NEW YORK MARATHON WINNING AUSSIE SUPERSTAR HEADLINES ASB AUCKLAND MARATHON WHEELCHAIR RACE
This Sunday’s ASB Auckland Marathon will be graced by the winner of the 2016 New York Marathon, with ten-time Australian National Champion Michael Taylor heading across the Tasman to take on the handcycle division in the wheelchair race.
In just its second year after a successful pilot in 2018, Taylor is arguably the biggest star the event has attracted and in the absence of defending champion Brendan Stratton (New Zealand), will start a warm favourite in Sunday morning’s race.
Taylor is in a relaxed frame of mind in what looms as his final event in a busy year.
“My objective is just to have a good race and race to a plan, like everyone I want to win but only one person can and there are other goals we can all look to achieve, a personal best along the way regardless of the result will be awesome.
“If the conditions are good I will look to have a crack at the course record set by Brendan last year, I will certainly leave it all out there as this is the last race of a long season – well, at the moment that is the plan anyway!”
Taylor won the 2016 New York Marathon and that same year was 5th in Washington so knows what is required to travel and win on the world stage. The Disability Employment Consultant enjoys that aspect of racing, as well as the camaraderie amongst his fellow athletes.
“I find the challenge of getting on any podium exhilarating, but I do enjoy the competition and the opportunity to mix and mingle with new athletes. I enjoy sharing ideas and am always up for a chat, sometimes even while on course during a race!”
Competition for Taylor in the men’s handcycle race will likely come from Jason McGregor (third last year) while Auckland athlete Ian Winson is competing over the marathon distance for the first time but has been posting training times on par with Jason so should be in the mix.
Tiffiney Perry will be the only female competitor in the hand cycle division and is looking to go even quicker than last year. The Waikato athlete has extensive experience in World Cups, World Championship and various New York marathon events, like Taylor being a winner of her category at the prestigious big apple event.
It is another Aussie though that may be the one Perry is chasing in the form of Natasha Price, the Aussie is training towards a possible appearance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
In the push rim event Laura Stuart at lasts makes it to the start line after missing last year though injury. Stuart was the recipient of the race chair from ASB and will at last be able to return the favour with what she hopes will be a strong showing.
In the men’s push rim event Dan Buckingham returns but the decorated Wheel Black will face stern opposition from former Olympic Rower Danny McBride, while Brendan Mes is a first timer over the distance.
Achilles New Zealand has been instrumental in the setting up of the race and Brendan Loft, Auckland Chapter Lead is delighted to see new and familiar faces returning for the second edition in 2019.
“I am really excited to have the wheelchair racing as a permanent feature of ASB Auckland Marathon and look forward to helping grow the prominence of this event with the racing community of New Zealand and overseas.”
The wheelchair athletes will have first dibs on the course, getting underway at 5:55am from Devonport and racing their way towards Albany before heading back towards and over the Harbour Bridge and a spectacular ride down the city side towards the finish line at Victoria Park.
2019 ASB Auckland Marathon Wheelchair Race Competitors
Phil Booth, Hamilton; Dan Buckingham, Auckland; Brad Hayward, Paraparaumu; Selwyn Jensen, Fielding; Danny McBride, Tirau; Jason McGregor, Australia; Brendan Mes, Hamilton; Wesley Pigg, Auckland; Michael Taylor, Australia; Ian Winson, Auckland.
Tiffiney Perry, Waikato; Natasha Price, Australia; Laura Stuart, Wellington.