Marathon test of fitness draws 17,000

By Ben Irwin

Sophie Wharam (centre) is held up by boyfriend Jordan Ropati and an unknown woman. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Sophie Wharam (centre) is held up by boyfriend Jordan Ropati and an unknown woman. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Sophie Wharam will probably do "a bit more training" before she runs another half-marathon.

The 23-year-old lawyer was one of a record 17,000 competitors taking part in the Auckland Marathon yesterday - but a combination of warm weather and an overly enthusiastic start left her needing help over the finish line.

Miss Wharam, who was running with her boyfriend Jordan Ropati, was recovering at home last night and told the Herald the couple "probably started off a bit too fast".

Competitors run over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Competitors run over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"I ended up being really, really sick before the end," she said.

After being helped across the line by Mr Ropati and another runner, Miss Wharam spent about 45 minutes in a medical tent recovering. "I hadn't done too much training," she said. "[I was] not feeling very well, really."

The runners - who competed across the full marathon, half-marathon, quarter-marathon and 5km distances - formed a steady procession across the harbour bridge after setting out from Devonport.

By the end, bodies were strewn about Victoria Park in various states of health, sports drinks were being cradled in attempts at revival, while a sausage sizzle was fired up for anyone who could contemplate food.

There was a reward of bananas at the finish.  Photo / Brett Phibbs
There was a reward of bananas at the finish. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Athletics New Zealand CEO Scott Newman said the field was the biggest in the race's long history.

"It just keep growing every year."

Mr Newman said the race attracted runners of all levels as it was the only "big city" marathon in the country.

He said some competitors ran as a personal challenge, while others wanted to raise money for charity. Over $1 million was raised by runners this year.

Mr Newman said "perfect conditions" made for a "fantastic day".

Timaru's Samuel Wreford won the full marathon in a time of two hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds.

- NZ Herald

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