Otago Daily Times

Six weeks of to­tal rest key as Bath­gate re­turns in style

ATH­LET­ICS

- WAYNE PAR­SONS Sports · Otago Region · Dunedin

NIC Bath­gate (Leith) made a tri­umphant re­turn to com­pet­i­tive run­ning yes­ter­day when he won the se­nior men’s 10km Otago road ti­tle on the har­bour basin course.

Bath­gate (34), the head of de­vel­op­ment for TracPlus in Dunedin, has spent the past 18 months re­cu­per­at­ing from a nig­gling Achilles, and yes­ter­day’s run came af­ter six weeks of to­tal rest in order to re­cover af­ter it flared up again as he at­tempted to re­sume rac­ing.

“Run­ning fast is not some­thing I’ve done in the past six weeks,” he said of at­tempt­ing to make a come­back in the Leith 10km event on the same course in early Septem­ber.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing the Leith 10km Bath­gate re­alised the in­jury still needed a lit­tle time and de­cided the take a “few months off”.

But as he felt re­freshed, the lure of yes­ter­day’s race was to much to re­sist.

“I’ve just been do­ing the re­hab work and not train­ing at all. But then it got to race week and I heard that a cou­ple of the key play­ers were not go­ing to be here to­day and that there was some good medals on the line. I thought ‘Shoot, I can’t re­ally pass that up’.”

When Bath­gate found him­self up against the in­form Nathan Shanks (Caver­sham), Finn Mol­loy (Hill City

Univer­sity) and Xavier Walker (Ariki), he knew he had his work cut out for him and he ini­tially set­tled for go­ing for one of the mi­nor medals.

The four were locked to­gether over the first half of the course but when the field turned at the half­way mark, Bath­gate thought he would give it a nudge and opened up a slight ad­van­tage which he man­aged to hold through to the fin­ish, cross­ing in 33min 52sec.

Walker was hot on his heels just 6sec be­hind and Mol­loy third in 35min 33sec.

A win­ner of both the Otago half marathon and marathon ti­tles be­fore his in­jury, Bath­gate ad­mit­ted af­ter­wards that the vic­tory took him by sur­prise.

“I thought why not? I’ll just give it a crack,” he said.

“It’s nice to only lose 30sec of fit­ness in six weeks and this time I did run it a lot more con­ser­va­tively,” he added of be­ing 30sec down on his Leith 10km time six weeks ago.

Rebekah Greene (Hill Ci­tyUniver­sity) dom­i­nated the women’s field, win­ning in a per­sonal­best time of 34min 58sec, and go­ing un­der 35min for 10km for the first time.

Green was thrilled to have carved al­most a minute from her pre­vi­ous best for the dis­tance con­sid­er­ing she was suf­fer­ing stiff­ness in her lower back.

“I think over the cross­coun­try sea­son I did a few too many hills, and that com­bined with a lot of sit­ting in my day job,” she said adding it was not some­thing that both­ered her when she ran fast.

Greene who will now con­cen­trate on the 800m and 1500n over the sum­mer sea­son, said she was happy with the base she had built up, de­spite the in­ter­rup­tions to the win­ter sched­ule.

Promis­ing ju­nior Maya Irv­ing (Caver­sham) won the ju­nior women’s 5km event in 17min 31sec, while Caver­sham club­mate Ben Row­ley won the ju­nior men’s ti­tle in 17min 2sec.

 ?? PHOTO: PETER MCIN­TOSH ?? And they’re off . . . Com­peti­tors at the start of the Otago 10km road cham­pi­onships yes­ter­day. Nic Bath­gate (Leith) won the se­nior men’s ti­tle in 33min 52sec and Rebekah Green the se­nior women’s ti­tle in 34min 58sec.
PHOTO: PETER MCIN­TOSH And they’re off . . . Com­peti­tors at the start of the Otago 10km road cham­pi­onships yes­ter­day. Nic Bath­gate (Leith) won the se­nior men’s ti­tle in 33min 52sec and Rebekah Green the se­nior women’s ti­tle in 34min 58sec.

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