Marathon a breeze for Corbett

Sam Corbett looked like he had hardly worked up a sweat winning the Mountain to Surf marathon in Taranaki yesterday.

He cruised across the finish line in the Bayleys-sponsored event, winning in a personal best time of two hours, 39 minutes and 56 seconds for the 42.2km.

"I had a burst at the end, I thought I may never get another chance to go under two hours, 40 minutes," said the Auckland runner afterwards. "I feel great. This course is fantastic, the best I've ever run."

And the American-born athlete has run a few marathon courses including Boston three times, Chicago and Berlin.

"My first marathon was in 2003, a similar course to this. I did three hours, 37 minutes. I hurt so much I didn't think I'd ever do another. I've done a bunch since, this is the 15th," he said.

"Conditions were great. Cool to start with and no wind. It definitely got hot towards the end and I was feeling it a bit but I always thought I had something left."

The 40-year-old said he and his wife Ginny moved to Auckland 18 months ago.

"We came to New Zealand for a holiday four years ago and did some tramping and cycling. We couldn't believe how beautiful it was and we started looking for jobs here. I got one as a transport planner with Auckland Transport and we moved here."

Corbett's previous best time was 2hr 42min in Auckland two years ago. "I knew I was close and I knew I wouldn't have a better chance with conditions so good. I'll be back next year, as defending champ you have to turn up."

Corbett was seven minutes clear of two other Auckland runners, Andrew Shreeve, who finished second 13 seconds ahead of Daniel Coates.

Rotorua's Chris Corney, who won the race in 2001 and has a number of top five finishes, finished fourth with New Plymouth's Jon-Paul Heather the quickest of the Taranaki runners finishing sixth overall.

New Plymouth's David Wackrow was the first walker home in the marathon in 4hr 33min 1sec. He was nine minutes clear of another New Plymouth walker Jeff Wells, with Palmerston North's David Jones third.

The first woman home over the marathon distance was New Plymouth's Lee McCracken in 4hr 51min 55sec. Tauranga's Chris Maxwell was second ahead of Palmerston North's Denise Brunskill.

Taranaki Daily News