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Returned ex-pat runner hopes to win NZ champs

Aug 13th, 2011 | By | Category: Latest News, Sport

TOP CONTENDER: Tim Hodge wins the Wellington road champs. Photo: Sharon Wray

WELLINGTON runner Tim Hodge has been running 150 kilometres a week in the lead-up to next weekend’s NZ road championships on Wellington waterfront.

But it will be worth it if he wins, says Hodge, who returned from the US recently after spending four years on an athletic scholarship at Stony Brook University in New York.

“I have long runs up to 35km, workouts where my legs are just full of lactic acid by the end,” he says.

“In races, it comes down to who can block out the pain and push it the hardest over the last 3km or so. Crossing the line first justifies it was all worth it and we are not crazy.”

While he says there is very little money in New Zealand in terms of prizes, the honour of being national champion is the real motivation for him.

Tim will be running for Wellington Centre and won the Wellington Road Championships held in Wainuiomata on August 6 with a time of 31 minutes and 8 seconds.

While studying environmental studies he raced anything from between 3000m to 10,000m (3km to10km) in races across the US from California to Florida.

When asked whether he found the running regime and studying a battle, he says: “I just had to manage time effectively.”

A runner with the Wellington Scottish Athletics Club, he trains mainly in the Tawa area as there are good trails by Colonial Knob, at the back of Belmont Park, and around Whitireia Park.

He does try to get off-road as much as possible, although he does not think it matters where he runs.

He says he is “definitely a long distance guy”, as he does not have the finishing speed or fast kick for short distances.

Further down the track, Tim hopes to represent New Zealand at the World Cross Country Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

As he is now the Wellington champion, he will lead the Wellington team of Evan Cooper, Cary Chaffee, James Coubrough, Ben Barry, Adam Carlson, Ryan Woolley, Jesse Patel, Stefan Smith, Dan Nixon and Josh van Dalen at the New Zealand Road Championships next Saturday.

Athletics New Zealand event manager Will Stewart says they are expecting about 300 to 400 entrants.

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