Half-marathon proves popular

Winners of last Saturday's Meridian Hydro Half Marathon mens' section (from left) Chris O'Connell (third), winner Jason Hall, and Mark Paterson (second) held along the Lake2Lake trail in Fiordland. Photo: Supplied

CROMWELL’S Jason Hall and Dunedin’s Meg McKay were crowned the champions of the 2021 Meridian Hydro Half Marathon in Te Anau last Saturday.

Hall recorded a time of 1hr 19min 12sec, while runner-up Mark Paterson, of Auckland, finished in 1.19:44, and Chris O’Connell, of Dunedin, came in third place with a time of 1.21:54.

McKay made a significant improvement on last year’s second placing, crossing the line in 1.26:40, with Wanaka duo Rebecca Clarke and Sammy Burke coming in second and third in 1.29:05 and 1.31:04, respectively.

The Mitre 10 Te Anau 10km event winners, Todd Krieble, of Wellington, was the fastest male with his time of 42:09, followed by Ben Rabbidge, of Port Chalmers, in 43:05, and Dave Telford, of Dunedin, in 46:30.

Lesley Van Blerk was the fastest female in 47:17, with second place going to Te Anau local and expectant mum, Claire Bell, in 48:05 minutes, and third place to Kirsten O’Sullivan, of Alexandra, in 50:04.

More than 249 people took part in the 21.1km distance event, which spanned from the location of the original hydro construction village to Lions’ Park in Te Anau.

While the weather did not play its part, with occasional rain showers and cool temperatures adding to the challenge, it did not deter the runners and walkers who traversed parts of the Lake2Lake trail alongside the Waiau River, which was maintained by the Fiordland Trails Trust.

More than 550 people entries were received for both events with registrations from as far as Auckland, Hawke’s Bay and even Australia.

However, after the recent Covid-19 restrictions were introduced for trans-Tasman travel, the international entrants were not able to attend.

In all, 433 runners and walkers took to the trail last Saturday.

Runner-up Paterson said he had never visited Te Anau area before.

“I made a special effort to come to this event and I will certainly be back,” he said.

Event co-ordinator Heather Sinclair said she was thrilled with the day.

“It’s a real buzz seeing hundreds of runners and walkers on the trail, and all coming across the finish line in Lions’ Park with huge smiles on their faces.

“A lot of work by a lot of volunteers goes into organising this event, but it’s worth it.”

The Meridian Hydro Half Marathon and Mitre 10 Te Anau 10km events are organised by volunteers with all proceeds going to the Fiordland Trails Trust to support its work developing, maintaining and enhancing a multi-use trail network in Fiordland.

Next year’s event will be held on August 6.