Bay Gisborne, Cory Whiting of Waikato Bay of Plenty and Alex Parlane from Auckland. Hodge was the 2006 junior champion, Speakman the 2008 junior champion and Jackson the 2009 junior champion.
Last year in the Sir Barry Curtis road race, which doubled as the 2010 road championship, Parlane was third and Harris sixth.
After missing the cross country championships this year Fiona Crombie will be keen to repeat her win in 2009 in the senior women’s 10km. Lisa Robertson of Auckland, fourth last year at Pakuranga, has trained well in recent weeks and showed good form in winning the Auckland title in 36m 1s. Strong claims for a podium placing will also come from Tina Harris of Wellington fifth last year, Lydia O’Donnell of Auckland sixth last year, Gabrielle O’Rourke who won the Wellington senior title in 36m 26s, Alice Mason of Auckland, Kellie Palmer and Nicki McFadzien of Canterbury and Camille Buscomb of Waikato Bay of Plenty. Buscomb was the W16 champion in 2005 and 2006 and won the W19 title in 2007.
Auckland’s Georgie Grgec back to racing following a lengthy spell with a stress fracture will be defending her W19 title. Others with strong claims for the title are Nicole Mitchell of Wellington, Grace McConnochie of Gisborne and Anna Kean of Dunedin.
Julian Oakley is expected to repeat his outstanding showing on the track last summer on the road when he contests the M19 8km. Also in the hunt for a medal will be John Schreuder of Auckland, Yared Kebede and Kieron McDonald of Wellington and Alex Gorrie of Canterbury.
Jacob Priddey of Waikato Bay of Plenty, Ben Musson of Canterbury and Marcus Karamanolis of Wellington should battle out the M16 title with Susannah Lynch favourite for the W16 title.
Stephanie MacKenzie and Gabrielle O’Rourke of Wellington, Tracy Crossley of Canterbury, world masters champion Sally Gibbs of Tauranga and Rachel Penney of Auckland are the leading runners in the master women while Rees Buck of Wellington should lead in the master men.
World masters walking champion Nyle Sunderland will compete in the W40-44 10km race walk while Roseanne Robinson should win the senior women’s 10km race walk. Mike Parker is the leading walker in the senior men’s 10km.
The events start and finish at the Taranaki Street Wharf. The first event W16 5km starts at 9.00am with the senior men and women combined 10km at 11.45am. The walks will conclude the programme at 1.10pm.