AUSSIES TAKE OUT ASB AUCKLAND MARATHON
Australians might have taken a little friendly ribbing about recent sporting results while on the start line at the ASB Auckland Marathon this morning, but by the finish line they had done plenty to reclaim their sporting honour, with David Criniti (Sydney) and Fiona Yates (Sydney) taking the men’s and women’s races, with Yates posting a personal best time of 2:48:26 in the process.
Conditions started overcast and drizzly at Devonport, with the cold weather front finally hitting Auckland with heavy rain falling overnight, but those early showers would eventually clear leaving the 15,300 runners across the five events in near perfect conditions.
First to show in the men’s race was pre-race favourite Isaias Beyn (Australia), the former Eritrean set the early tempo with only ultra-runner Andy Good (Christchurch) prepared to go toe to toe with the diminutive refugee.
At the base of the Bridge Beyn made a move, extending his lead to over 20 metres as they made the top, and continued to extend that lead over the middle part of the race while Good was paying a price for his early pace.
Beyn too though hit something of a wall, fading noticeably with 5km to run and Criniti made his move.
“I wasn’t thinking of catching Isaias at that point, until probably 34k, I seemed to go well at the turn and I was concentrating on maintaining and extending the gap on Daniel. But gradually I got him in my sights, I reeled him in at about 38 or 39k and thought I might get away with this. But he kept with me for a kilometer and I questioned if I had it in me, but he eventually he fell away and I held on for the win so I am happy about that.
“I had heard about Isaias, I didn’t know about Andy. To be honest in the dark my eyesight is not great and about 5k in I turned and said to Daniel ‘is it just one guy in front of us’ – and he said, nah, there are a couple. I thought oh dear… I knew about Isaias and was happy to let him go, but I didn’t know about Andy and whether we should be worried about him.
“But you have to worry about your own race, Daniel and I paced each other well until the bridge and I then started to move away. By that stage Andy was falling back and when you get a guy in your sights, you just reel him in.
“The scenery was great, especially running along next to the water in the second half, the crowd support was amazing, and the atmosphere is great thanks to the cheering crowd, so well-done Auckland.”
Jones (Wellington) finished strongly to nudge ahead of Beyn for second place, with the former Eritrean holding on for third.
In the women’s race Fiona Yates was an impressive winner in what was just the third marathon for the Sydneysider.
“I tried to hold my pace early on, thought I was perhaps going a little quicker than I had planned but then thought I am just running my own race and if I blow up, I blow up! But I didn’t, and I just felt stronger and stronger, I saw a couple of the other girls, but it was a complete surprise crossing the line at the end.
“I think it was only at the end, I thought the other girls were miles in front of me, but around the 40km mark I looked up and saw a crop top and the lead bike so I just chased hard. I ran with a guy, don’t know who he was, but we went passed and I managed to hold on.
“The crowd was really supportive, even on the bridge the photographers were great. A lot of people where cheering and saying my name, so it was really nice.”
Second was another Aussie in Margaret Campbell, albeit she has called New Zealand home for over two years now, first in Auckland and recently in Dunedin. Campbell was full of praise for Yates, but just didn’t have the prep to give her any strength over the closing few kilometers.
“Huge credit to Fiona, she ran a great race and was too good today. When she went past with about 1200m to go I just had nothing to go with her. I have had a few gastro intestinal issues in the lead up and just had no strength over those closing kilometers.
“I am happy with my race though and very much enjoyed what was kind of a ‘home’ race for me coming back to Auckland. Conditions were great, and the atmosphere made for a good day.”
Defending champion Hannah Oldroyd came home in third place, with her trademark smile to the fore immediately upon crossing the line.
Naming rights partner ASB was delighted with the showing on the day, with many runners and walkers helping make a difference in their community by signing up to the ASB Marathon Effort program.
“ASB would like to congratulate each and every person who competed in this year’s ASB Auckland Marathon, whether that be a full marathon or the 2.2km Kids Marathon and everything in between,” ASB head of community and sponsorship Mark Graham says.
“A special thank you to everyone who signed up for the ASB Marathon Effort – for every minute you ran, ASB staff will be matching this with a minute of work in the community over the next year so thank you for your support and we look forward to sharing the great work we will be doing in local communities because of this.
“Thank you for your hard work, and the countless hours put in to train and prepare for today, and to make this another successful year of the ASB Auckland Marathon.”
The Barfoot & Thompson Half Marathon titles were won impressively by Oska Baynes (Christchurch) as he looks to put a year of ill health behind him, while in the women’s Commonwealth Games representative over 5,000 and 10,000 metres Camille Buscombe won in 1:16:27. Aucklanders Ruth Gluckman and Jack Moody won the John West 12km Traverse.