More than 1500 people finished events that included the marathon, Half Marathon, 10K Classic, 5K Fun Run and Walk, 2km Kids' Dash and the Mascot Race as part of the 2019 Garmin Tauranga Marathon on Saturday. As supporters lined the course to cheer on the athletes who braved warm weather to cross the finish line of their races, it was a man, who had never run a marathon event before who was the first person to complete the main event. It was a bucket list race that he was motivated to enter after his son was born just a few months ago. Kristin Macfarlane reports.
Tom Moyes had always wanted to complete a marathon and about a month after his son was born, he was motivated to enter his first one.
That was three months ago and on Saturday, Moyes, 33, not only achieved that bucket list run, he was the first person to cross the finish line of the 42.2km 2019 Garmin Tauranga Marathon with a time of 2hrs, 35min, 17sec.
He was one of 317 people who finished the marathon race in sunny conditions. According to Metservice, temperatures were recorded at being 13C at 9am before reaching 15C at 10am and peaking at 16C by 2pm.
Having never run a marathon before, Moyes, from Auckland, started the race "conservatively" as planned but said the heat really got to him towards the end.
"The last 10k I had a few issues, just run out of gas I think."
He said completing the distance was a milestone for him and being able to win it, with his 4-month-old son Walter and partner waiting at the finish line made it even more of a highlight.
"It's always been a bucket list thing.
"To win one as well feels good."
Moyes, who started training for the marathon three months ago, said conditions were good and the event was well-run. While he was "pretty happy" with his result at the weekend, he said he had no plans to run another marathon just yet but would continue to enter shorter distances and events in the future.
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Less than 13 minutes behind Moyes was Tauranga's Kunaal Rajpal, who was the second person to finish the marathon distance with a time of 2hr, 48min, 4sec, followed by a third-place Brad Dixon in a time of 2hr, 51min, 58sec.
It was Rajpal's third Tauranga Marathon, recording a fourth place last year and a second in his first year, but found it hard to push through in such warm conditions.
"It was the hardest so far, just because of the heat," Rajpal said.
The first woman to cross the finish line was Wellington police officer Mel Aitken, who is coached by Tauranga's Craig Kirkwood, finishing with a time of 2hrs, 56min, 44sec. She finishied in fourth place overall.
Though a regular on the racing circuit, especially trail running and ultra events, it was Aitken's first time racing in Tauranga and, though she admits her time was a bit slower than normal for a road marathon, she was happy with her result.
"I love running, it's good fun, just really good for your mind," the 42-year-old said.
Next up for Aitken is the New Zealand Trail Running Championships in Christchurch on October 13.
Jason Herriman, who is part of the Running Events team organising the event, said the weather turned out for participants on the day, describing all athletes as "incredible".
More than 1500 people finished events including the marathon, Half Marathon, 10K Classic, 5K Fun Run and Walk, 2km Kids' Dash and the Mascot Race throughout the day.
"To see the culmination of months of training come together in tears, smiles and cheering is something we won't forget soon," Herriman said.
"Tauranga locals should be so incredibly proud of themselves for showing support like I have never seen at a marathon. To watch people in bars and houses clapping and yelling gave us all a few little goosebumps."
2019 Garmin Tauranga Marathon results:
1st: Tom Moyes, 2hr, 35min, 17sec.
2nd: Kunaal Rajpal, 2hr, 48min, 4sec.
3rd: Brad Dixon, 2hr, 51min, 58sec.
1st: Mel Aitken, 2hr, 56min, 44sec.
2nd: Tracy Abbott, 3hr, 14min, 57sec.
3rd: Eden Craig, 3hr, 16min, 12sec.