Liza Hunter-Galvan makes marathon history

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 02/06/2013
Liza Hunter-Galvan
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
THREE TIME CHAMP: Liza Hunter-Galvan looks to the skies with joy as he crosses the finish line to win the Christchurch Marathon.

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Liza Hunter-Galvan is the queen of Christchurch Marathon running after she created history today by winning the race for the third consecutive time.

The US-based athlete won in a time of 2.50.26, from Victoria Beck, who finished second in 2.51.50. Klaartje van Schie was third in 2.53.31.

It is the fourth time Hunter-Galvan has won the Christchurch race, with her other triumph coming in 1999. 

The two-time New Zealand Olympian was handed a two-year suspension in 2009 after returning a positive drug test for the banned blood boosting drug EPO. 

There was an upset winner in the men's full marathon with born-and-bred Cantabrian Phil Costley, who now lives in Nelson, triumphing in a time of 2.35.00, from Ross McIntyre (2.36.53) and Jesse Gibbs (2.41.18). 

Pre-race favourite Sam Wreford was forced to withdraw from the race after 28 km due to a stomach bug. 

Wreford and Costley were battling it out for the lead at that point. It was a smart move from Wreford with his bigger focus being next month's Gold Coast Marathon. 

That will be an important event for the Timaru runner as he seeks to take another step forward in his quest to qualify for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Costley and Hunter-Galvan were also the respective men's and women's winners of the Christchurch Marathon back in 1999.

For the second consecutive year, the Christchurch Marathon was run on the flat Harewood course around the International Airport.

Wellington's Hamish Carson claimed the men's half marathon in a winning time of 1.06.05 after he won a sprint finish from Hugo Beamish and Aaron Pulford.

Christchurch's Alex Williams took out the spoils in the ladies' half marathon, in a time of 1.16.25.

Organisers were pleased with today's numbers, with 4703 runners competing across the various distances. That was an increase of about 400 people from last year.

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