Our Team

2020 Racing Team

There is a saying that slow and steady wins the race. However the athletes below show that being fitter and faster is better, especially if you want to win races and medals. This team is prepared to put themselves on the line and push through prior-thought limits in training. They are successful through their consistent discipline, determination and devotion. This includes many hours, days, weeks and months of training. Remember their names as they are all going to achieve great things in the future. Meet the elite racing team for 2020.
Sophie Atkinson
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Sophie Atkinson is New Zealand’s premier U20 800m runner. She started her running career in Year 9 and 10 by competing in park runs, cross country and xterra forest runs. She has since gradated as a fearless front runner who is dominating the 400m and 800m lists. She has topped the NZ U20 800m rankings list for the last 2 years with a PB of 2m10 and had wins in both the NZ Secondary Schools 800m champs (December 2018) and the NZ U20 800m champs (March 2019). She followed that up with a silver medal in the 2019 Oceania 800m champs. In the 2020 NZ Champs Sophie had a rare defeat in the 800m, but gained another silver and a new PB. She also showed that her winter training for the 2021 season is progressing well by dominating and winning the Auckland Champs U20 Cross Country race. Sophie is a girl who is going places fast!
Kimberley May
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Kimberley was Auckland Athletics 2018 highly commended sports girl of the year as well as the double Auckland Champion for 800m and 1500m. Those who have followed her progress will not be surprised by these results as when Kim was 14 she became the Auckland 1500m resident record holder. Kim currently has PBs of 2m13 and 4m32 for 800m and 1500m. Kim is a not afraid to train hard and consistently pushes all the other girls to their limits. She started 2020 by dominating the 800m and 1500m at the North Island IPs (inter-provincial championships) and then producing a blistering finish to win the prestigious Porritt Classic 1500m in Hamilton. She then followed it up with two silvers at the NZ Championships over 800m and 1500m. As of April 2020 Kim was ranked as the 13th fastest U18 1500m runner in the world. Kimberley May is definitely the athlete to watch during 2020.
Peyton Leigh
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Peyton Leigh is the rising star of New Zealand athletics with an impressive resume of wins and medals at Auckland and New Zealand Championships. When Peyton was only 15 years old she ran an extremely fast 2m12 for 800m. During the 2019 winter season, she managed a hip injury but was still able to finish near the front in the New Zealand cross country championships. This underlined her versatility in any athletics event and was confirmed during January 2020 when she placed 2nd in the NZ U20 3000m Championships. In February she managed a very fast 4m32s in the Capital Classic 1500m and in March became the NZ Champion for both the U18 1500m and 3000m. In April 2020 Peyton was ranked number 7 in the world for women's U18 1500m event. With 2 years to go at high school, Peyton is on the radar of many USA college athletics scouts as she continues to clock up many new wins, medals and fast times.
Penelope Salmon
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Penelope is NZ's superstar junior orienteering champion who can also run track and cross country extremely fast. During 2019 she won the North Island schools 3000m championships by 30 seconds and then dominated the very best athletes in Auckland by winning club and school cross country races by well over 1 minute. However, orienteering is Penelope’s focus and as such she has competed around New Zealand, Australia and Scandinavia against the very best competitors in the world. She started 2020 with a 2nd place in the Australia v New Zealand short course orienteering races. The 2020 season is progressing well with Penelope winning the Auckland Championship U18 Cross Country and the North Island Secondary Schools short course orienteering event.
Meghann Stewart
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Meghann has had outstanding success. She is a former World Masters 1500m Champion and silver medallist in the 800m. Over the last few years she has remained near the top of the world masters 800m and 1500m rankings. Meghann Stewart remains the consummate professional in her attitude and commitment to staying at the top of her grade. To remain as one of the top master’s runners in the world she regularly trains at high altitude camps in Iten, Kenya and is not afraid to travel to race the very best. In the last year she has set new Auckland records for W55 800m and 1500m, new NZ records for 800m and was most recently gold medallist in the NZ North Island 400m and 800m.
Emily Hacket Pain
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Emily has represented New Zealand twice in the school’s World Cross-Country Championships, the first in 2016 in Budapest and then in 2018 in Paris. In the Paris event she won a bronze medal. She is also the current Auckland Cross Country Champion and last year was the 2018 North Harbour Youth Women’s Distance Runner of the Year. As well being a top athlete Emily is also a significant scholar with top achiever, emerging leader and academic excellence scholarships for all the NZ Universities. She is a Duke of Edinburgh gold medalist and in her spare time is a surf life saver. If that isn’t enough she is also a community award winner and a Kiwi Bank local hero.
Aimee MacKenzie
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Over the last 2 years Aimee has graduated from being gold medalist in the 3000m, Auckland Counties school races, to her most recent race where she became the 2020 Auckland 5000m Champion. In years between she has won medals in the NZ U20 Road Relay Champs, won the 2019 ACA Senior Women’s 1500m Cup and was the 2018 U20 Auckland Mile Champion. She was also bronze medalist in the 2018 North Island U20 Cross Country Champs. On top of all this athletics success Aimee balances study for her Sport and Recreation degree. In the future, top sportsmen and women will benefit from Aimee’s academic excellence as well as her personal insight and experience from being an elite athlete.

Lucy Shennan
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Lucy was out of training for most of 2019 due to a bad ankle sprain. However she is accustomed to hard work and the sprain just meant lots of gym and rehab. This winter and summer Lucy will be back and up the front. Lucy has a particular liking for gold and silver as she has won numerous team medals at the NZ Cross Country and the NZ Road Racing Champs. Watch this space as during 2020 she will be back leading the pack.
Ivor Martin
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Ivor may only be 11 years old, but he is already accumulating a number of fast times and medals against boys much older. In the local 5km park runs he has a PB of 18m52s, has run 1 mile in 5m37s, 1500m in 4m58 and 800m in 2m30s. He is also the Kings School U12 champion for 800m and 1500m, the Auckland Marathon 2km, U12 winner, was a top 10 finisher in the NZ Cross Country U12 Championships and top 5 finisher in the North Island U12 Cross Country Championships. Ivor started 2020 with wins in the Colgate Games 800m and 1500m and then dominated the same events in the Trans-Tasman races. After a season interrupted by Covid Ivor is back with a commanding win in the 2020 Auckland Champs U12 Cross Country event. He then cemented his champion status by winning the Auckland Road Race event.
Louay Benaoum
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At only 10 years old, Louay already has a 19m6s park run time giving him an 83% age grading. This means he an elite National Class level athlete. We are certain that Louay will run that distance under 19 minutes this year. That should give him an age grading of 90% and would rank him among the best age group runners in the world. During 2019, Louay consistently finished in the top 3 in the Auckland Cross Country series and then in 2020, despite running against boys up to 2 years older, Louay still managed to get 4th in the Auckland Champs U12 Cross Country event. He then moved up the rankings by finishing 2nd in the Auckland Road Race event. Louay is another boy to watch this year.
Laura Richardson
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Meet our Captain Fantastic, Laura Richardson. Whether it be rain or shine Laura will be at the track spreading positive energy, enthusiasm and encouraging and inspiring all the other runners to do their best efforts. Laura also leads by example and is the Sancta Maria College 800m champion and record holder. At high school Laura was a top excellence student who is now off to study at university during 2020. She recently finished a creditable 5th in the 2020 Auckland Champs Cross Country event.