|Seamus Kane and Dan Jones. No sign of Nick Sunseri.|
|The men in blue. Nathan Tse, Thomas Strawbridge and Isaac Murphy|
I think I might have got a bit of sunburn today. The Wellington wind is rarely the friend of runners, fast or slow.
The stiff northerly coming straight up Evans Bay this morning would have made Cobham Drive and other sections of the half marathon and 10km course challenging, especially around Point Halswell and on the last section past the airport roundabout. It certainly showed on the faces.
The first batch of runners through to the 7km mark on the half arrived a few minutes later than I anticipated.
But as expected it was comprised of the usual suspects plus Nick Sunseri.
The roll call included Sunseri with Seamus Kane on his shoulder. Then came Dan Jones, last years’ winner of the half followed by Nick Horspool and Mark Moore pretty much together. Robert Prendergast came next all of his lonesome with Mathew Moloney after him with the front ranks of the peloton just coming into sight. It was several km’s long folks.
The rest is a blur as the hordes descended although it was easy to spot Mel Stevens coming through as the first female.
A shoe came through cunningly disguised as a person but there was nobody dressed as pumpkin which was a huge disappointment.
The course marshall I chatted to before it became too hectic to continue was very enthusiastic and loudly proclaimed to participants they had made it to the 7km checkpoint which represented 1/3rd of the half course.
This kind of cheerleading makes a difference to the folks joining in on these big community running events and you can tell it is appreciated by the returned smiles and quips. A couch, a TV and a beer might have been more welcome though.
Oh is that Julian Oakley out for a short run to see what all the fuss is about?
|Marcus Karamanolis (now back in Wellington) and Julian Oakley. They both went to the same US University|
Now, this is where it gets tricky. With the lead runners and a good chunk of the fitter runners now enjoying themselves on the Shelly Bay road on the outward journey to the turnaround but with a massive number of people still hitting Cobham Drive it can be easy to miss the 10km runners who should be along any minute now.
And here they come, the faster-moving ones, making sure they have enough clear air to avoid the slower-moving human traffic. Nathan Tse leads Thomas Strawbridge, a previous winner of this event.
Nicole Mitchell leads the women’s race with the diminutive Poppy Rae not far back.
Cobham Drive is now getting very crowded with competitors from the half and the 10km now mixed up in a mass of humanity.
Behind me, Todd Stevens comes speeding past on his bike telling me the half leader is 100m away, a bit earlier than I expected but what the hell.
The light is all wrong here, too much backlight but there is nothing I can do about it.
Seamus comes into view and he is alone.
He is moving strongly and probably knows that he has this race in the bag. As it turns out he did 68 minutes which is more than respectable on this course and with the prevailing breezy conditions. In the men’s race, there were in fact 5 finishers who scored times below 71 minutes, all Scottish.
Nathan is now steaming past on the return journey and will not be caught.
Thomas has been dropped but is still moving nicely. Poppy Rae has overtaken Nicole and should take the women’s race.
In the women’s half, it looks like Mel Stevens has held her winning position, so it looks like we should see some good racing from her as the year progresses.
People are everywhere some still heading out past the 7km mark, but still getting an animated response from the local course marshall.
For many, it will be a long day.
Back at the park, I learn that Isaac Murphy won the 6.5km race with Hiro Tanimoto 2nd and Malcolm Hodge 3rd. In the women’s 6.5km race it was Madison Wos, Ayesha Shafi and Katie Jordan.
The official results are out but these may contain errors so it could pay to check them again in a few days.