A group of Wakatipu Rugby Club players may encounter some testy conditions in Saturday’s Queenstown International Marathon, when they run 21.1km in speedos, raising money for Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ.

Members of the ‘Noodle Bagz’, above from left, Ben Ellis, Logan Beggs and Rhys Kearton, will be joined by at least five of their teammates who’ve raised about $3500 of the $5000 goal for the charity. That includes $500 from team sponsor PlaceMakers.

The boys will be going balls out (well, hopefully not) to complete the half marathon, which Ellis says is great pre-season training.

They’re hoping to time their undy run to stick together over the last 2km, through the Queenstown CBD, to cross the finish-line on their home field, at the Rec Ground, together.

Ellis admits chafing “could be an issue”.


Elite runners ready to go

ONE of the top local contenders for Saturday’s Queenstown International Marathon hopes a big training effort this spring will pay off with a PB.

Japanese-born Kiwi resident Tatsuya Okamura is feeling in good nick after winning the Cromwell Half Marathon on October 27 in 1hr 20min 38sec.

The 36-year-old’s aiming for a top-10 finish this weekend, and thinks a time of 2h 50min will get him there.

That’ll be a big improvement on his PB of 2hr 58min, which he ran to finish 22nd in the marathon last year.

It’ll also be only his third attempt at the full distance, but he knows the course well after competing in the half marathon in 2014 and 2015, with a best finish of 16th in the inaugural event.

Lakeside: Queenstowner Tatsuya Okamura en route to winning the Cromwell Half Marathon on October 27 PICTURE: CLARE TOIA-BAILEY, CENTRAL

Okamura says he’s been training harder than ever since setting his top-10 goal, averaging up to 300km a month for the past three months.

The Arthurs Point resident, who’s lived in the resort for the past eight years, says he likes to “follow a procedure based on a goal”.

He wants to do a triathlon when be turns 40, but before that happens he wants a podium finish in a marathon. He’s getting lots of support from his employer, Relaxaway Holiday Homes, where he’s a maintenance manager.

“Lots of people are helping me, so that’s giving me motivation.”

He’s ready for rain on Saturday, but is determined to enjoy the experience regardless.

“It’s tough, but it’s a lovely course.

“Also it’s not a concrete marathon, so it’s easier on your body.”

Nearly 12000 runners will hit the trails and streets on marathon weekend, across all distances including full, half, 10km and kids’ races.

Defending champ Daniel Jones, of Wellington, has had a stellar run since last year’s victory, going on to win the 60km Kepler Challenge and Hawke’s Bay Marathon, and ran a PB of 2:16.15 on the Gold Coast.

Sabina Piras after winning the Hawke’s Bay International Marathon last year PICTURE: FINISHERPIXI

San Diego native Sabina Piras, 30, is a newcomer to Queenstown. The structural engineer, who’s working on a PhD in Christchurch, is aiming for a top-two finish. “I know it’s not a super-fast course. I want to test my fitness and see how I feel,” she says.

Daniel Balchin will be hunting his third win in a row in the half marathon. The national 3000m track champion and Christchurch Half Marathon title-holder wants to end his season on a high with a PB.

A high of 19degC is forecast, with a chance of heavy rain.


Lakes club gets in the swim of it

Entrants in Saturday’s Queenstown International Marathon are invited to soothe their aches and pains with a morning-after swim in Frankton Arm.

Southern Lakes Swimming Club (SLSC) members have timed the club’s open day to try to tap runners who’d like a dip, along with anyone else new to lake swimming.

Swimmers are invited to test the waters this Sunday with a paddle, a float or the club’s 2.5km swim lane circuit – meet by the Frankton Marina scout den, 9.15am, for a 10am start.

There’ll be support kayakers and experienced swimmers on hand to help newbies.

Swimmers can also buy a $20 season’s membership, a new wetsuit and high-vis swim buoy and, afterwards, enjoy a healthy BBQ or snack.