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Rotorua Marathon Race Report

Rotovegas turned on the charm big time with a beautiful fine sunny day for the 53rd running of the Rotorua Marathon. After surviving the photo shoot at the start Eileen and her intrepid helpers got under way with the goal of securing the ultimate prize of a Survivors 15th year T Shirt for her firmly fixed in our minds. We need not to have worried about her commitment as the pace was hot from Km 1 and there was no time to dily daly around, it was business time and she started as she intended to finish.

Early jogging partners Kath, Ian Dale, and Lex disappeared up the road fairly early on confident of not being caught by the bunch. The remaining crew myself, Mel, Mark, Garry and Jayne set about ticking off the km’s with a Mel salute at every... arms raised and a loud yahoo was the customary signal that another KM milestone was behind us, and so it went until we were joined by Lee at Hamurana, where even he was guilty of a few catch up jogs to maintain the machine like pace of our intrepid leader.

Up front Kevin Willers was finishing with a PB of 3hrs 11mins and we were just starting the hills at around the 16km mark. Photo shoot at the bottom of half way hill then a refuel stop at the bottom of the Moerewa hill where our very patient supporters Debbie, Christine, Mary and Deborah were joined by Janet, Dale, Annette and Chris.

The km’s kept on ticking away past the new detour around the 30 km mark and then on to the airport, but Mels customary signal did not waiver although at times I got down to a very quiet murmur. The final run into the finish I was very pleased to have the company of Jean and David Whyte, David running a very creditable 4hrs 22 and 9th in his age group which he was as pleased as punch about. I finished with a jog up the finish shoot with Mel and Garry albeit for a token amount but there were still officials there talking to me at the finish and I was very pleased to receive the rather weighty bell-like medal to finally put the day into relax mode.

Huge congratulations must go to Eileen for her sheer determination under difficult circumstances, and I don’t think there would have been a prouder person on earth had Brian still be with us to see Eileen and Kath both up on stage at the prize giving, Eileen being presented with her 15 year Survivors shirt and 3rd in her age group for the run, and Kath taking out 1st place in her age group as well. Thanks heaps to everyone that supported very much appreciated and don’t forget next year same place same time.

Peg Leg Fieldes retained his age group title despite finishing in a questionable state. 1hr 4mins is still an admirable time so well done Garry.

Great to see a couple of new awards implemented at this years Rotorua Marathon. The fist one being the Bernie Potenski award for the fastest women in the over 60 category, won by Michelle Allison Bernie’s sister who was so tearful I don’t know how she managed to stand up to get it. The second one was the Colin Smyth award. Colin was the man who had completed every Rotorua Marathon there was, but sadly passed away after last years race. His award was for the oldest member of the survivors club and that went to a very spritely 87 year old who ran up onto the stage to be presented with his trophy.

It does have an effect on you when you think about your own mortality and how everything aches from time to time, but seeing some people who are able to buck the trend and just call age a number, and that includes our own Kath and Eileen, is truly inspirational and it is motivating. So thank you, it's not time to hang up those shoes just yet.


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