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Records Tumble at Ohope Express

Monday, March 28, 2016

Records Tumble at Ohope Express

The race record and personal best times tumbled at the 2016 Podium Ohope Express on Saturday.

James Parsons, from Napier, smashed the record set last year by Stephen Lett by a whopping four minutes, in the process setting his own personal best of 1 hour 9 minutes and 17 seconds. Fellow Napier athlete Kristian Day also clocked his best half marathon time to finish 72 seconds behind Parsons. Third was Tauranga athlete Kyle MacDonald in 1:10.49.

Lett finished in fifth place improving his time from 2015.

The first-placed woman, Hamilton runner Sarah Murphy, was another to achieve her best finishing in 1:25.14. Megan Grant, Rotorua, finished second in 1:29.16 and Frances Stringfellow was third in 1:31.

Parsons said the field included lots of fast runners, which made for a “good excuse to take part”.

Ten minutes after his win and still obviously elated, Parsons said he had beaten his former personal best time by two minutes. On the strength of that he vowed to return to give the fast, flat Ohope course another attempt.

“Our coach led us out at a killer pace for the first seven kilometres and then I just had to grit my teeth and carry on. I’m so stoked,” he said.

The event run, by event management company Cheeky Rooster, attracted 545 runners and walkers of all ages. The event doubled as a fund raiser for the Diabetes, Exercise and Sport Association, with all proceeds from the 5km event going to DESA to fund a training camp for children recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The 10km event was won by Tauranga athlete Chris Myland (37:12). He was less than two minutes ahead of first female Zara Fowell (39:35), from Whakatane.

“I’m quite happy with that,” Fowell said after recording her first sub-40 minute time for the distance.

The student physiotherapist, based at Whakatane Hospital at present, said she usually ran half marathons but a slight injury prompted her to opt for the shorter distance and to treat it as a time trial.

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