Aaron Pulford's personal running goals haven't been reached this year but with a four-month training trip to Kenya this month he has no doubt he'll return fitter than ever.

The Tauranga 27-year-old took out first place in the men's 11km run as part of yesterday's City to Surf Half Marathon event with a time of 36 minutes and 54 seconds.

The event offered half marathon and 11km run and walk events, and a 5km option, starting outside the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club. It was Pulford's first City to Surf event and a run he did as a weekend training session.

Pulford said the run went quite well but conditions were tough but that didn't stop him from scooping the top prize in his race, along with friends who also scored top five placings.


"I just decided to do it, I was meant to do a hard training session but I thought I may as well just do this race," Pulford says.

"It went well, it was quite a hard day ... the conditions were really hard, it was extremely windy and tough."

Tough winds face runners at Tauranga's City to Surf Half Marathon event on Sunday. Photo / George Novak
Tough winds face runners at Tauranga's City to Surf Half Marathon event on Sunday. Photo / George Novak

But this weekend's race is just one of part of a busy next couple of months for the talented runner.

He leaves for a 10-day family trip to Hawaii and when he returns he'll be getting ready to head to Kenya four months of altitude training, staying with the Kiwi Twins Jake and Zane Robertson, who famously left New Zealand shores in 2007 to live and train in Iten, Kenya.

"All I'll be doing over there is running, nothing else."

The reason for the trip is to improve his running after failing to achieve a goal he set himself for this year.

"I set time targets, I don't really worry about the placings. My goal this year was to run under an hour five for the half marathon but I hadn't achieved it.

"Once I get back I know I'll be fit as and can shave off for some fast times."


He plans to do a big race on the way back to New Zealand but the time and location of that race remains unknown. Although he plans to do a lot more international events once his training is completed, he doesn't want to set any goals for himself until the end.

Running is something Pulford got into as a boy. His parents were always active and while he reckoned he wasn't any good at other sports, running was something he always seemed to naturally excel in.

For the last 10 years he's been running competitively, with his preferred event being 10,000m on the track, and running half marathon events internationally.

"That's probably my favourite distance."

Men's half marathon run:
1st: Ben Ruthe, Tauranga, 1:20:13
2nd: Dion Goodhue, Waihi Beach, 1:23:26
3rd: Luke Williams, Papamoa, 1:24:57
Women's half marathon run:
1st: Marie Sorrell, Tauranga, 1:32:28
2nd: Erin Furness, Hamilton, 1:34:25
3rd: Sarah Stewart, Northcote, 1:37:34
Men's half marathon walk:
1st: Nathan Ireton, Ngaruawahia, 2:28:22
2nd: Maurice Sheppard, Whangamata, 2:56:13
3rd: Laurie Murray, Tokoroa, 2:58:36
Women's half marathon walk:
1st: Penny Purcell, Otumoetai, 2:18:08
2nd: Helen Baverstock, Inglewood, 2:41:37
3rd: Cathy Kelly, New Plymouth, 2:46:27
Men's 11km run:
1st: Aaron Pulford, Tauranga, 36:54
2nd: Nick Berry, Tauranga, 39:03
3rd: Ian MacDonald, Otumoetai, 39:20
Women's 11km run:
1st: Sarah Gardner, Papamoa, 44:34
2nd: Shaun Pahina, Papamoa Beach, 49:19
3rd: Stephanie Humphrey, Auckland, 50:02
Men's 11km walk:
1st: Neil Butler, Rotorua, 1:16:11
2nd: Scott Dean, Eastern Beach, 1:19:19
3rd: Michael Young, Tauranga, 1:24:19
Women's 11km walk:
1st: Robyn White, Te Awamutu, 1:22:40
2nd: Heidi Gale, Tauranga, 1:25:01
3rd: Helen Pound, Te Awamutu, 1:28:06
Men's 5km:
1st: Jonathan Byers, Tauranga, 19:17
2nd: Chris Wotton, Tauranga, 20:05
3rd: Martin Kernighan, Hamilton, 21:25
Women's 5km:
1st: Renee Carey, Mount Maunganui, 20:16
2nd: Lily McSweeney, Mount Maunganui, 21:16
3rd: Ruby McSweeney, Mount Maunganui, 22:29