THIJS Hubber, of Queenstown, won the Meridian Hydro Half Marathon in perfect conditions on Fiordland’s Lake2Lake Trail on Saturday.
Hubber ran the 21.1km distance in a time of 1.19:18, followed 15 seconds later by Kelvin Meade, of Invercargill, in 1.19:33 and Barney Hoskins, of Timaru, in 1.21:41.
Angie Waters, of Queenstown, was first female in 1.31:11, followed closely by Meg Mckay, of Dunedin, in 1.31:22. Rebecca Sheffield, of Queenstown, who was second place overall last year, was third with 1.31:44.
The inaugural winner of the race, Crystal Brindle, of Te Anau, finished in 1.28:21
“The Lake2Lake Trail and the Kepler Track are the two best running trails near Te Anau, in my opinion,” Brindle said after the race.
Hosted by the Fiordland Trails Trust as a fundraiser, the race attracted 300 registrations across the South Island, in contrast to 166 in the inaugural race last year.
Fiordland Trails Trust chairman Stephen Hoskin thanked Meridian as the main sponsor.
“When we chose the route, it seemed appropriate that we start the race from Kepler Farm on the Manapouri highway.
“It was here 50 years ago there was a small village constructed solely for the Manapouri hydro power station.
“Now long gone, the only visible signs of the village are the trees once planted in gardens and the sealed road.”
Registrations only went live shortly after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted and the committee pulled the event together at short notice.
The event made use of modern technology with split times going directly to the website and app, so friends and family could track the runners through five tracking mats to give athletes accurate pace times.
Race operations manager Nigel Wilson described the day as “perfect” running conditions and went on to thank the 45 volunteers who helped with the event set-up, safety and marshalling the course.
“The event is developing a great reputation as a friendly community event with many runners commenting on the happy atmosphere thanks to the awesome volunteers.”
Race director Brad Mcleod said the event was a great success.
“We were thrilled with the number of entries, over double that of last year.”
He was hoping the event would be a regular event on the running calendar.