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Sports, arts and activities

Siobhan Balle wins NZ Road Race Championship

“It’s helped me prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, it’s just getting over that last hurdle of my mind.”

ACG Strathallan student Siobhan Balle, Year 10, has won the U15 Girls New Zealand Road Race Championship, held in Cambridge yesterday. It is her first national title.

Siobhan’s race time of 11:04 for 3km placed her 18 seconds ahead of her nearest rival.

“From the gun, Siobhan set an intensity that none of her competitors were able to maintain,” explained ACG Strathallan running coach James Kuegler. “She built a small lead, and then continued to extend it.”

The win completes Siobhan’s remarkable streak of three road race wins in two weeks:

Auckland Road Race Championships – U15 Girls; Auckland Secondary Schools Road Race Championships – Junior Girls; and the New Zealand Road Race Championships – U15 Girls.

James said he had been confident Siobhan would be near the ‘pointy end’ of the field in yesterday’s race, but the win was particularly special as most athletes will never win a national title. He said after enjoying this win and taking a break from racing for the next couple of months, Siobhan would hopefully take another step up in terms of her performances.

Winning the title was a surreal feeling after initially hoping to come in the top ten, Siobhan said.

“It’s helped me prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, it’s just getting over that last hurdle of my mind. There have been many times where I’m in front and then someone passes me and I let it get inside my head. Last week I nearly had one of those moments, but I said to myself ‘you can do this, stick to her shoulder and you’ll make it.’  Winning that race and pulling through that patch in my mind really showed me that I can do it.”

Siobhan thanked coach James for pushing her outside her comfort zones and teaching her to push herself when she thinks she can’t do it.

“He’s there to shout ‘Venga! Venga!’ from the sidelines, he is an inspiration and a great motivator for me and many others.”

ACG Strathallan running club trains twice a week: Monday mornings 7-8am and Wednesday afternoons 3.30-4.30pm.