After two disrupted years, 2022 suddenly seems like the chance to welcome back some old-favourite races. Among the races that make up our normal winter season, the Needle Relay and the Wellington Road Champs were the only two races that went ahead in each of the last two years. And even they have bumped around and modified to accommodate strange new circumstances. So the most exciting prospect for 2022 is a full season of races to choose from, many of which we have grown fonder towards in their absence.
Here are some of the races we can most look forward to in 2022.
The Ballantyne Cup
Sadly, the centennial version of this club race did not occur last year. So this year’s version will be the 100th in its stead. We haven’t sorted out a venue or date for it yet. (Look out for our soon to be released calendar of events). But the Ballantyne, along with all the other club handicap races during the season, is a great way to connect up with old club mates, meet new people and have a laugh over close-fought races between friends. Look out also for the 5km Centennial Cup in Island Bay and the crazily disorganised relay that is the McVilly Shield at the start of the season in March and April.
You’ll love: the ‘bring-a-plate’ afternoon tea and trip for a drink afterwards.
You’ll hate: being caught by your friend-rival who started 30 seconds after you, just as you approach the finish line.
Shaw Baton Relay and University Relay
Scottish is, at its heart, a club that loves relays. These two early season relays have it all – cross country courses with a bit of everything, plenty of chance to spectate, home baking, and longstanding friendly rivalries with other Wellington clubs. If you are new to Scottish make sure you have at least one of these two events in your diary. And if you’re not new to the club encourage your non-Scottish running friends to give these two events a go. We’ll make a space for them in one of our teams.
You’ll love: the homestraight facial expressions on your teammates as they eck out a few more seconds for you before it’s your turn to run.
You’ll hate: the horse-jump at the top of the Shaw Baton hill.
Wellington Marathon, 19 June
Among the many people who have had their lives turned upside down and inside out by COVID-19 is Michael Jacques – organiser of the Wellington Marathon which has been rescheduled and cancelled multiple times in the last two years. We’ll all be joining Michael, in hoping his iconic mid-winter festival goes ahead this year.
You’ll love: the way your yellow rampion lion vest stands out among the thousands of other Wellingtonians.
You’ll hate: the early morning start in the middle of winter.
NZ Cross Country Championships, 30 July.
I think the NZXC is the premier running race in NZ. It’s the race that draws a truly national field of all runners – from middle distance track stars to trail runners and marathon maestros. This year’s championship race is at Taupō – home of the North Island Cross Country Championships. Not only is the venue one of the great cross country courses in NZ, it’s also the ideal domestic tourism spot for a weekend away. Pencil this one in your diary for a club trip. It’s a national championship but there will be space on the startlines for club runners of all speeds and ambitions. And then hot pools afterwards.
You’ll love: the AC Baths.
You’ll hate: the smell of a car full of happy runners making their way back to Wellington.
NZ Road Championships, Sept 4
Wellington has hosted some epic national 10km road championships. Ten years ago, our waterfront course allowed us to see local heroes Tim Hodge and Sarah Drought become national champions. This year’s new NZCIS course is presumably similar to the old Trentham course that we used to run before it was supplanted by Wainuiomata. If so, expect a flat well-designed race that will let people chase fast times. Now that Tim Hodge is an Upper Hutt lad, this much-vaunted tribute race is all but assured. If you’re not racing you’ll want to be on the sidelines, cheering.
You’ll love: seeing runners from around NZ coming to visit us.
You’ll hate: the month-long wait after this race before you can race again at the NZ Road Relay Championships in Akaroa.