Fes­tive af­ter­math sees food go out not in

Jo finds she has new skill in spit­ting contest Mum and re­porter JO McKEN­ZIE-McLEAN is tak­ing on one of the big­gest chal­lenges of her life train­ing for the North­burn Sta­tion 50km. She re­ports on her progress.

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

I have been glut­tonous and in­dul­gent the past few weeks with lit­tle ex­er­cise to bal­ance out the ef­fects of daily binges of food and al­co­hol.

While work­ing a Sun­day shift re­cently, cov­er­ing the Cherry Fes­ti­val in Cromwell, it was sug­gested I should en­ter the cherry stone spit­ting com­pe­ti­tion.

I fig­ured with ev­ery­thing I had been shov­el­ling into my mouth over the hol­i­day pe­riod, the ori­fice could prob­a­bly do with a re­cov­ery work­out.

Hav­ing lis­tened to cherry-stone spit­ting tech­niques from cur­rent ju­nior cham­pion Bob Wardill, I stood chew­ing and suck­ing the flesh of a fat, juicy cherry won­der­ing what tech­nique would be best for me.

Bob’s dad, Mike, told me he had seen Aus­tralians some­times use a type of neck-whip­ping tech­nique at com­pe­ti­tions across the ditch. I liked the idea of thrust­ing my body be­hind the spit.

With two well sucked cherry stones in the palm of my hand, I started some warm-up mouth ex­er­cises. A few lip-smack­ing pucker-ups, a few jaw ex­ten­sions and a few tongue rolls. This was se­ri­ous stuff.

As I ap­proached the marker, I warned the mea­sur­ers He­len Scoles and Terry Em­mitt not to be shocked, but I was go­ing to at­tempt a highly-skilled neck­whip tech­nique for my spit.

The first spit landed at an em­bar­rass­ingly short dis­tance, off the spit­ting grid and right at the foot of Mr Em­mitt.

This sport is harder than it looks.

With my fi­nal at­tempt I took a cou­ple of false starts try­ing to muster up the power to hurl the lit­tle stone as far as my breath could take it. Then poof— away it flew. There were a cou­ple of ‘‘oohs’’ com­ing from the crowd of about six. There had been a huge crowd ear­lier in the day but by the time I took my turn— at 1.55pm with only five min­utes left be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion stopped, most of the peo­ple had left.

It was look­ing good. The stone made it on the grid.

With a quick mea­sure­ment, a voice boomed over a mi­cro­phone, ‘‘Num­ber 97 .0 . . 5.4 me­tres’’.

That spit put me in fifth place. Not bad for a cherry stone spit­ting first-timer.

● Feed­back and com­ments wel­come to jo­mac­mac@ stl.co.nz, on twit­ter @jo­mac­macjourno or on her Up­hill Bat­tle Face­book page

Blow: Re­porter Jo McKen­zie-McLean gets an ex­er­cise-fix com­pet­ing in the Na­tional Cherry Stone Spit­ting Cham­pi­onships in Cromwell re­cently.

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