Record field for Molesworth Run

A record field of 291 athletes line up for the Molesworth Run tomorrow, one of the most popular races on the Marlborough Harrier Club calendar.

The 84km slog through New Zealand's biggest working farm, which has been going since the inaugural race in 1995, starts at the Molesworth cottage and finishes at Hanmer Springs town centre. On Saturday, 63 four-person teams will cover around 21km each, 10 two-person teams will run basically a marathon each, and eight hardy solo runners will cover the entire distance on their own.

The title is wide open this year with regular winner John Kennedy, of Blenheim, and his team not competing. While there are several Marlborough-based teams taking part there are also a healthy contingent of visitors, some of whom camp at the start line on Friday evening.

It's hard to predict a winner with so many unheralded runners in the field, but the combination led by former Marlborough ace Kim Hogarth could challenge - likewise the Awatere rugby team combination of Sam Clouston, Glenn Blackmore, Gareth Archer and Kieran Hickman.

The Maher family team of Hannah, Meg, Jess and Amy are contenders in the open women's team section, while a mixed team likely to do well are Ben Minehan, Shelly Hulland, Michelle Fox and Kevin Ellis.

Being in the high country, conditions are testing, whatever the weather conditions. In past events they've ranged from the high 30 degrees to blizzard-like snow conditions. Rain and cool conditions are on the cards for Saturday.

The four-person teams' race record set back in 1996 is 5 hours 13 minutes, that team comprising Chris Dagg, Paul Morrow, Paul Smith and Greg McEwan.

P Wright and Mike Potter hold the two-person record set in 2000 of 6hr 15min, while the solo record belongs to John Thirkettle (6:32) set in 1996, and Wynnie Wu Cosgrove (7:32.56) in 1995.


Racing on Saturday begins at 9am and the first team home in recent years have taken around 5 hours 30 minutes.


The Marlborough Express