2300 entrants took to the streets of Taupo Sunday to celebrate a special birthday for the city, the 20th annual Mizuno Half Marathon.
Event Director, Wayne Reardon said it was a fabulous day of celebration for the city.
“20 years is a really special milestone to reach, today has been a fabulous celebration, and it was a real bonus that the weather came to the party as well.”
Adding to the occasion was the new DOC track opened on the 21.1km course, removing the farmland section and replacing it with a faster and firmer track nearer the lakes edge.
Blair McWhirter was the first man across the line to receive his 20th anniversary finisher’s medal, completing the course in a time of 1hr 12min 20sec. A podium finisher at Rotorua and Christchurch Marathons, McWhirter said the course was beautiful
“The conditions were perfect today and it’s so amazing to be running next to the lake for so much of the race, just stunning.” said the 30 year old from Christchurch.
In second was Bobby Dean in 1hr 17min 30sec, while Campbell Hill was in third and less than a minute behind in 1hr 18mins 03sec.
Candice Hammond (Cambridge) led the female field home, taking out the title over Erin Hammond, 1hr 23min 04 sec, with Leah Stanley rounding out the podium in 1hr 27min 14sec.
The 28 year old winner was third at New Zealand Ironman this year and enjoyed racing in Taupo without hurting the whole way.
“Taupo is a really special place to race, I love it here, it was great to be running on some of the same run course as Ironman but without the extra pain required!”
16 people completed the course for the 20th year in a row, an impressive feat, especially considering some have moved countries and still continued the tradition.
Continuing a common trend for these types of events around the country, 65% of the field were female. The youngest being 11 and the oldest being 84 years old. An inspiring 50% of the field were completing their first ever Half Marathon, many raising money for a chosen charity or achieving a lifetime bucket list goal.
Planning is already well underway for next month’s sister event, the Mizuno Kinloch Offroad Challenge on Saturday 7th September. On offer is a Quarter Marathon (10km), Half Marathon (21.1km) and Full Marathon (42.2km).
Like previous years, profits from both these events will be directed back to the community. Last year the Taupo Half Marathon Society raised over $20,000 that went towards assisting young and talented athletes with chasing their sporting aspirations. Over $200,000 has been raised and distributed since 1994.
Those wanting to apply to the Mizuno Taupo Marathon Sports Fund or for a Mizuno Half Marathon Elite Scholarship should visit taupohalfmarathon.org.nz
Mizuno Half Marathon Run – Male
Blair McWhirter 1:12:20
Bobby Dean 1:17:30
Campbell Hill 1:18:03
Bart Bronsema 1:18:26
Chris Myland 1:18:50
Mizuno Half Marathon Run – Female
Candice Hammond 1:21:41
Erin Furness 1:23:04
Leah Stanley 1:27:14
Siobhan Griffiths 1:32:15
Anna Williams 1:32:52