Fire­man runs marathon in kit


‘‘I was wor­ried it might get too hot and I would cook my­self - which I al­most did any­way.’’

Al­ways keen for a chal­lenge, Frank­ton vol­un­teer fire fighter Marc Man­der­son popped his head out the win­dow on Satur­day morn­ing and de­cided the day was ripe for run­ning a marathon in his fire brigade uni­form.

Don­ning his level 2 gear, hel­met and run­ning shoes he headed to the start of the Queen­stown Marathon and com­pleted the 42km race in an im­pres­sive 4 hours and 45 min­utes - about an hour be­hind the time he set last year - with­out the uni­form.

‘‘I was wor­ried it might get too hot and I would cook my­self - which I al­most did any­way,’’ he said af­ter­ward.

Vol­un­teers at aid sta­tions help­ing him fill his Camelbak and sup­port from other run­ners and spec­ta­tors kept him go­ing while he swel­tered in­side his uni­form, he said. ‘‘I re­ally had no idea what it was go­ing to be like be­cause I’ve never run that dis­tance with gear - my aim was just to fin­ish.’’

He had to do that in a tight time frame, as he had a flight booked to Christchurch to get to his brother’s 40th birth­day party.

‘‘I had a quick five minute stop [af­ter com­plet­ing the race] ripped the gear off, raced home for a shower and rushed to the air­port.’’

Man­der­son, who has a day job as an air­craft en­gi­neer, said he did it as a per­sonal chal­lenge but also be­cause he was con­sid­er­ing en­ter­ing events such as the Sky Tower Stair Chal­lenge in fu­ture - where fire­fight­ers run the 51 storeys of the Auck­land Sky Tower car­ry­ing their full kit - in­clud­ing breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus.

The marathon was won by Auck­land-based Ir­ish­man Donal Sheehy, with the women’s event taken by the West Coast’s top cop Mel Aitken.

For Sheehy and sec­ond placed Richard Ussher it was the first stand-alone marathon they had run - al­though both had com­pleted full Iron­Man events in the past.

Queen­stown-based pro­fes­sional triath­lete Ja­son Hall, 24, broke the half marathon record by about two min­utes record­ing 1.12.23, af­ter win­ning an age group Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onship in Mooloolaba in Septem­ber.

The Block star Emma Di­a­mond, of Dunedin, was happy to fin­ish the 10km race in 1.09.54 af­ter do­ing very lit­tle train­ing.

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