The harrier season (winter cross country and road racing) is jam-packed with races, with one every second weekend, on average. They are made up of club races (organised by the club for the club), inter-club races (Wellington-based races for the Wellington clubs), and national championship races organised by Athletics New Zealand. The Wellington Masters Association also organises a number of races for masters athletes.
Over summer, Athletics Wellington runs a track and field programme based at the track at Newtown Park.
Please note that the race descriptions below are subject to change. Please check the club calendar for up to date details of a particular event!
- Timing transponder chips
- The Club races:
- The Wellington Inter-Club races:
- The National races:
- The Wellington Masters races:
- The track and field season
Timing transponder chips
From 2011, every member of a club in Wellington has been allocated a timing transponder chip. Everyone must wear their chip at every Athletics Wellington inter-club race. If you don't wear a chip, or if you don't pay your sub, then your result won't be recorded. You do not have to wear them to the national races or to club races.
This timing chip is yours and you keep it for every year you are a member. It gets reactivated every year when you sign up with the club again. Please look after it: if you lose it, you will be asked to pay for a replacement. If you leave it at home, you will need to rent a replacement for the day. (Athletics Wellington charges a fee for replacements and on-the-day rentals which we will pass on.)
Some important notes:
- Attach the chip by threading your laces through the holes, or by using cable ties. The chips do not work vertically, so if you run barefoot you will need to attach it to your foot rather than using an ankle strap.
- If you wish to run out of grade, you must tell the club registrar or race organiser well in advance, otherwise your time will not be recorded.
- If you forget or lose your chip, you must tell the club registrar so that they can arrange a replacement for you.
Club cross country championships
This is held at Bryant’s Farm, Boom Rock Rd, out at Ohariu Valley, each year and incorporates a sealed handicap competition where the winner is the athlete who beats the time that the handicapper has estimated for them by the greatest margin. The event has a number of club trophies at stake throughout the various grades, with certificates for the first three across the line for each grade.
The course is undulating and can be boggy and muddy depending on the weather that prevails. A demanding course.
The race grades and race distances are (note the junior grades are the old-style 2-year intervals for this event):
|1||Men 19 & Under||7.5km||3 full laps|
|Men 17 & Under||7.5km||3 full laps|
|Masters Men||7.5km||3 full laps|
|Masters Men 50+||7.5km||3 full laps|
|Senior Men||10km||4 full laps|
|2||Senior Women||5km||2 full laps|
|Masters Women||5km||2 full laps|
|Masters Women 50+||5km||2 full laps|
|Women 19 & Under||5km||2 full laps|
|Women 17 & Under||5km||2 full laps|
|Walkers||5km||2 full laps|
|3||Boys and Girls 11 & Under||2.5km||1 full lap|
|Boys and Girls 13 & Under||2.5km||1 full lap|
|4||Boys and Girls 7 & Under||1km||1 kids lap|
|Boys and Girls 9 & Under||1km||1 kids lap|
|5||Boys and Girls 15 & Under||4km||1 short lap plus 1 full lap|
Club Road Championships
The club road racing champs are held in conjunction with the Athletics Wellington Road champs.
Grand Memorial races and Old Members’ Day
The event is an open handicap event for the 14-and-overs runners in the club, with the under 14s having a scratch race. Open handicap means that runners will start their race at different times to others in the field. The slowest runners will start off and gradually, other runners will also start until finally the “backmarkers” – the fastest runners or runner, start last. The Club handicappers decide who starts when (just so you know who to blame...)
The race is held at Bryant‘s Farm, Boom Rock Rd, out at Ohariu Valley – the same place as the Club Cross Country champs, although the course is different. The course is flat-ish with numerous small creek crossings – excellent racing usually prevails on this course.
The race grades and race distances are:
|1||Boys and girls 9 and under||1km scratch race|
|2||Boys and girls 13 and under||2km scratch race|
|3||Senior & Masters Women||4km open handicap|
|Junior women (W16 and W19)||4km open handicap|
|Junior men (M16 and M19)||4km open handicap|
|Walkers||4km open handicap|
|Senior & Masters Men||8km open handicap|
The open handicap races are combined but race for different grade trophies.
It is also Old Members’ Day, when past members of the club gather and is highlighted by an afternoon tea back at the clubrooms after the races.
