RUNNING

Ascot Park Hotel Southland Marathon

Friday 22 July 2011, 2:55PM
By MJ Media
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INVERCARGILL

Friday July 22: There may be several changes to events running alongside this year’s Ascot Park Hotel Southland Marathon, but the marathon – New Zealand’s oldest, in its 102nd year – will remain untouched.

Entries for the marathon, half marathon, 10km and 5km events, scheduled for Sunday November 13, are now open online at the event’s new website – www.southlandmarathon.co.nz – and organisers are urging people to tackle the winter weather and get training.

Sport Southland event manager Matt Sillars said he encouraged people to sign up early for any of the events and organisers had fielded enquiries from as far away as the United Sates in the lead-up period.
“Once you’ve entered, there’s that extra motivation to get outside and get training. You have something to aim for and can target your training around that,” he said.

This year the half marathon, which has traditionally started at Wrights Bush, will instead start at Waianawa. The 5km run/walk will now start at Queens Park’s Feldwick Gates. Those who pre-enter the 5km event will have the option to have their run or walk timed.

Sillars said the changes were designed for logistical and safety reasons and he expected they would lead to an even better event.

“The changes to the half marathon route are designed to make it safer for competitors and to make it easier to get from the registration venue to the start of the race. With the 5km, we wanted to create more of a fun and enjoyable atmosphere and we feel starting at Queens Park’s Feldwick Gates will help to achieve this.”

The marathon route will remain as it has since 1909 – running from Riverton to Invercargill – and the 10km route will also stay the same as previous years, with runners and walkers heading from Lorneville to Surrey Park.

The Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored Southland Marathon and associated events are run by Athletics Southland, and administered and delivered by Sport Southland. It will also include the Marafun, designed for those aged between 5 and 13, with entries and a training guide available online.