Queen’s birthday half marathon

Graham Lawler outside Gareth and Jo Morgan’s home. Photo: John Borren.

For the past six years, Graham Lawler has been hanging a sign from Gareth and Jo Morgan’s balcony, advertising the Mount Maunganui Runners and Walkers Club’s Half Marathon at Queen’s Birthday weekend.

“It’s easy to see why Gareth and Jo and many others are so supportive of the club which provides something for everyone, from the serious marathon runner to young children having a fun event on Mount Main Beach,” says Graham.

This year which is the 35th anniversary of the popular event is expected to pull in more than 1200 runners and walkers.

Organised annually by the club, the Half Marathon run/walk is the main feature event, but there are also 10km and 5km run/walk options, all completing a circumnavigation of the Mauao base track.

An extra KidsK course with gold coin entry will be held on the Mount Main Beach.

The spectator-friendly course takes in the beautiful Mauao base track views, and a ‘personal best’ bell has proved very popular so that’ll be back again this year.

“When competitors come across the line with a personal best, they get to ring the bell to tell the world!” says Graham.

“It’s so fantastic to see all the smiling faces as people ring the bell to celebrate completing their first half marathon, doing their fastest time or for doing their first event after a break from running!”

One of the least expensive half marathons in New Zealand, everyone who finishes gets a medal, with profits reinvested into the next year’s event. This means it just keeps getting better.

“In past years the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service and the Western Bay Wildlife Trust have benefited from funds raised from the event.

“It’s been growing over the past few years. It’s open to all age groups and a lot more families have entered in recent years, often with one parent doing the half or 10km, then the other parent or grandparent doing the 5km with the kids. It’s a great way for parents to set an example and for families to do something together.”

Whether the goal is to get fit, stay fit, go faster or go further, having an event to aim for helps keep people strongly focused. And the feedback from past events reflects how the friendly atmosphere and vibe is also a major drawcard. The course layout keeps everyone tight with supporters, spectators and marshals close by.

To register to enter the Mount Maunganui Runners and Walkers Half Marathon on Sunday, June 6, go to: www.mtrunnershalfmarathon.co.nz

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