Run­ners keeps top spots in the fam­ily

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By DAVE CRAMP­TON

Michelle and Ellen van Looy have more than just blood in common.

The Tawa mother and daugh­ter are off to Tau­ranga for the New Zealand road cham­pi­onships this week, after com­pet­ing for Wellington in both the na­tional and North Is­land cross coun­try cham­pi­onships re­cently.

They are the sole mother daugh­ter com­bi­na­tion at na­tion­als. Both are ranked in the top three in Wellington – Michelle is also inside the top 5 in New Zealand in the masters grade and Ellen in the top 15 in the un­der-18 di­vi­sion.

De­spite the age gap, there’s a fierce ri­valry be­tween the two – at the re­cent cross coun­try na­tion­als there was less than a minute sep­a­rat­ing the pair.

Michelle ran 6k in 26m 41sec, with Ellen clock­ing 26m 13sec.

‘‘I’m 25 years older than her,’’ Michelle said. ‘‘ She tries to beat her mum.’’

‘‘She’s not beaten me over 5km yet,’’ Michelle said.

‘‘Yes, I have – I’ve beaten you over 6km,’’ Ellen re­torted.

‘‘But not the 10km, and the marathon,’’ Michelle said.

You get the pic­ture. It de­pends on the dis­tance as to who comes ahead.

In a 2km race in 2011 there was just one sec­ond sep­a­rat­ing the pair.

At na­tion­als in Tau­ranga it’s go­ing to be hard to pre­dict a win­ner be­tween the two, but Michelle says if she is in front of Ellen, she will put it down to ‘‘ex­pe­ri­ence’’.

‘‘We’ve never raced over 5km at the same time – it will be the first time we’ve raced to­gether at na­tion­als,’’ she said.

‘‘ We will prob­a­bly come in to­gether.’’

De­spite the sim­i­lar­i­ties, they both run for dif­fer­ent clubs; Michelle for Olympic Har­ri­ers un­der long- term coach Chris Speak­man, with Ellen re­cently hav­ing switched from Alis­tair Leslie at Olympic to be coached by her boyfriend’s fa­ther, Wil­liam Twiss, at Scot­tish Har­ri­ers.

‘‘He’s a good train­ing part­ner,’’ Ellen said of Twiss.

Michelle said her strong fin­ish leads to high plac­ings and is go­ing to com­pete in the steeple­chase event next sea­son.

For Ellen, the in­door rock­climb­ing na­tion­als are com­ing up and she also en­joys play­ing for the Tawa Col­lege 3rd XI foot­ball team.

Run­ning: Tawa run­ners Michelle, left, and Ellen van Looy.

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