You have to do what you have to do to reach the finish line of a marathon according to Rotorua runner Tony Broadhead.

"You just don't know what's going to happen and it doesn't matter how good a runner you are, or how much training you've done, you are quite wary of what's going to happen in the final 10k," he said.

The battle is very much a mental one.

"It's mind over matter, getting to the finish - and you have to do it for whatever personal reasons you think of, whether it's your training, your family or whatever - it's just trying to push through and get to that finish line."


Saturday's Rotorua marathon will be Broadhead's eighth - and he will be looking to match his best time of 2 hours 49 mins.

"Training has gone well, so I'll be going out at 2h 49m, 2h 50m pace. Hopefully if it's my day I'll do that. Conditions are looking good and my coach (Kim Stevenson) will dictate what he thinks I should go out with as well."

He has trained with Stevenson for the past four years.

Broadhead has run the last four marathons, but tackled his first when he was 20.

"That was just as a fun thing to do and, being local, I wanted to do the Rotorua marathon."

In those days, though, football was his sport.

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"I am quite a competitive person, but I've always been into soccer. Once I hit 40 onwards, I've take up running seriously - you get too old for soccer once you get to 36 or 37 - you can't keep up. I retired at 33 then made a comeback, but thought 'stuff this'. I'm 48 now so it was a little while ago."

He also had to make a comeback of sorts to marathon running after getting it completely wrong one year.

"I've finished them all, but four years ago learned a lot of respect for the marathon. I went out to do it in under three (hours) and I came in at 5h 01m. It gave me respect for the marathon and taught me a few lessons."

Broadhead had gone out too fast, and didn't drink enough.

"It was a horror day - and it was a hard lesson to learn. I'd run a lot of my marathons pretty well up to then."

The experience didn't stop him and he was back the following year to make amends.

In September last year, Broadhead took the national 10,000m road running title in his age group. He began preparation for the longer distance in January.

"(The difference) is mainly just the mileage - you are doing a lot more mileage for the marathon and not much racing."

He ran the Copthorne Off-Road Half Marathon in the Whakarewarewa Forest and the Podium Ohope Express half marathon as part of his build-up.

For the week or so leading up to the event training has tapered.

"You just drop the mileage right down and have a couple of short workouts - you can't do anything more than some jogging in the last week, because you can't do anything but hurt yourself."

"I've always said that to run Rotorua well, you've got to have the experience of running it before - it's not an easy course and you've got the hill and the down hill.

"The time you are running over the hills and down the hills, you're quite possibly feeling on fire or strong - but it takes a bit out of you and it kicks in at 5 or 6k, or even worse, 10k from the finish."

But there are compensations.

"The biggest thing I love about Rotorua, mate, is the support - especially if you're a local, it's really good."

-The runners' half marathon starts at 8am on Saturday with the walkers half five minutes later. The marathon runners will start their race at 8.20am, with the walkers again five minutes later. The quarter marathon starts at 8.45am and the 5.5km event at 8.50am. The start/finish is in the Government Gardens at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.