Maiden & Perston races
The first race of the season for many, this is an excellent introduction for new members to cross country racing – it is run over just 2km and involves “true” cross country.
Held at Newlands College, these are also the official trial races for the selectors to pick their teams for the Shaw Baton Interclub Relay the following week. There are two races, both run on the same course:
(a) Maiden Race
This race is for members who have never won an individual trophy from a race, won on either handicap (1st place) or outright from a club or interclub race. In many cases, new members will start in this event.
In addition, there is a sealed handicap.
The outright winner of the race and the sealed handicap winner are given a trophy and earn “promotion” to the Perston race next season.
(b) Perston Memorial Race
The race is for members who have won an individual trophy from a race, won on either handicap (1st place) or outright from a club or interclub race.
In addition, there is a sealed handicap.
The outright winner of the race and the sealed handicap winner are each given a trophy.
Perston Baton Relay Race
This club event is a cross country relay that is held at Karori Park. It is a fun event with some close racing usually prevailing.
The winning team members receive a Baton, and have their names engraved on the Trophy to commemorate this event.
A 5 lap event, the race uses a circuit of about 2.3km around Karori Park. It is mostly a grass course, but contains a tough hill at the back of the course, and a stream crossing. All grades are catered for with the first and third runners of each team completing one circuit, the second and fourth completing two, and the fifth runner completing three. The club meets at the park where the club handicappers & selectors pick the teams.
This event is a club teams race over quite short distances where everyone who finishes will count for their team.
The winning team members have their names engraved on the Shield to commemorate this event.
Members meet at the clubrooms to pick the teams and then head to West Park School for the race.
The race distances will vary. The current format is a single short lap around the school for the most junior members, and either 1, 2 or 3 laps of a longer circuits for older members (with 3 long laps being 5km). How many team members count is determined by the number in each team on the day of the race.
The course has one large climb per lap and and is all road (apart from the start/finish line which is on grass).
The Wellington Inter-Club Races
The Club participates in and organises a number of inter-club events over the winter season. These are part of the Athletics Wellington calendar. Athletes compete for their clubs against other Wellington clubs for individual and teams placings.
Masters ages for Athletics Wellington races are 40 for men and 35 for women.
Shaw Baton Relay
This is traditionally the first interclub cross country race of the season. It is organised by the club, and is held at Battle Hill, near Pauahatanui. The race distance is approximately 2km.
The relay is split into a number of grades:
|Masters women (W35)|
|Junior women (W19 and W16)|
|Girls 13 and under (G13)|
|Girls 11 and under (G11)|
|Boys 13 and under (B13)|
|Boys 11 and under (B11)|
|Mixed 13 and under|
|Mixed 11 and under|
|2||Boys and girls 9 and under||1km fun run scratch race (non-relay, mass start)|
|Masters men (M40)|
|Junior men (M19 and M16)|
University Cross Country Relay
The University Relay, the second inter-club race, is also a cross country relay. It is held at QEII Park in Paekakariki over a firm 3.5km course incorporating sandunes.
There are three races:
- A 6km road walk
- A scratch race for youngsters 9 and under, 11 and under, and 13 and under – 1 short lap (2km)
- Relay: Junior men, junior women, senior men, senior women, masters men, masters women – 4×3.5km
Battle Hill 5km Cross Country Race
This race is no longer held
For many this event is the toughest race that club members will encounter during the season.
It is held at Mt Victoria over a very undulating, cross country course through the trails that run through the hills. Trophies and medals are awarded to the team winners and the first in each grade.
The races are, with the counting team for each grade:
|1||Senior Women||5km||3 (masters women also count)|
|Masters Women (35+)||5km||3|
|Masters Women (50+)||5km||3|
|Men 19 and under||5km||3|
|2||Women 19 and under||3.7km||3 (combined with W16)|
|Women 16 and under||3.7km||3 (combined with W19)|
|Men 16 and under||3.7km||3|
|3||Boys under 13||1.6km||3 (combined with B11)|
|Boys under 11||1.6km||3 (combined with B13)|
|4||Girls under 13||1.6km||3 (combined with G11)|
|Girls under 11||1.6km||3 (combined with G13)|
|5||Senior||10km||6 (masters men also count)|
|Masters Men 50+||10km||3|
This event is held at Trentham Memorial Park over a flat & fast course.
