Six years on Pulford seeks second NZ half marathon crown

By Athletics New Zealand

Last years New Zealand 10,000m and marathon champion Aaron Pulford will be chasing another half marathon title in Christchurch this Sunday.

He was 18 when he won the 2010 senior half marathon title in Huntly in 1:09:21. Two months later Pulford set a New Zealand under 20 and under 19 10,000m record of 29:14.23 in finishing fifth at the world junior championships in Moncton Canada.

Pulford who has a best of 1:05:52 on the Gold Coast in 2014 comes into the race keen to make amends on his fourth placing last year in Christchurch.

Competition for the title will certainly come from Oska Inkster-Baynes, who improved from fifth in 2011 to win the 2012 title in Palmerston North, Daniel Balchin second in 2014 and third last year in 1:05:53, Michael Voss who won in Rotorua in April in 1:06:07 and Dunedin half winner last September Tony Payne.

Michael Banks, Greg Darbyshire, David Lovelock and Dave Parsons are expected to also be footing it with the pace from the start as well as a crop of top juniors Jack Beaumont winner in Gore, Ieuan van der Peet 1:11:53 in Christchurch last year, Oliver Chignell and Cameron Avery.

Lydia ODonnell should retain the womens title won on the Christchurch course last year in her personal best time of 1:14:40. ODonnell followed a personal best 10,000m to win the national title at the end of January with a 2:39:41 clocking in the Nagoya Marathon in March.

Alice Mason and Olivia Burne will be chasing hard to try and unseat ODonnell. Mason, winner of the full marathon in Christchurch last year followed up a second at the Huntly half marathon in March with a win in the Rotorua event in April. Her best time of 1:16:18 was in Rotorua in 2015 when she finished second. Burne comes into the race with a solid mileage base following on from her 1:17:49 outing in Auckland in November. Tina Harris, Esther Keown, Hannah Miller, Rachael Kingstone and Olivia Ritchie all have recent form in the half marathon to challenge for a podium spot.

The leading masters entered are Paula Canning, Tracy Croft and Maggie Chorley in the women and Michael Wray who ran 1:16:19 in Christchurch last year, Mark Bailey, David Fitch, Jason Cameron and Tony Broadhead.

The half marathon along with the marathon and 10km starts at 8.00am in Colombo Street Cathedral Square.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Athletics New Zealand

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