Top Price for marathon man

Friday March 29, 2019 Written by Published in Other Sports

Three hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds is how long it took Australian runner Stuart Price to claim the version two of the BSP Aitutaki Marathon Pursuit in Paradise race.

 

He clocked a time one minute faster than inaugural Pursuit in Paradise winner and local triathlete Kelly Pick across the 42.2km course that criss-crossed the island of Aitutaki.

What the pair have in common though, is that their individual wins, was also their first ever marathon race titles.

Price set a blistering pace from the starting hooter at 5.30am on Tuesday with the second place getter crossing just under an hour later.

That second place getter was none other than event gold sponsor’s BSP’s country manager David Street crossing in a time of 4:33:55.

In his sponsor’s speech on the prize giving night of the event Street recalled how event coordinator Stephen Doherty of Turama Pacific Travel Group had told him it would be cruisey race with some progressive inclines. One particular “progressive incline” happen to be nicknamed the “Devil’s Staircase” with fellow runners on the 42.2km course crossing the line uttering it was the toughest race with the hill climbs seriously testing their mettle.

Local triathlon legend Kevin Henderson, who won his 60-69 years age category in a time of 4.57.28, crossed the line barefoot and said, “that was the hardest race I’ve ever done!”

Jodi Johnson of the USA took out the first female title placing 6th overall in the race with husband Jay Johnson crossing the line in 5:33:11 from a field of 11 racers in the full marathon.

 As well as the full marathon, 13 runners took on the half marathon 21.1km course and 15 runners in the 10km course.

In the half marathon race, running legend and long-time friend of the Cook Islands Greg Gustafson won the race in a time of 1:47:08 and also claiming first place in his men’s 60-69 year age group.

The race also confirmed for Gustafson that his hip surgery and recovery has gone well and he’s set to pound the pavements again.

Second place in the half marathon went to German runner Bastian Boddenberg while 15-year old Aitutaki lad Ruatiaki Joseph was the hero of the 10km course winning the race in 59:58 and eyeing up the longer course next year. Second place went to Italian runner Marco Quartino (men 50-59) in a time of 1:02:56.

The event was another huge success with runners who crossed the line saying “I’m broken” or “that was hell” eagerly lining up to register again for the Aitutaki marathon not only to tackle the tough race again but to also experience the incredible support by locals, particular the school kids who manned water stations and cheered every single runner on including running with the last competitors to get them across the line.

In the end – the major winner of the marathon is the island and people of Aitutaki.

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