Sunday 03 November 2024

Thousands Take To The Streets For The 2023 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Marathon

30 October 2023
Thousands Take To The Streets For The 2023 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Marathon

Thousands of eager runners rose early this morning to take part in the 32nd edition of New Zealand’s largest and most iconic running event, the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Marathon.

With athletes streaming across the finish line all morning, the thousands of spectators gathered in Victoria Park had plenty to celebrate as they cheered their friends and family home – a welcome tonic to the All Blacks’ gut-wrenching loss in the Rugby World Cup final.

The first athlete across the Victoria Park finish line was Barfoot & Thompson Wheelchair Marathon winner Michael Taylor, who added a third Auckland Marathon title to his impressive resume.

Not long after the wheelchair racers and half marathon elite athletes were finished, runners began to cross the finish line thick and fast.

With the Rugby World Cup final kicking off at 8am, many runners were aiming for personal best times to make it to the finish line to catch a glimpse of the action. Amongst those runners was Joshua Irving, who ran the Garmin Half Marathon donned in his black jersey – making it to Victoria Park with plenty of time to catch the second half.

“I feel good now that I’ve finished,” said Joshua. “It was daunting at the start thinking we’d get blown around, but the bit of wind probably helped, it was a crosswind at worst, if not a bit of help over the bridge so that was good.

“I was thinking about the game while I was running, and there were a few who were watching and listening to it so I got some score updates, but I didn’t pay much attention, but I will now I’ve crossed the line,” he said. “The whole family is down at the finish line to watch the game with the crowd.”

Each athlete out on course today had their reason for running and a story to tell, but for many running for charity, there was an extra slice of motivation.

By completing the Auckland Half Marathon today, Genevieve Clark has ticked off a major goal in her recovery from bowel cancer, while raising thousands of dollars for charity in the process.

“I feel exhausted, but it was really good. The course was great, but I ran way too fast in the first seven km as you do. The bridge wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and then just hanging on for the last four km was the big challenge,” said Genevieve.

“It means a lot to finish this race, it just means drawing a line under it all and moving on. I’m also just feeling really good about managing to do some good for Bowel Cancer New Zealand as well, raising close to $6,000 for the charity, so I’m really pleased about that.”

Like Bowel Cancer New Zealand, the Starship Foundation is an official charity partner of the 2023 Auckland Marathon. Athletes running for the Starship Foundation have already raised over $150,000 for the charity this year.

Matthew Farrow is one of those Charity Superstars who ran the Auckland Marathon to raise money for Starship.

“I wanted to run for Starship because they’ve done an awesome job for my son who’s been there a few times. Knowing they run off volunteer donations, any little bit that I can do is really going to help them,” said Matthew. “My race went well, 42 kilometres is really tough so the last few kilometres were a struggle, but there’s a lot of support out there on the course which made it a bit easier to get across the line.”

The Starship Foundation CEO Joanna Simon says events like the Auckland Marathon are vital for the charity.

“We couldn’t survive with events like this and the amazing people who give up their time to run and raise money for us,” she said. “It’s the difference between the transformational projects we can do for the children in our care, so it’s wonderful.”

The Auckland Marathon is known for it’s family-friendly atmosphere, and today hundreds of runners crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with their loved ones.

Jazz Sutherland took on the One New Zealand 11km Traverse for the first time today, alongside her mum Maureen Sutherland. Jazz has progressed to the 11km after starting out in the Barfoot & Thompson Kids Marathon a few years ago and has also completed the 5km.

“It was awesome, heaps of fun,” said Maureen. “I’ve done the 11km with my older three kids when they were about this age, so it was her turn. It’s such an awesome event, great atmosphere. We’ve progressed through, she started doing the kids run when she was six years old, and then 5km and now the 11km.”

“My favourite part of the course was going over the Harbour Bridge,” Jazz added.

The Auckland Marathon offers runners the once-a-year opportunity to cross the Harbour Bridge on foot and is always the highlight of the event for the thousands who take part each year.

While most take their time over the bridge, soaking in the views of the city skyline and in many cases stopping for selfies, two speedy runners took out the overall ‘Blitz the Bridge’ fastest times. The women’s half marathon winner Lisa Cross was the fastest female from the bottom to the top of the Harbour Bridge in 00:03:18, while Simon Mace was the fastest male in 00:02:41.


Sun, 03 Nov 2024