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Walker wins Auckland Marathon

Rowan Walker wins Auckland Marathon

Rowan Walker wins Auckland Marathon

Adidas Auckland Marathon incorporating New Zealand Championship – 28 October 2012

Australian Rowan Walker had the Auckland Marathon to himself leading a lonely trail from the North Shore across the harbour bridge and up and down Tamaki Drive finishing at Victoria Park in 2h 24m 6s, five minutes ahead of Scott Winton.

The 42 year old settled into a consistent rhythm cutting out each of the 5km along the journey in 17 minutes steadily increasing his lead over Winton.

“There were a few rolling hills early on and I got a bit of a gap and then I just rolled with it and settled into a rhythm. I was lucky enough to see at that far turn around that Scott was a fair way behind and I didn’t have to push it too hard to stay in front,” he added.

The New Zealand championship for registered runners was based on the race. Unfortunately Winton has not registered with a club this year, so was ineligible for the national title. In only his second marathon 23 year old Tony Payne of Auckland in third place in 2h 31m 7s captured his first national medal and the title. He was fourth in the Christchurch marathon in June on his debut in 2h 28m 59s. Payne had a great battle for the third place with Nelson’s Graeme Taylor, 20 years his senior.

“I started to struggle in the second half and Graeme caught me, but I managed to pull away in the last 3km – it was tough work,” said Payne.

“I only decided to do this one on Saturday and just gave it a crack and I’m pretty happy with the result, my first senior title, I’m rapt.”

Taylor was full of praise for Payne’s effort.

“He had a good run. He’s a great marathon runner for the future,” he said.

Alex Williams surprised herself by not only winning but setting a race record of 2h 41m 28s as well as collecting the New Zealand women’s title.

The 31 year old clipped 28 seconds off Lisa Robertson’s record set last year and carved nearly four minutes off her previous best.

“I was stoked it wasn’t raining as had been forecast earlier. I was third until the bridge crossing and then I caught the Australian Anita Keem who was Australian champion at Gold Coast this year. I stuck with her for a while and I could see in my sights the lead motor bike so I knew that Sally Gibbs was within my grasp,” said Williams.

“I thought I’ll give her a crack and reeled her in and we ran together for a bit before I broke away around 28km,” she added.

Gibbs found the second half tough going, in finishing second in 2h 46m 14s, 33 seconds ahead of Keem.

“It was harder than I had expected, it wasn’t a very sparkling marathon but overall I’m pretty happy. Three weeks ago I was on the verge of not doing it, I had a few niggles and I missed some of the quality training,” said Gibbs.

“Alex ran a really good race, so I take my hat off to her,” added Gibbs.

Shireen Crumpton of Otago, winner in 2010, was fourth in 2h 52m 18s and third in the New Zealand championship.

“I just maintaining my fitness at the moment and it was great to be out there, lots of support all the way around, I just love this event and I’m happy to be back,” she said.

Edwin Kaitany of Kenya was late to the start of the half marathon and spent the first half of the race threading his way through the field. He finally gathered in the lead runners at 11km and went on to win in 1h 9m 39s, just 11 seconds ahead of Steven O’Callaghan. Jono Jackson was third in 1h 10m 43s. Lisa Robertson won the women’s half in 1h 17m 28s, from Danielle Ingram-Travis 1h 18m 32s and Maria Bentley 1h 20m 49s.

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