Runners’ marathon effort
Despite a headwind and driving rain, two men in the Kerikeri Half Marathon managed to complete 21km under the previous course record.
Craig Lautenslager from Nelson running his first half marathon also claimed the New Zealand Half Marathon title in a time of 1.04.58, while runner-up Oska Baynes also completed the 21.1km course under the previous record of 1.05.14 which has stood since 1999.
‘‘Oska was just hammering the whole time,’’ Lautenslager said.
‘‘I was hoping to go under 1.05 and was a little surprised to get that time in the conditions. I couldn’t have done that time without Oska out there.’’
Annika Pfitzinger claimed the New Zealand Women’s Half Marathon title, beating her previous personal best by two minutes to record a winning time of 1.15.57.
Auckland’s Nigel Baker had a victory of his own in this year’s event - he didn’t make it to the finish line in 2016, after he suffered a cardiac arrest at the 19km mark.
Friends and fellow competitors performed CPR, before emergency services stepped in.
Baker said he felt like he needed to return this year to raise money for the Northland Rescue Helicopter, which transported him to Auckland Hospital, and for his own mental health.
‘‘It felt good going past the markets [where he collapsed in 2016] and it was really special to run the last 7km with my brother and his wife,’’ Baker says.
Baker says it will be the last half marathon he will do for a while and was looking forward to doing more fishing with his son on Saturdays.
Just ten weeks after a double bypass surgery, Baker was back running.
‘‘My cardiologist wasn’t sure whether I should have done it - but I’m here and I’m still standing.’’
More than $3700 was raised by Baker for the Northland Rescue Helicopter.
Heavy rain forced the cancellation of the prizegiving and the annual Kerikeri Street Party.
Street party spokeswoman Tracey Bree says the event could not be held as they were unable to have power to the street in the conditions.
‘‘Public safety was mount,’’ Bree says.
The possibility of holding the street party on another date was being looking into, she says. para-
Rachel Yuretich from Kaitaia strides out around the 7km mark.