British mountain running champion Martin Cox has won a tough marathon in the Queenstown high country.
Cox won the inaugural Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon on Saturday in 4hr 30min 06sec.
That was a “shockingly fast time”, local organiser Adrian Bailey said at the finish line.
“They went through some severe country,” he says.
The marathon ran from the Pipeline Bungy site in Skippers Canyon via the Shotover River and Moonlight Track to Moke Lake.
Second home was Cantabrian Grant Guise, in 4:52, third was Andrew Town, of Wanaka. Queenstowner Jim Hawkridge took out fourth.
First woman home was world-ranked Anna Frost, from Dunedin, who clocked 5:15.
Seventy-two runners tackled the grueling marathon.
Another 245 competed in the associated 5km, 10km and half-marathon races, which all started and finished at Moke Lake.
The half-marathon winner was promising young Wanaka athlete Oska Inkster-Baynes.
Bailey is thrilled with the first event.
“To put this whole event together in three months has been a huge undertaking but I’ve loved every minute of it.
“The interest is out there – it’s going to be something significant over the next couple of years.”