An extended family of nearly 50 are among the 3500 runners and many more supporters at the Rotorua Marathon today.

The family members, led by Auckland-based Debra Dufty, have come from as far as
Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Australia to run and walk in different legs of the 55th annual Rotorua Marathon or to support.

They've gathered in celebration and memory of Dufty's mother Margaret Field who died of cancer 20 years ago.

"Every year prior she ran the Rotorua Marathon. She ran 13 in total and it was like no matter where we were we came to support Mum.

Advertisement

"When I said to my siblings 'let's do the marathon' they said yes and we got our kids involved and it got bigger and bigger," she said.

"In total there are 46 participating or supporting, all related to Mum."

Dufty ran the half marathon, her sister ran the 10km, one of her brothers ran the full and the other walked the half.

#watch marathonrunners are coming in thick and fast with the women's race pack leaders roughly 2km away

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Friday, 3 May 2019

A further 25 family members ran or walked the 10km.

Dufty said the relatives included her siblings, her mother's sisters-in-law and grandchildren, and a mix of cousins, nieces and nephews.

Dufty's sister Jo Field-Crafar said she remembered travelling to Rotorua to support her mother's marathon running each year.

"We had cousins that lived here and we'd catch up with them while we were here. The memories were of being dragged around events then we all joined in running down the finish chute."

Since their mother died in July 1999, a member of the family has run in the Rotorua Marathon almost every year.

Advertisement

Field set up the Hutt Valley Marathon Clinic, and continued running or walking in marathons even when fighting cancer for four years. Her last Rotorua Marathon was in 1998.

She made it into the Rotorua Marathon survivors club, which her son Chris is also now part of.

Extended family members this year ran wearing T-shirts with the words "In Memory of Marg – Our Marathon Runner", which is what is written on her gravestone.

Roughly 3500 people ran in the annual marathon. There were a range of distances available, with the option to run or walk the full marathon lap of Lake Rotorua, the Red Stag Timber Half Marathon through Whakarewarewa Forest, the 10km through the Sulphur Flats or the 5km fun run.

Race director Murray Fleming from Event Promotions said the racing had been "absolutely amazing".

"The crowd down here this morning was huge, absolutely huge. The finish chute is still lined with people waiting for people to finish whether it's the five, 10, half or full marathon."

Fleming said the event attracted thousands of spectators to the city.