Thousands enjoy sun-filled marathon day

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More than 11,000 runners pounded the streets of Queenstown across four marathon events today as the sun beat down on the resort.

The event, which organisers say is the country’s “largest marathon event”, attracted thousands of spectators, who cheered on friends and family from start to finish.

First-time marathon champion, Daniel Jones, of Wellington, finished the race in just over two hours and 32 minutes, more than 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Alex Cowden and bronze-winner, Ewan Sinclair.

The 28-year-old says it feels “pretty awesome” to have won on such an “amazing” course.

He says he’s sure “Queenstown will be going off” tonight and is looking forward to celebrating
the win.

Last year’s marathon winner in the women’s race, British-runner Hannah Oldroyd,
now of Christchurch, took home the gold once again with a time of two hours, 52 minutes and 13 seconds.

The 31-year-old cracked open a can of Guinness minutes after crossing the finish line ahead
of runners-up Lydia O’Donnell and Aimee Durbin.

Daniel Balchin, of Cromwell, successfully defended his title in the New Zealand Sotheby’s
International Realty Half Marathon, finishing in one hour, eight minutes and 42 seconds.

Aucklander Lisa Cross won the women’s half marathon, despite enduring a painful burst
blister over the last few kilometres.

Runners in the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon set off from Millbrook
Resort at 8.20am, passing through Arrowtown, around Lake Hayes and through Lower Shotover, before following the Kawarau River and running along the Frankton Arm to finish at the Recreation Ground in Queenstown.

The half marathon and Cigna 10km events began just before the Air NZ Marathon, with the Kids Run starting at 1pm.

Hundreds of volunteers were drafted in to hand out water across the course, as well as thousands of bananas to breathless runners at the finish line.

joshua.walton@scene.co.nz