2015 Queenstown Marathon Preview

2015 Queenstown Marathon Preview- Andrew Town gives us a run down on this weekends 2nd running of the Queenstown Marathon. 

The second annual Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon takes place this coming Saturday morning and a record 9,000 athletes from all parts of NZ and the globe are lining up to contest one of the three distances on offer, these include the full marathon, the half marathon and the 10km dash!

The Marathon course follows a scenic point to point route from the picturesque Millbrook Resort and follows the Queenstown Trail’s Trust trail into central Queenstown, there is a good variety of trail and road to negotiate and a few gentle undulations along the way, it finishes in the Queenstown Recreation Ground.

This year will see a total of 2,000 athletes lining up for the Marathon distance, expect  fierce and exciting competition at the business  end of both the men’s and the women’s  race this year.

James Parsons crossing for the win in last years Qt Marathon.

James Parsons crossing for the win in last years Qt Marathon. James is defending his title in 2015.

The men’s field includes last year’s winner James Parsons 28 of Napier who will be gunning to retain his title, with him is Hirotaka Tanimoto 30 of Wellington, Tanimoto won this year’s Christchurch Marathon, added into the mix are Stephen Lett 31 of Auckland, winner of the 2014 Auckland Marathon, and Wanaka triathlete Ben Logan 30, who is also raising funds for the Epilepsy Collective foundation, expect young Ben to lay his heart on the line for this personal campaign. Keep an eye too on Sweden runner Simon Karlsson 26 for a possible dark horse surprise result.

The women’s field is equally exciting on paper! It appears it will be a possible 4 way battle, with Australian based orthodontist Dr Vic Beck 33, last year’s marathon winner who has travelled back to retain her title,  she will have the evergreen Mel  Aitkin 38 a Police Inspector from Dunedin to contend with. Mel was second in this race last year, but she is something of a different runner now, with numerous NZ titles under her belt since last year, and plenty of experience to boot. Keeping both of these young ladies honest will be Yingjie Sun 36 from Beijing, China and Shannon-Leigh Litt 36 of Christchurch.

In the Half Marathon where, 5,000 athletes are lining up this yea,r it will be a battle royal in the men’s race between last year’s winner  Adam  Jaques  28 of Christchurch up against fellow Cantabrian Chris Dunell 28. But don’t be at all surprised if local Queenstowner  Thijs Hubber 32puts the pressure these two and wins the race, he is a fast and experienced athlete  and was 2nd in the2015 Dunedin Marathon.

The women’s field sees the return of both the the winner of the 2014 Queenstown Half, Lizzie Spencer 30 of Christchurch and runner up Sarah Gardiner 39 also of Christchurch. Expect both these ladies to be at or close to the front pack with the very likely company of Australia’s Claire Ashworth 29 who has a Half PB of 1:16:17.

Best of luck to all the runners and let’s hope for better conditions from the weather gods for this years running.

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