Huntly Half Marathon moves 'home' after 37 years

Entrants run along the Waikato River during the Huntly Half Marathon.
MARK TAYLOR FAIRFAX NZ.

Entrants run along the Waikato River during the Huntly Half Marathon.

The oldest half-marathon event in New Zealand has moved home this year after more than three decades away.

The Huntly Half Marathon attracted 1200 entries on Sunday morning - the largest number it's ever had - prompting organisers to change the venue. 

The event moved from the Riverview Road Reserve to the Huntly Rugby Club grounds, the same place it was held when it first started 37 years ago. 

Olivia Burne, front, placed 5th overall and was the first woman to finish the half marathon.
MARK TAYLOR/FAIRFAX NZ.

Olivia Burne, front, placed 5th overall and was the first woman to finish the half marathon.

Organiser Dion Jelley said the reason for then move was to cater to numbers and for community groups to set up stalls.

READ MORE: Reporter Caitlin Wallace takes on Huntly Half Marathon 10 kilometre challenge

"We've had great numbers though this year and we kept the entries open on [Sunday] morning."

John Mering won the Huntly Half in a time of one hour and 14 minutes.
MARK TAYLOR/FAIRFAX NZ.

John Mering won the Huntly Half in a time of one hour and 14 minutes.

First at the finish line was American John Mering, a Hamilton resident.

At a time of one hour and 14 minutes, Mering sprinted through to scoop the win a minute and five seconds before second-placer Jay Wallwork.

​Mering said there was a bit of "a headwind, but it was fine".

Fifth place overall and first past the finish line for the women was Olivia Burne, of Auckland City team, whose time was one hour, 16 minutes and 42 seconds.

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A group of Hamilton women - Lena Walls, Sharon Allen, Tracey Shepherd, Jo Ganley, Amelia Shepherd and Nicole Allen - entered the 10km walk as "a bit of fun".

Although it wasn't the bike wine tour they had initially wanted to do, the Huntly half was a good incentive for them to do something healthy and keep fit.

Aunty and nephew duo Melita Whaiapu and Ranui Willison also did the 10k walk. 

Originally from Taharoa but living in Hamilton, Whaiapu said she and Willison had been exercising for a year now.

"I had high cholesterol, so we started out by doing Zumba classes and stuff together," Whaiapu said.

"We entered the Iron Māori in Karapiro and we thought we'd do this with our family. My daughter and moko are also on their way and will be entering with us. It's good to get active with family."

 - Stuff

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