Mission accomplished for top runner

Tuesday September 26, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Cook Islands Kevin Henderson (bare feet) leads the charge in the 31km Round Rarotonga Road Race along the Arorangi stretch on Saturday morning. 17092509 Cook Islands Kevin Henderson (bare feet) leads the charge in the 31km Round Rarotonga Road Race along the Arorangi stretch on Saturday morning. 17092509

It was mission accomplished for Brisbane runner Matthew Cooper who returned to the Round Rarotonga Road Race with an aim to better his previous time.


In 2011, Cooper ran in his first Round Rarotonga Race and won the event with a time of 2 hours and 7 minutes.

In the 40th Round Rarotonga Race which was held on Saturday, he managed to not only claim his second 31 kilometre race title but also win it with a much better time. He clocked 1hr 56.06 mins.

“I came here in 2011 and won it in 2 hours and 7 minutes. I was happy that I won, but I was always aware that I won it with one of the slowest win time that has been around,” said Cooper.

“I kept an eye out on the race since then and I was pretty sure I could knock 10 minutes off if I ran really well. So I managed to achieve that goal and it’s really an awesome feeling.”

Cooper led from the start, maintaining his pace and leaving the rest behind to cross the finish line almost 30 minutes before the second place finisher and fellow Australian Matthew Allen.

“Winning in the 40th year of the event means a lot to me. It’s definitely one of the highlights of my life.”

First-timer Ester George of New Zealand was the first female to cross the line in a time of 2 hours 19.43 minutes.

“I didn’t know what to expect. This is my first time in the race and I just wanted to go out there and do my best,” she said.

“It’s amazing to finish on top and I’m definitely returning next year with more people from Wellington.”


10km Run – Men & Women Section, presented by Island Car & Bike Hire: Men Section - Bryn Parry (NZ) 39min 46sec, Garrick Stephenson (NZ) 40min; Women - Adrianna Skurosz (Local) 46min 58sec, Fiona Pekepo (Local) 47min 52sec. 10km Walk – Men & Women Section presented by BSP: Men - Neal Utting (NZ) 1hr 19min 5sec, Dave Rangi (Local) 1hr 22min 55sec; Women - Hermione Morgan (NZ) 1hr 15min 10sec, Karen Hubbard (NZ) 1hr 16min 2sec.

Cook Islanders Award – Men & Women Section presented by Blue Sky: Men - Selwyn Cleland (Local) 2hr 24min 51sec, Richard Vinsen (Gold Sponsor for RRRR17) 2hr 30min 30sec; Women - Harriet Browning (Local) 2hr 38min 31sec, Lucy McDonald (Local)3hr 6min 37sec. 31km Walk – Women in Age Group Section, presented BSP: Open Women - Lubna Otto (Local) 5hr 36min; 35-44 - Trish Tuthill (NZ) 4hr 39min 29sec, Leonora Subaste (Local) 4hr 52min 42sec; 45-54 - Kerris Browne (NZ) 4hr 15min 21sec, Suzy Monds (NZ) 4hr 40min 3sec; 55-64 - Christine Hosking (NZ) 3hr 56min 28sec; 65+ - Judith Crozier (NZ) 4hr 3min 11sec, Chris Leahy (NZ) 4hr 7min 13sec. 31km Walk –. Men in Age Group Section presented by Bluesky: Open Men - Rainer Thompson (Local) 4hr 56min 4sec; 50-59  - Mike Wharton (NZ) 4hr 39min 30sec, Dave Frampton (NZ) 4hr 48min 8sec; 60-69 - Neil Butler (NZ) 3hr 37min 51sec; 70+ - William Hood (NZ) 4hr 26min 57sec. 31km Walk Section. Overall Men & Women presented by Turama Pacific Travel Group: Men - Neil Butler (NZ) 3hr 37min 51sec, Alan West (NZ) 3hr 57min 32sec; Women - Christine Hosking (NZ) 3hr 56min 28sec, Helen Baldock (NZ) 4hr 1 min 45sec. 31km Run – Women & Men in Age Group Section: Men 70+ - Rodney Green (NZ) 4hr 4min 43sec; Women 65+ - Yvonne West (NZ) 2hr 57min 31sec; Men 60-69 Richard Vinsen (Local 2hr 30min 30sec, Stephen Smith (NZ) 2hr 33min 34sec; Women 55-64 - Kathy Jackson (NZ) 2hr 48min 26sec, Claire Giles (NZ) 3hr 7min 8sec; Men 50-59 - Chris Smith (NZ) 2hr 7min 27sec, Mike Bray (NZ)  2hr 21min 3sec; Women 45-54 - Jodie Brown (NZ) 2hr 51min 48sec, Retta Dunn (NZ) 2hr 54min 58sec; Men 40-49 - Adrian Lysaght (NZ), Andrew Marrington (US) 2hr 32min 8sec; Women 35-44 - Renae Jones (NZ) 2hr 26min 48sec, Justine Hurley (NZ) 3hr 02min 25sec; Open Men - Matt Cooper (AUS) 1hr 56min 6sec, Matthew Allen (Australia) 2hr 23min 26sec; Open Women - Ester George (NZ) 2hr 19min 43sec, Melissa O’Brien (NZ) 2hr 21min 26sec. Overall Winner for the 40th Island Car & Bike Hire Round Rarotonga Road Race 2017: Matt Cooper (Australia) 1hr 56min 6sec

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