River paths out of contention for run

EVAN PEGDEN
Last updated 06:51 12/09/2012

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Hamilton Half Marathon next month will again have to avoid the Waikato River paths and use its alternative country course.

Continuing problems with slips along the river paths mean organisers of the New Zealand Community Trust Hamilton Half Marathon on Sunday, October 7, have gone to the B course through Flagstaff, Rototuna and Horsham Downs for the second consecutive year.

The 10km and 5km fun courses will similarly again steer clear of the riverbanks.

"We're unable to use the river path again," said race director Lyn Harris. "The river course can certainly test our sanity at times.

"Three years ago we had to change the course the night before because the river never went down in time."

That situation prompted organisers to design alternative courses, making it a lot simpler and less disruptive to choose between the A and B courses well ahead of time.

They are on track to meet their target of returning to 2000 entries after attracting 1800 runners last year.

The record for the event is the 2200 who entered in 2010.

In addition to the half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run, the event will again feature the Earthcare Environmental Kids Marathon where youngsters run a total of 40km over a period of several weeks at 1km a day, mark that off on a chart and then turn up on the day to run the final 2.195km to complete the marathon distance.

It is too early to know just which elite runners are planning to enter but organisers are hoping last year's half marathon winners Stephen Lett (Auckland) and Johanna Ottoson (Rotorua) will return to defend their titles.

Ottoson last year won the women's race in a record time of 1 hours 20 minutes 37 seconds, while Lett recorded 1:12:24 - just over a minute off Michael Pugh's 2009 men's record of 1:11.11.

A major attraction this year will be the chance for all participants in the half marathon, 10km and 5km events to go in the draw to win a new Mazda 2 car.

Harris said early indications were there were increased corporate entries with WEL Networks already entering 32 of their staff.

This year's event will again be supporting charity in the form of the Child Cancer Foundation.

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- Waikato Times

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