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Blazing Bailey starts fortnightly fun events in our own backyard.

Queenstown marathon man Adrian Bailey has set himself a new challenge – to bring more all-inclusive running events back to the Wakatipu.

The long-distance athlete – who’s represented both New Zealand and his native Wales – says he’s fed up watching local races slipping away from the resort.

As a result Bailey, 33, is organ­­­ising a new event called the Front­­runner Series, to be held at Jack’s Point every second Saturday morning from June 27-November 28.

He insists planned 5km and 10km runs and walks will suit individuals, families and schoolkids wanting to get fit – as well as serious amateurs.

The move comes not long after 225 punters turned up to compete in the second annual Remarkable Runners Arm Run.

“For a while now, a lot of people have come forward to me and discussed the decline of running events in the area,” says Bailey.

“It’s a shame this slide has been happening over the past few years as Queenstown is an unbeatable location.

“Before, we had the likes of the Queenstown Marathon, the Moke Lake Triathlon and the K2Q, which were great.

“But now they’re no longer here, I wanted to introduce something new that people don’t have to travel huge distances to participate in.”

Bailey originally slotted his new series for the Frankton Track but has opted for Jack’s Point instead, as it’s sunnier in winter and can accommodate a half-marathon as a curtain-closer.

“There are huge benefits in terms of the car parking, catering and changing facilities at the site,” he says.

“Hopefully this will give people in the area something to focus their energies on in the winter and encourage some to challenge themselves by aiming to compete in established events like the Routeburn Classic and the Motatapu.”
The new series is a not-for-profit undertaking with minimal entry fees. There’s also $25,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.

Bailey knows a thing or two about setting – and smashing – personal targets. He ran for Wales between the ages of 14-26, competing in the world crosscountry champs in Italy in 2002.

Later that year, after visiting NZ with the Welsh team, he shifted to the Wakatipu as he thought it would make an ideal training base.

“I flew into Christchurch in the November and found out there was a marathon on just before Christmas in Queenstown.

“I entered, won it and never left.”

Bailey spent a few years working as the manager of a Queenstown gym before becoming boss of an altitude-simulation company in the resort in 2006.

In between work and racing, he even finds time to run three evening circuit training and running classes.

“These days I get as much satisfaction out of other people’s achievements as my own performances and that helps drive me on.”

Last year Bailey became eligible to represent NZ and made his debut at the world 100km champs near Rome, Italy, in November – but had to pull up injured.

Once he tackles the Route­burn Classic and the Christchurch Marathon next month, his next goal is to make the NZ 100km team for the Commonwealth Games in India in 2010.

“I’m every bit as proud when I pull on the silver fern vest as I was running for Wales,” he says.