Record Racing & Recession Busting

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Fri 18/May/12 10:07am

Six weeks out from the Armstrong Motor Group Wellington Marathon and records are already being broken.

On Sunday 24 June close to 5000 runners and walkers from at least nine countries and all ends of New Zealand will line up at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium for the 27th annual Armstrong Motor Group Wellington Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and Kids’ Magic Mile. If so, it will be the biggest marathon event ever staged in New Zealand’s Capital City.

This is the continuation of the Wellington Marathon Clinic event’s reputation as New Zealand’s fastest-growing running event. Established in 1985 by the Wellington Marathon Clinic, for almost 20 years this race was a popular but modest mid-winter goal attracting less than 1000 entrants. But eight years ago a change in venue to the popular Westpac Stadium was an overnight hit that has seen participation increase by over 500 percent.

Race Director, Sally Anderson, admits this year’s record entry has taken even her by surprise. “In the last three years we’ve had entries in the 4000’s, but right now we’re 10 percent ahead on where we have normally been six weeks out, so we’re hoping maybe the event might crack 5000 for the first time.”

Certainly the combined marathon, half marathon, 10k and Kids’ Magic Mile is defying the continuing financial recession, which Anderson puts down to a combination of factors coming together.

“People today place more value on their health and fitness,” says Anderson. “Simple and cost-effective activities such as running and walking are enjoying unprecedented growth, so good events haven’t been affected by the recession. Our waterfront course is very scenic, we cater for all age and ability, and Wellington is a great destination for a weekend away.”

Of entries thus far, women make up just over 60 percent of the field. But all eyes will be Nelson’s Phil Costley, who at age 42 won his 31st national title earlier this year but who has never before toed the start line of the Armstrong Motor Group Wellington Marathon.

But even the ever-green Costley can’t hold a match to Wellington’s own Francis Forsyth, who at age 72 will take on the half marathon walk for the first time.

“It’s pretty inspiring to see someone like Francis talking on new challenges later in life,” says Anderson.

“It shows us that it’s never too late and that we can all achieve goals we might have thought beyond us. That’s one of the reasons we organise this event.”

The 2012 Armstrong Motor Group Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and Kids’ Magic Mile is scheduled for Sunday June 24. For information and to enter visit www.wellingtonmarathon.co.nz, or pick up an entry form at Armstrong Motor Group and Shoe Clinic stores.
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