Fast-track to na­tional ti­tle

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Morgan

Marathon run­ner Joe Pig­gin is a dual cham­pion.

The Grey Lynn res­i­dent won the Ro­torua Marathon ear­lier this month, which dou­bled as the na­tional cham­pi­onships.

“It’s the best race I’ve ever had by a coun­try mile,” he says.

“Es­sen­tially it was two races in one.”

Pig­gin fin­ished the 42.2km race in 2h 27m 43s, a minute ahead of his near­est ri­val Craig Kirk­wood from Tau­ranga.

He puts his win down to a per­fect lead-up to the event.

“I had no sick­ness or in­jury and went train­ing in the Wood­hill For­est and Waitakere Ranges,” he says.

The Unitec lec­turer’s train­ing regime in­cluded run­ning be­tween 150 and 180km a week.

“Train­ing for a marathon leaves you pretty tired, but win­ning makes you feel bet­ter.”

He says the re­sult is more sat­is­fy­ing be­cause of the num­ber of qual­ity run­ners in the race and the fact that the na­tional ti­tle was up for grabs.

“Ro­torua is New Zealand’s most pres­ti­gious marathon and so to win the na­tional champs is fan­tas­tic as well.

“It was quite a strong field in this race so I had to go out fast. My nor­mal tac­tics are to go out slow and come back in the sec­ond half.”

Train­ing part­ner Richard Swan says Pig­gin had a tough bat­tle on his hands be­cause Kirk­wood was the de­fend­ing champ.

But he isn’t en­tirely sur­prised that his mate won the race.

“He was putting in some huge miles.

“When I was run­ning with him, you could tell he was re­ally mo­ti­vated to take the race out.”

As for the fu­ture, Pig­gin hopes his next race will be in one of the big over­seas marathons.

“Ro­torua gets 2000 par­tic­i­pants, whereas Lon­don and New York have 50,000 each,” he says.

“It’s a whole dif­fer­ent world.”

Pig­gin says he might give the world champs, which have a qual­i­fy­ing time of be­tween 2 hours 15 min­utes and 2 hours 18 min­utes, a shot some­time in the fu­ture.

And at 30, which is young for a marathon run­ner, you wouldn’t bet against him.

“It’s the best time for it. You’ve got to build up the strength in your legs.”

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Long haul: Grey Lynn res­i­dent Joe Pig­gin strides out for the first time af­ter his win in the Ro­torua Marathon ear­lier this month.

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