Special arrangements were needed this year so that runners warming up for Auckland Marathon could watch New Zealand’s All Blacks in the rugby World Cup final.
A big screen allowed them to watch the game live right up to the race start and helpful supporters on the course reported the All Blacks’ victory as they ran past.
Hundreds of participants crossed the finish line in All Blacks supporters gear.
The ASB Auckland Marathon is iconic on the New Zealand running calendar and fast gaining an international reputation. The full and half marathons and 12K Traverse all included a crossing of Auckland Harbour Bridge along with a scenic waterfront course. The 5K Challenge and Kids Marathon stayed on the Finish side of Waitemata Harbour.
Aaron Pulford – a three-time 10,000m New Zealand champion – won the marathon in 2:27:01, followed closely by Jonathan Jackson in 2:27:32 and Dougal Thorburn in 2:27:54. It was Pulford’s first marathon and proved the wisdom of his decision at the beginning of this year to concentrate on athletics.
Katie Kemp was the first woman home, finishing in 2:42:35. Behind her were Kelly Parlane, in 2:52:33 and Elizabeth Pittaway in 2:54:45.
When you have a setting as beautiful as this, entries are bound to increase. In this case they almost doubled for the 2nd Great Hakka Marathon.
Situated 2-3 hours by car from Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province, this is an area to experience perfect air quality, centuries old folk traditions and unspoiled landscape, making it an ideal location for a marathon.
For runners wanting to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for the quiet life of the countryside with its rice paddies, tea plantations and water buffalos, the Great Hakka Marathon made a unique weekend getaway.
The unique Hakka roundhouses are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a feature of the marathon course, which follows ancient mountain paths, passes through romantic village lanes and along winding roads.
Part of the marathon course was on cobbled and unpaved surfaces and country laneways while the final 9km traversed the mountains, before descending to the finish line in Hekeng Village.
Also on offer were a half marathon and 8.5km fun run. This is one beautiful adventure run for the bucket-list.