Last-minute entry, shop pays off for runner

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A Christchurch runner won the 10km road race section of this year’s Clyde to Alexandra Race Day, but a Tauranga competitor had by the far the most interesting story, Alexandra Harriers Club secretary Peter Sarson said. Ben Ruthe had turned up ‘‘really late’’ for the event, having decided on impulse to enter the 10km road race section, Mr Sarson said. ‘‘He told me that as he drove through Clyde he noticed a road race was imminent and he made an impulsive decision to enter it. He didn’t have his usual running gear with him so he beetled down to the Warehouse [in Alexandra] and bought running shoes, socks, shorts and a singlet.’’ Ruthe borrowed some scissors ‘‘to cut all the price tags off his purchases’’, and Mr Sarson sent him into the bowling club to change into his running clothes. ‘‘I’m glad to hear he made it to the start line’’. Ruthe completed the race, won the over-35 men’s section and recorded the third-fastest time overall, Mr Sarson said. Later, it was noticed that Ruthe had in fact bought ‘‘women’s socks’’. ‘‘I guess he was shopping in a hurry.’’ It turned out Ruthe was in fact a runner of repute, being a former national champion, and it was great to have him take part in the Clyde to Alexandra event, Mr Sarson said. Christchurch runner Daniel Balchin, of the New Brighton Olympic Club, won the 10km road race, and Jack Beaumont, of Winton, was second, Alexandra Harriers Club president Ewan Fallow said. The first woman home was Merryn Johnson, of Wanaka. Other winners were: U11 2km off-road race: Amelia Smith, of Alexandra, and Casey Brown, of Cromwell. U14 off-road race: Tylah Rose Wilson-Woodford, of Mossburn and Jonathon Miller, of Alexandra.