Ussher plays down marathon chances

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A top adventure racer downplays his prospects in a Queenstown mountain marathon this Saturday. 

Former Queenstowner Richard Ussher (right) is running the second edition of the Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon, honouring a pledge to mate and organiser Adrian Bailey. 

Ussher: “This one seems like a cracker – it’s a pretty spectacular bit of country.” 

Ussher, 36, knows a lot of the course – from Skippers Canyon to Moke Lake. 

Last year’s race was won by British mountain runner Martin Cox in four-and-a-half hours. “It looks like it’s pretty much adding two hours at least to your normal marathon time – it shows how difficult the terrain is. 

“The race is probably as hard as a flat 100km-er.” 

Ussher says he’s still returning to full fitness after health issues late last year. 

Ussher doesn’t think he’ll be fast enough to challenge top runners like Cox and Braden Currie, who pipped him for a sixth Coast to Coast title this month. 

“If those boys take off like cut cats, I think I’ll be leaving them to it.” 

Ussher’s wife, top multisporter Elina, will also compete, health permitting. 

The marathon starts 8am. A half-marathon, 10km and 5km run start 11am at Moke Lake.