Athletics: Bridge open for big race

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Tom Reynolds is back again this year to defend his title. Photo / File
Tom Reynolds is back again this year to defend his title. Photo / File

The new Kotuitui Whiti pedestrian bridge across the Waiarohia Stream will open just in time for the Whangarei Half Marathon and 9km Run/Walk.

The runners and walkers taking part in the September 21 event will leave the Town Basin, cross the two bridges and head to Onerahi taking in the Waimahanga Track and Beach Rd.

Last year was the first year that the Te Matau a Pohe bridge was utilised so this year two bridges will make a great start for the popular half marathon course.

Last year's winner, local doctor Tom Reynolds, has entered and is keen to retain the half marathon title.

Kerikeri runner Maria Akesson, who is making a challenge to take the lead from Carolyn Younger on the Potter Electrical Run/Walk Series leaderboard, will also be out to retain her title.

With only the Kerikeri Half Marathon left in the 2014 series, Akesson will need to win the Half Marathon to have any hope of catching Younger. Ian Calder looks as if he will be hard to beat for the men's leaderboard title.

The 9km run/walk course takes participants from the Town Basin through the popular Hatea River Track at the base of Parihaka before continuing along Whareora and Paranui Valley Rds, returning through Mair Park to the start/finish line at the Canopy Bridge.

Numbers are tracking well and are expected to exceed the 860 that competed last year. Sport Northland's events team leader Azelia Parkinson said: "It is encouraging to see this event continue to gain in popularity and very pleasing to see increased numbers tackling the half marathon section."

Entries can be made online until September 17 at www.runwalkseries.co.nz or contact Sport Northland. No entries are accepted on the day. Early bird entries close on September 7 with all entries closing on September 17.

Realistic goal best policy in long run

Doctor and keen athlete Tom Reynolds will be running the Whangarei Half Marathon on September 21, hoping to repeat his 2013 first placing.

In the next three weeks, Tom will share some of his health and athletic expertise, in the lead-up to the race, which is part of Sport Northland's annual Run/Walk Series.

1. Pacing and race approach

Taking on a half marathon is a goal for many.

Those who make it to the start line of the Whangarei half will have a wide range of goals for the day. Completing the 21km will be the challenge for some, while others will be shooting for a top time.

Regardless of experience or pace, it is important to take stock before race day and think about what you want to achieve.

Going into race day having a clear feeling of how to approach the race is key.

Reflect on your preparation and come up with a realistic goal. Break that time down, so you can have a rough expectation of when you should hit certain parts of the course.

Divide your goal time by 21 to get the minutes per kilometre you will have to run. Compare this to some of your usual runs, does it seem right? Then check out the course map and figure out roughly when you will hit key landmarks.

If you think two hours is achievable, then a plan might look like this:

• Waimahanga track, 6km, 35 minutes
• Onerahi yacht club, 11km, 62 min
• Onerahi shops, 14km, 80 min
• Riverside roundabout, 18km, 102 min

When the start gun goes, settle into a rhythm that fits your goal.

The milestones along the course can help break up the race and make it more manageable. Make sure you stick to the timeline. It is a much better feeling being able to up the pace in the last few kilometres, rather than struggling home from halfway with burned-out legs.

Next week I'll outline how to best fuel the body come race day - including fuel and fluids, and course familiarisation.

- Northern Advocate

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