To say Cate Pedersen was shocked after becoming the fastest woman at this year's Copthorne Rotorua Off Road Half Marathon would be an understatement.

Before lining up for yesterday's event, the furthest the 16-year-old from Napier had run was 12km. About 4km into her first half marathon she took the lead and never looked back, finishing in 1h 40m 58s, nearly four minutes ahead of the next female competitor.

"It's my first half marathon so I wasn't expecting it. [The course] was good, it made it interesting. There was a really long hill at about the 6km mark, and it would've been about 16km on the second lap. You don't want to waste all your energy so you can sprint after the hill," Cate said.

The 21.1km feature race of the event comprised two laps through the Whakarewarewa Forest - not the easiest terrain to run your first half marathon on.


The teenager, who last year was a member of the champion CD age-group side at the under-15 girls' nationals in Whanganui, said she was "really shocked" with the result, but pleased.

The Napier Girls' High School pupil also was named MVP at the cricket tourney. - NZME