A first for marathon Monaco-Nelson mid-winter marathon winners
Ben Clark and Kim Waddell won their first marathon races when they crossed the finish line at the Monaco-Nelson mid-winter marathon on Sunday.
The local runners won their respective grades with off-road distance specialist Clark prevailing overall in a time of 3 hours 3 minutes and 50 seconds.
Waddell, an accomplished triathlete, recorded a time of 3hour 28min 14sec, with both winners well clear of the second place getters.
With last year's winners not participating and an increase in entrants, including many from out-of-town, there was plenty of intrigue as to who the new winners would be on Sunday.
The race saw 275 participants enter across the various categories, with 60 of those completing the standard marathon distance of 42.2km.
The event started and finished at The Honest Lawyer in Monaco with participants running or walking to Rabbit Island and back via The Great Taste Trail.
Although no marathon entrant broke the 3hour mark, the records remaining for another year, there was still plenty of competition for placings, particularly in the two-person relay where Matt and Ben Bamford recorded a time of 2hour 51min 30sec, falling just four seconds short of the current record.
Minor placings in the marathon fell to runner-up Sean Timoney (3hour 14 min) and third place getter Andrew Morgan (3hour 27 min) in the men's marathon and Colette Read (3hour 36 min) and Alina Mothes (3hour 37 min) in the women's marathon.
In the two person relay the youthful match up of Angus Wemyss and Sami Jordan also eclipsed three hours, recording 2hour and 53min, with last year's winner, Flossie van Dyke, teaming up with Sam Leith to come in third in 3hour and 8min.
In the six person marathon relay running event the battle was on between the two, very evenly matched, visiting Marlborough Harrier teams. In the end it was the Marlborough No 1 team that prevailed by just 48 seconds to record 3hour 27min and 3sec, while third place went to the impressive Runaway Mums team, just a minute behind.
This year's marathon also saw three participants race walking the 42.2km with this year's winner, Malcolm Gray, recording a time of 5hour 16min and 2sec for the distance.
Although he was further back in the field, Michael Stewart, a 65-year-old from Naenae, remarkably completed his 552nd marathon when he crossed the finish line in a time of 5hour 19min.
Event entry was by voluntary donation to charity with this year's recipients, The Mental Health Foundation and The Heart of Biking Cycle trail trust set to receive around $4000 between them.