Fast-track to national title
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.”
Long haul: Grey Lynn resident Joe Piggin strides out for the first time after his win in the Rotorua Marathon earlier this month.