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Myah's golden smile

SHE’S known for smiling when she runs.

And last weekend Gisborne girl Myah Houthuijzen was beaming from ear to ear after winning gold at the North Island cross-country championships.

Adding to the history of success for Gisborne Harrier Club, Myah won the girls 12 (11-12yrs) 2-kilometre race at Spa Thermal Park in Taupo.

Younger brother Ty made it an even more memorable occasion for the family and club with bronze in the boys’ 10 1km race.

Myah went into the champs aiming for a top 10 placing but that soon changed to medals. She was eighth off the start line and went about reeling in those ahead of her, and hit the front at about the halfway stage.

She crossed the finish line in 7 minutes 44 seconds, about 20 metres ahead of the runner-up.

“I was so surprised,” said Myah. “I was just like ‘what! Oh my god, I’ve won’.”

Her mother Yoko could not contain herself.

“She screamed and came running up to me.”

Like his sister, Central School Year 6 student Ty was surprised to be in the medals in the boys’ 10 race.

Plenty of prideHe completed the 1km in 3min 46secs and finished behind a pair of Pakuranga boys.

There was plenty of pride and a bit of hilarity when the siblings were presented their medals.

The announcer, like many others have, had no idea how to pronounce their surname and mucked it up completely — twice.

For the record, it’s “Howt-howzen”. The name is Dutch, on father Brent’s side, and the kids are also of Japanese (Yoko) and New Zealand descent.

Ilminster Intermediate Year 8 student Myah describes running as “my passion”.

“It sets me free.”

She loves racing but adheres to her father’s advice to “run for fun”, which is probably why she is nearly always smiling.

Myah is also a keen triathlete and it appears her competitive future is in that sport.

She is a member of the Eastland Triathlon and Multisport Club through which she has received coaching from the likes of triathlon coach John Scott, track and cross-country running great Ron Robertson, Olympic Games cyclist Michelle Rennie and respected swimming coach Glenn Sutton.

She won the Y7/8 girls’ division of the Eastland Secondary School Triathlon earlier this year.

With her medal proudly displayed at home, Myah is looking to her next major races.

These include the hugely popular AIMS Games in Bay of Plenty in September at which she will compete in the cross-country and multisport races.

Myah was third in the Y7 girls’ division of the multisport race last year.

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP: Gisborne’s Myah Houthuijzen scales a fence during the girls’ 12.2km race at the North Island cross-country championships at Taupo.Action picture by Tanysha-Rochelle Jones, medals picture by Liam Clayton
Myah won gold and younger brother Ty bronze in the boys’ 10 division.