Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Ex-pat UK athletes take out Queenstown Marathon titles

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It was somewhat ironic that in a year when international visitors could not make it across the borders, it was athletes with strong ties to the UK that took out the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon titles today.

Ex-pat Scottish runner David Haunschmidt (Tauranga) and Great Britain 50km rep Hannah Oldroyd (Christchurch) proved quickest on the day, with Tauranga based Haunschmidt winning the men’s race in 2:39:40 while Oldroyd repeated her 2018 victory in 2:55:12.

Haunschmidt knew he had good legs coming into the event but was surprised at the ease with which he closed it out in the final 10km to win by 34 seconds from Hamish Elliott with Zebedee Stone a further 9 seconds back in third in one of the closest men’s races on record.

"I could see the front two most of the way and the last 8 or 9 k I thought I had a bit more in me so just went for it. I am pretty surprised though, I came with no expectations and just to have fun, I didn’t think I would be standing here to be honest.

"My preparation consists of triathlon most of the time, with no specific marathon training, but I keep fit with cycling and swimming, it is all about the VO2 max! I usually do trail running events so to come here and do this is fantastic, it is a bit of a dream and I am not yet sure it is true!"

Oldroyd was delighted to add another title to her already impressive CV, the British athlete spends much of her year in New Zealand and won today on the back of a second place finish just three weeks ago at the ASB Auckland Marathon.

"That was my third run in six weeks and on the back of not a lot of training, so my legs are a little bit tired, but I survived somehow," said Oldroyd.

"I was about sixth through the 11k and then third at about 18k and took the lead around the halfway mark I think. I just love to run on what is a beautiful course, you get such great support from everyone including the half marathon runners over the closing stages and coming through town is always a great buzz."

A tradition of Oldroyd’s is to enjoy a can of Guinness quickly after finishing, especially when she wins, but something went awry, and she was left empty handed and looking for answers.

"No, there was no Guinness waiting for me!. The support crew have completely failed, I will have to go and find my own!"

Oldroyd was nearly five minutes clear of Margie Campbell (Dunedin) in second with a further 5:58 back to Emily Stephens (Tairua) in third.

In the 2 Degrees Half Marathon Jack Moody and Olivia Ritchie took out the honours, with both delighted to be out running ahead of their upcoming triathlon seasons.

"I have been down all week in Wanaka at a training camp and we were watching the weather forecast every day but it has turned out alright, it turned out beautiful really, not too hot and not too cold.

The 27-year-old Aucklander ran to his own race plan.

"I knew I was in good form and I took off hard at the start because I wanted to run m own race. I settled in but paid a price in the middle section, I always forget how ‘rolly’ and how punchy those little downhills are. It is the downhills rather than the up that take the sting out of the legs here.

"It is incredible to think we are on a start line here; we are so lucky in New Zealand. I have raced only a few times if that since March and look at all the people out here today, it is wicked to just be a part of something again, this is what I do for a living, I am stoked."

Olivia Ritchie was thrilled with her win after months dealing with an Achilles injury.

"I have not been able to run too much the past six months, just swimming and cycling so to turn up and run today is really cool, just to be here is great. I got to the front pretty quick and was supposed to take it easy in the first half, but I don’t think I did - the second half I was really only just holding on."

The weather treated the early finishers reasonably kindly, with the forecast rain largely staying away. But as the day progressed Lake Wakatipu became a sea of white caps and the wind buffeted and at times helped the runners over the final 5km around the gardens and lake front before they earned the solace of the final sheltered run through town to the finish line and the thousands of waiting family and friends on an otherwise bright and warm day at the Recreation Grounds.

The Hits Drive Show team of Stacey Morrison, Mike Puru and Anika Moa all took part, with Morrison taking on the 10km event and Puru and Moa the 2 Degrees Half Marathon, Moa running the distance for the first time.

Puru loved his day out, perhaps helped by actually training a little this year after taking part on the back of zero preparation in 2019.

"That was great, I shaved a little bit of time off from last year, but I am so glad to see the finish line. Anika was taking on her first official half-marathon; she was mentally prepared but nervous at the start so wasn’t talking - which is rare! Queenstown I love this marathon, the random support, cheering everyone, I love this event so much!"

Former All Black front rower Wyatt Crockett took part in the full Marathon, crossing the line in a tick under four and a half hours alongside television broadcaster Scotty Stevenson.

"That was fantastic, I am just delighted to have this man alongside to help me across the finish line. I will definitely be back, better and stronger next time," said Crockett.

Stevenson was beaming upon crossing the finish line alongside Crockett and reserved high praise for the many thousands of supporters that lined the course from Millbrook to the finish line.

"This is just such a pleasure to be a part of this event, thanks everyone for coming out and giving us all the support on the course, it means so much to everybody out there running, Queenstown you are amazing."

That pretty much summed up the mood around the event, with the locals delighted to be hosting an event of this significance, one that will provide a welcome boost to the regional economy with an estimated 10 million dollars pumped into the area, while the vast majority of the 11,000 plus participants spoke in glowing terms of a course widely described as the world’s most scenic, with the majority run on the beautiful off-road Queenstown Trail network.

All articles and comments on Voxy.co.nz have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.