Athlete has seen a lot of riverside

By Jared Smith


Palmerston North's Soren Hall has become very acquainted with all sides of the Whanganui River.

The 39-year-old, who was first home in the New Zealand Masters Games duathlon the previous Saturday when running around Kowhai Park, completed his domination of the walkway by winning the 5.28km half-marathon yesterday morning.

Finishing near the Union Boat Club after powering through his laps across the Dublin and City bridges, the iron man competitor was happy with his time of 1 hour, 25.38 minutes, around seven seconds shy of his personal best.

"That's a bit fast," Hall said. "Almost one bridge too far. The triathlon last night [Saturday] hurt a bit."

Hall came second in his age group and third overall in the triathlon on Saturday, which began with a swim downstream to the Wanganui Multisport Club meaning in the last week he has had a better view than most of all aspects of the river. "I was going to jump in it [after the half marathon] to be fair it's pretty warm."

With 3-month and 18-month-old children at home, Hall had also been doing the drive to and from Palmerston North rather than staying in Wanganui, making his feats over the past 10 days even more impressive.

Competing at his first Masters just before turning 40 next week, he has collected four golds and a silver. "I'm trying to be the Michael Phelps of the Masters world.

"Although, I'm shagged, I couldn't fit any more [events] in."

His next iron man competition will be in just under three weeks.

If a tired Hall was looking for inspiration from a fellow inspirational competitor as he approaches his 40s, you can't do much better than town mate Peter Zwart, winner of the walking section of the half-marathon.

The 63-year-old stepped across the line in two hours, 8.18 minutes. "That's it, all done," said a satisfied Zwart, as during the Games he had already won the 10km, 5km and 3000m events for his age group. "I'm very pleased with it."

Zwart still holds the goal of one day completing a half-marathon in under two hours, with his personal best being 2:02.

Incredibly, he decided he was going to do a couple more laps just for himself in the afternoon, as he is now shifting his sights to preparing for the upcoming "Mountain to Surf" Marathon in Taranaki next month.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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