The race is essentially a team event, with just the outright winner and the team winners being awarded medals.
The races are, with the counting team for each grade:
|Masters Women (35+)||6km||4|
|2||Men 19 and under||4km||4|
|Women 19 and under||4km||4|
|3||Boys 11 and under, girls 11 and under||2km||4|
|4||Men 16 and under, women 16 and under||4km||4|
|5||Boys 13 and under, girls 13 and under||3km||4|
|6||Boys 9 and under, girls 9 and under||1km||4|
|Masters men 40+||8km||4|
|Masters men 50+||8km||4|
Athletics Wellington Cross Country Championships
This is the final cross country race of the season for many club members apart from the Perston Baton Club relay). The event is usually held at Waikanae over a part flat, part undulating course - all cross country and includes jumps.
Medals are given to the first 3 and team winners in each grade.
The Wellington Champs events, with team members to count, are:
|1||Judged road walk||10km|
|2||Masters men (40+, 50+)||8km (4×2km)||4|
|Men 19 and under||8km (4×2km)||4|
|Senior women||8km (4×2km)||4|
|3||Women 16 and under||4km||4|
|Masters women (35+, 50+)||6km (3×2km)||4|
|Women 19 and under||6km (3×2km)||4|
|Men 16 and under||6km (3×2km)||4|
|4||Boys 9 and under, girls 9 and under||1.5km||4|
|5||Boys 11 and under, girls 11 and under||3km||4|
|6||Boys 13 and under, girls 13 and under||3km||4|
|7||Senior men||12km (6×2km)||6|
This is the first inter-club road relay of the season. The 5 lap race begins at Island Bay Beach, heads around the coastline, and finishes at Evans Bay, in the park adjacent to the zephyrometer.
Because this race is held on an open road, strict safety rules apply.
The races and the laps are as follows:
|1||Walkers 5km (first leg of relay only)|
|2||Senior women, women 19 and under, masters women 35+|
|3||Senior men, men 19 and under, masters men 40+, masters men 50+|
Lap descriptions are as follows:
|Lap 1||4.8km||Flat, some undulations in mid lap, finish Lyall Bay|
|Lap 2||4.6km||Flat, finish just before Pass of Branda|
|Lap 3||4.8km||Hill at start, small downhill, flat to finish at Scorching Bay|
|Lap 4||3.9km||Flat, some minor undulations, finish at Shelly Bay Base|
|Lap 5||4.0km||Glory lap, finish adjacent to zephyrometer on Evans Bay Parade just around the corner with Cobham Drive|
Athletics Wellington Road Champs
This is held in conjunction with the club road running championships each year, and thus there are plenty of club trophies up for grabs across all grades. Most recently the running champs have been held on a closed road at Wainuiomata. The course is based on a reasonably sheltered gently sloping 2km up-and-back circuit with a hairpin turn at each end. The walkers champs have been held at Trentham.
The race grades and race distances are:
|1||Masters women 50+||5km||4|
|Women 19 and under||5km||4|
|Women 16 and under||5km||4|
|Non championship senior women||5km||No team/no medals|
|Non championship men||5km||No team/no medals|
|2||Girls 13 and under||3km||4|
|Boys 13 and under||3km||4|
|Masters Women 35-49||10km||4|
|Men 19 and under||8km||4|
|Men 16 and under||6km||4|
|4||Girls 11 and under||2km||4|
|Boys 11 and under||2km||4|
|5||Girls 9 and under||2km||4|
|Boys 9 and under||2km||4|
|Masters Men 40+||10km||4|
|Masters Men 50+||10km||4|
The National Races
The national events are championship events organised by Athletics New Zealand (apart from the North Island Cross Country Champs which is an unofficial championship and is organised by the local harriers club).
Note that the masters age for Athletics New Zealand events is 35 for both men and women, with the exception of the national road relay which is 40 for men.
NI Cross Country Champs
The NI Cross Country Champs is a huge event held in Taupo in early July (the first weekend of the school holidays). The event is held at Spa Park, which because of its free-draining volcanic soil is usually hard and fast. There are 14 races run over the day for all grades, with distances right down to 1km for the 9 and unders, and most grades having their own races. And as it is also the Club’s mid-winter club trip, it is also a social weekend for the whole family – put it in your diary early!
