Smith, Ngawati win Auckland marathon (+video, photos)

By Edward Gay

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Christchurch runner Matt Smith has won the Auckland marathon, crossing the finish line with a time of 2h 20m 41s.

The first woman home was Ady Ngawati of Whangarei at 2h 49m 05s.

Smith was followed across the finish line by Tauranga's Ben Ruthe (2h 23m 11s) and Auckland's Joe Piggin (2h 27m 43s).

More than 11,000 people this morning took part in four events over varying distances, including the 42 kilometre marathon, or the slightly less gruelling half or quarter marathon, or five kilometre family walk.

Smith said the support from runners helped him over the line.

"I had a good battle with Ben and soon after the turn around with 10kms to go, I was aware that I was pulling away, so I kind of ran really hard then for 3kms and got a good lead," said Smith.

He said he was not worried about the time but just trying to win.

"I felt pretty strong. Ben followed me all the way but there's a long way to go in a Marathon, there's plenty of time to get away from someone," Smith said.

He said the course was tough with poor weather and hills.

Smith, from England, now living in Christchurch, was fifth in last year's Dublin marathon in 2h 14m 41s.

Ruthe, a former New Zealand 1500m and 5000m track champion, debuted over the marathon distance in July in the Gold Coast event in Queensland where he finished a notable second in 2h 20m 45s.

At the recent New Zealand road relay championships, Ruthe ran 14 seconds quicker than Smith on the 10.8km leg.

Women's winner Ady Ngawati won a personal best and came from behind to win.

"It was a really good run, just chasing her down," Ngawati said.

The triathlete ran a 2h 55m race about four weeks ago and was pleased with her time today.

She said a marathon was easy compared to a triathlon.

New Zealand marathon great Alison Roe said Ngawati had great conditions to run in with the cloud cover and cool rain.

"It's a good solid sort of time for a New Zealand event," Roe said.

She said it was great to see so many people out in support and the level of participation was also healthy.

Olympic marathon runner Lorraine Moller said it was not fair to concentrate on the time as it was more about beating the opposition.

"A win is a win and she pulled off a win," Moller said.

St John Ambulance special events manager Charlotte Guscott said the first aid medics on the sideline saw between 50 and 60 patients - about half of what they saw last year.

"One of the factors was the weather, it was a lot cooler," she said.

Three people were transported to hospital with an electrolyte imbalance.

"Basically it means they've overdone it," Ms Guscott said.

She said the man at the drinks station told her that a lot more water had been drunk this year.

Ms Guscott said after completing a marathon, people needed to take it easy.

"Rehydrate is the number one thing," she said.

Ms Moller also had some advice.

"Have a good meal and put your feet up. Treat yourself to something for such a good effort and then dance all night," she said.

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