Kemp sets pace in midwinter marathon

Brian Kemp took out the inaugural honours when Nelson staged its first standard marathon - the Monaco-Nelson Midwinter Marathon - in almost 30 years yesterday.

The last marathons were held in the Nelson area in the 1980s. Almost 100 participants were involved yesterday in various events, 34 of those attempting the standard marathon distance of 42.2km.

The event started and finished at Monaco with participants running or walking to Rabbit Island and back via The Great Taste Trail that takes in the vistas of the local estuaries and beaches.

Kemp showed great form to record the inaugural record time of 2hr 47min 16sec and was also the only competitor to eclipse three hours and finish well clear of second place.

Hot on his heels over the first half was fellow local distance runner Si Leaning who, unfortunately, had to pull out at Rabbit Island with a niggling injury, leaving Kemp on his own and overtaking many of the earlier starters.

First female marathoner was evergreen Colette Reid coming back into form with a commendable run of 3hr 18min 1sec, two minutes clear of second-placed Carol Cooper. Both Kemp and Reid become the first recipients of the Racey Rabbit Trophies.

Minor marathon placings went to Billy MacDougall, second male in 3hr 1min and Ben Thurlow, third male in 3hr 16min. Cooper was second female across the line in 3hr 20min with Robyn Deane third in 3hr 40min.

In the other events, the two-person relay runners, each running a half marathon, saw Wayne Leighton and Tracy Perry prevail in 3hr 1min 48sec, with Andrew Riccardi and Gus Shirley second in 3hr 7min. Tanya McMurtie and Nick Crocker were third in 3hr 18min.

The sole walking team of Elaine and John Llewellin finished in 5hr 24min.

In the half marathon event, with participants finishing at Rabbit Island, Pete Versey won in 1hr 24min 27sec, with Leaning second in 1hr 25min. Matt Newberry was third in 1hr 27min. Margaret Petheram was the first female in 1hr 44min, while Ann Marie Moynihan and Ina van Dalen both walked the half in exactly two hours.

Other noteworthy achievements included Jeff Leckey, as a solo marathon walker, completing the distance in less than six hours and Barry Dewar, a 60-plus marathoner, running the entire distance in a curly afro wig and two-piece suit, and finishing eighth overall.

The event is set to become an annual event on the local running calendar with the date for next year's event set for Sunday, June 21.

The Nelson Mail