For the serious athletes, these under-distance races are good preparation for the Wellington Champs and National champs in the following weeks.
The grades and distances are as follows:
|1||Walkers (non-competitive)||3km (1×3km loop)|
|2||Girls 10 and under||1km (1×1km loop)|
|3||Boys 10 and under||1km (1×1km loop)|
|4||Girls 12 and under||2km (1×2km loop)|
|5||Boys 12 and under||2km (1×2km loop)|
|6||Girls 14 and under||3km (1×3km loop)|
|7||Masters Men 50+||6km (2×3km loop)|
|8||Masters Women 35+||5km (3km+2km)|
|9||Men 19 and under||6km (2×3km loop)|
|Men 16 and under|
|10||Boys 14 and under||3km (1×3km loop)|
|11||Women 19 and under||4km (2×2km loop)|
|Women 16 and under|
|12||Masters Men 35-49||6km (2×3km loop)|
|13||Senior Women||5km (3km+2km)|
|14||Senior Men||9km (3×3km loop)|
Athletics New Zealand Cross Country Champs
The national cross country champs determine the cross country champions for the year. The course moves around the country each year. Each Centre (e.g. Athletics Wellington) selects a number of athletes (from the M/W16 grades and up) to compete for their province wearing provincial colours. In Wellington, the Wellington Cross Country Champs is the main selection race, although the the Dorne Cup and North Island Cross Country Races may also be used. If you think you are good enough to be selected please let the selectors know. Athletes not selected can still compete, representing their club.
Athletics New Zealand Road Champs
Like the national cross country champs, the national road champs determine the road champions for the year. Again the course moves around the country each year and each Centre selects athletes to represent it. In Wellington, the Wellington Road Champs is the main selection race, although athletes who were selected for the cross country champs may be automatically selected for the road champs. Athletes not selected can still compete, representing their club.
National Road Relay Champs
As the last event of the harrier season, it is also the climax for the year. After a winter of hard training, now’s the time to see it all pay off. This is the biggest Athletics New Zealand event of the year, usually with more than 150 teams from all around the country competing, and it’s a great opportunity to see the country’s top athletes competing. This trip is subsidised by the club, and anyone who wants to run will be put in a team, so don’t miss it.
The course varies in location. It usually has 7 or 8 laps for the senior course, and 4 or 5 laps for the junior course.
Previous course locations (and links to results) include:
- 2012: Nelson
- 2011: Auckland
- 2010: New Plymouth
- 2009: Christchurch (Takahe to Akaroa)
- 2008: Dunedin (Taieri Plains)
- 2007: Timaru (Round the Gorges)
- 2003: Feilding
- 2005: Christchurch (Takahe to Akaroa)
- 2004: Wakefield, Nelson
- 2003: Feilding
- 2002: Feilding
- 2001: Christchurch (Takahe to Akaroa)
- 2000: Nelson (Motueka to Nelson)
- 1999: Cambridge
- 1998: Kumeu
- 1997: Christchurch (Takahe to Akaroa)
The Wellington Masters Races
The Wellington Masters Association organises a number of races during the year for masters athletes. These are open to masters runners (M35 and W35) plus pre-masters (M30-34 and W30-34).
The Masters races are usually held on a Sunday.
Masters Classic Relay
This race is 5 lap race held at Trentham Memorial Park, mostly on flat grass. The distance is 4km per lap. There is a range of grades, with age grades based on the aggregate age of team members. There is also a 3 lap for walkers.
Masters 8km Road Race
This race is organised by the Club and run around the street of Johnsonville. The course is undulating.
Masters 10km road race
This race incorporates the Wellington Masters 10km champs (with five year age grades). It is held in Lower Hutt on an out-and-back course – probably Wellington’s fastest 10km course.
The track and field season
Over the summer season (October to March), Olympic Harriers participates in Athletics Wellington's track and field programme. The home venue is Newtown Park, but events are held throughout the region and the rest of the country. Events include a number of championship events, such as the teams events, national events such as the Capital Classic, and the regular Gold and Black programmes.