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Covid impacts marathon entries

Krishan Day [547], Geoff Fery [512], and women’s winner Ruby Muir [546] out on the course in the 2020 marathon. PHOTO/FILE


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The Athletics and Cycling Masterton [ACM] Wairarapa country marathon and half marathon will run on Sunday with limited numbers.

The two races, which double as the Wellington championships, were initially scheduled for Sunday, October 10, but were postponed allowing the Wellington Marathon and Half Marathon to take that date. However, the Wellington events, which attract several thousand runners, were cancelled for the second straight year because of the covid-19 restrictions.

A 10km run will also take place on Sunday, although the 5km fun run has been canned to avoid any potential crossover and assist ACM to meet alert level 2 requirements

Up to 500 runners and walkers would normally face the starter’s gun, but are limited to 100 for each of the three races this year.

Forty-three runners have entered the marathon, 60 for the half marathon, and 38 for the 10km.

Already some fast times have been predicted for the marathon, with Nathan Tse from Wellington Harriers lodging a time of two hours and 29 minutes, with Gerry Ferry [Wellington Scottish] and Matthew Hallam [Valley Striders-Britain] both expecting to complete the 42.195km in 2:45.

Yet to enter is 2020 winner Matthew Moloney [Wellington Scottish] who won in the fastest time for many years in 2:34.45.

2020 Wairarapa Country Marathon winner Mike Moloney crosses the finish line.

Last year’s women’s runner up Ingrid Cree [Olympic] has logged the fastest female time of 2:50, with Mel Stevens [Wellington Scottish] predicting 2:55.

Graeme Tindall and Rebecca Edgecombe are the only local entries in the marathon at the time of writing.

Brian Garmonsway [Trentham] has predicted the fastest time of 1:13 for the men’s half marathon, while Jade Valler from Wellington is the quickest of the women’s times at 1:30.

Darius Simpson at 1:23, and Helen Gard’ner at 1:40 have the quickest predicted times by the leading ACM men and women.

ACM organiser Carol MacDonald expects a late rush of entries which could have some competitive entries from the strong Wellington clubs.

She said entries close tonight, with none accepted on race day.

All races will start and finish at the Colin Pugh Sports Bowl. The marathon will take in two laps of the Lees-Pakaraka course, and the half marathon runners and walkers will complete one lap. The 10km run and walk are based around Henley Lake.

MacDonald asked that competitors use the contact racing QR code, maintain physical distancing, and have one family member or person in their bubble to collect race numbers. There will be no prizegiving after the races.

In other ACM news, Flynn Register set a new course record for the John Chesmar Memorial Lansdowne Hill run last Wednesday.

Register completed the uphill mile from the corner of Third St and Totara St up Manuka St, past the Lansdowne golf course to the finish by the top of Nikau Heights in 6min 01sec, knocking three seconds off the previous best set by Michael Macklin in 2017.

Simpson fought hard to repeat last year’s victory but had to settle for second, seven seconds behind Register. Brooke Miller regained the women’s title in 7.17, with Julie Millar second.

Simpson bounced back and took line honours on Sunday in the fourth race of the GR series at Taueru.

His time of 36.31 reflects the difficulty of the 9km course. Whana Gordon was second and Register third.

Gard’ner continued her good form to be first women home in 42.33 ahead of Megan Blair and Vicky Paine.

Mel Roberts won the 7km race, Mackenzie Murray was the best over 4km, and Jack Gard’ner won the 2km event.

The next event in the GR series is on November 14 starting at the corner of Titoki and Totara sts from 9am.

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