Visiting Rarotonga runners including BSP country manager David Street who is the solo 42km runner in this year’s event. SUPPLIED/21032650
By the time you’ve had your maroro breakfast and coffee this Saturday morning – Aitutaki marathon runners will have crossed the finish line and be celebrating lagoon side.
Twenty-six runners and walkers were registered
to set out across the island of Aitutaki early this morning challenging their
fitness across the short 10km course, half marathon 21km race and the main 42km
Despite being the only runner registered in
the gruelling 42km marathon, Bank South Pacific country manager David Street
had no intentions of taking it easy.
Undaunted, his main opponent is the clock as
he set his goal to better his previous Aitutaki Marathon time set at the 2019
marathon where he placed 2nd overall with a time of 4:33:55.
No stranger to pounding the pavement, Street
was the ‘local only’ 2020 Round Rarotonga Road Race winner and looks set to be
the second local resident to win the Aitutaki Marathon.
At the inaugural event in 2018, top triathlete
Kelly Pick was the first winner of the event which was won in 2019 by
Australian Stuart Price.
Street was scheduled to set out on his 42km
challenge at 5.30 this morning followed by six runners and walkers in the 21km
course at 6.30am and 18 competitors in the 10km course to set off the start
line at 7.30am. Among the starters are speedsters from Rarotonga and Aitutaki
including Fiji trained runners and staff of Pacific Resort.
Members of the Func Fit and Body Combat
fitness groups which have taken off on the island of Aitutaki were also on the
start line to showcase their new healthy lifestyles.
The fitness group members were out in force at
last night’s 5km community fun run on the Aitutaki airport runway as part of
the Aitutaki Marathon week of events.
Close to 100 people both adults and small
children took part in the community event with gold coin donation funds raised
going towards junior athletics development on Aitutaki.
It was an opportunity for Aitutaki runners to
check out the visiting Rarotonga competition and set their plan of attack for
the early morning run.
There was light teasing among the mama and
papa participants at the fun run who egged each other on to join the 42km race
and give David Street a run and win a prize even if it took them all day to
complete the course!
Aitutaki Marathon event organisers from Turama
Pacific Travel Group’s Destination Management Cook Islands (DMCK) team are
proud to be able to roll out the 2021 Aitutaki Marathon considering the
challenges caused by the global pandemic that saw the 2020 event cancelled with
over 60 international runners unable to live out their Pursuit in Paradise
However, with generous on-going local
sponsorship support from Bank South Pacific, Cook Islands Tourism, Vodafone and
the Aitutaki Toa Moana Outrigger club as well as the overwhelming support from
the local community – the 2021 event will showcase the tenacity of the Cook
Islands people in these trying times and show the world we are, once Covid is
brought under control, ready to welcome them back to play in paradise.