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(L) Airborne .. Gore Harrier Club member Lily Gemmill (7) flies over the last hay-bale obstacle. (R) Out front .. Gore Harrier Club member Jack Davidson (8) leads the junior field as he makes his way over the last jump before the finish line in the club's handicap race held at Hamilton Park on Saturday. PHOTO'S: SANDY.EGGLESTON

The 63rd Gore handicap cross country was held at Hamilton Park on Saturday.

The annual event is hosted by the Gore Harrier Club and attracted runners from throughout Southland.

Club secretary Stephen Gemmill said about 40 runners took part in the event.

“We always get good support from the Southland clubs,” Gemmill said.

The course, which was set out by club member Graham Hall, had followed the same route for 63 years.

“We make sure it is exactly the same every year to keep everyone happy.”

The ground conditions were very good for racing.

“It was a good, hard, fast course.”

Gore accountant Pat Houlihan set the handicaps.

“The aim of the handicap is to have everybody finishing at the same time.”

That did not always happen.

“Some people are a bit faster than they should be, some people are a bit slower than they should be.”

Junior runners completed a 2km course and the senior race was 5.4km long.

Gore harriers were first home in both the junior and senior races.

Jack Davidson (8) and Lily Gemmill (7) were the first boy and girl home in the junior race, and Quinton Miller and Kylie Davidson won the male and female senior races.

Afternoon tea followed the race.

The club was preparing to host the Southland Cross Country Championships, at Waimumu on July 14.