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Big, hardy field on the cards

Reigning Wairarapa Country marathon champion Matthew Goodger will be back to defend his title. PHOTO/FILE

ATHLETICS

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

The cancellation of several marathons because of the covid-19 pandemic has boosted numbers for Sunday’s Wairarapa Country marathon and half-marathon.

The events double as the Wellington marathon and half-marathon championships, and strong fields are expected for both races.

Fun run-walks over 10km and 5km are also likely to attract big fields with Athletics and Cycling Masterton receiving generous sponsorship to encourage more family participation.

ACM spokeswoman Carol Macdonald said that 40 marathoners had entered so far when in past years the event attracted less than 30 competitors.

“We’re going to have a really good field of marathoners, because so many marathons have been cancelled and we are still letting Aucklanders come, which Rotorua didn’t do,” she said.

From entries received so far, the men’s marathon field could be the fastest and most competitive for several years, with three runners predicting times under three hours.

Mark Paterson [Takapuna Harriers] has predicted the fastest time for the 42.2km of two hours, 38 minutes. Paterson has a good pedigree, having won several half-marathons and claiming the bronze medal at the 2019 national half-marathon championships in Dunedin.

Regular competitor Matthew Moloney [Scottish Harriers] will step up to the marathon and has predicted a time of 2hr 40:00. Moloney won the 2018 Wairarapa half-marathon and was runner-up last year.

Clubmate Geoff Ferry has estimated a time of 2hr 45:00.

Mt Manganui runner Deb Gee, who has set a goal of running 12 marathons in 12 months to raise $150,000 for the Graeme Dingle Foundation for youth programmes in Bay of Plenty, has predicted the fastest women’s time of four hours.

ACM’s Annie Jerling has the second-fastest estimated time of 4hr 10:00.

Brian Garmonsway [Trentham United] has predicted the fastest time of 1hr 13:00 for the half-marathon, with Mel Aitken [Wellington Scottish] sending in the quickest estimated women’s time of 1hr 23:00.

Macdonald expected more entries across all four races, with many runners leaving it to the last minute to enter.

“We have 135 entries so far, and at the close of registration last year we only had 167.”

She expected a rush of entries in the last week right until race day.

In a significant change, all races will start and finish at the ACM clubrooms at the Colin Pugh Sports Bowl, and the 5km and 10km will be entirely off-road.

Because of generous sponsorships from Back in Action and Compass Health, the organisers could run a 5km race for an entry fee of $5 as well as reduce the entry fee for the 10km race.

ACM have also cancelled the prizegiving, and merit prizes will be given in person or posted to the winners.

  • Entries for all races can be made online at www.acm.kiwi.nz

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