Rowan Hooper, of Canterbury, finishes second in last year's
national cross-country championships at Wingatui
racecourse. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Canterbury champion Rowan Hooper is not only adamant he
intends to defend Dunedin's Moro Marathon title but is aiming
to break the course record.
With less than two weeks until Dunedin's premier running and
walking event takes place on a course around the waterfront
on September 14, organisers are anticipating another record
number of entries, surpassing the 1750 that competed last
Among those already committed and making no secret of their
intention is last year's marathon champion, Hooper, who came
within 56sec of snatching Paul Allison's mark of 2hrs 24min
31sec achieved in 1993.
The 29-year-old carbon analyst from Christchurch is coming
off another successful winter season in which he has finished
runner-up in the national cross-country championships for the
second consecutive year, and an impressive first in an
international-class field in the Canterbury marathon, run in
2hrs 21min 40sec, at Queens Birthday weekend.
Hooper is sure the experience and knowledge gained on the
course last year will assist in his attempt at lowering the
record established by Allison.
"This event fits in nicely with my schedule," Hooper said
"I think the time is very gettable, but there's still a
number of factors that come in to achieving that."
Hooper decided to contest the Dunedin event instead of an
Australian marathon in the coming months because of timing.
He is building up stamina for the track season, where his
goal is to achieve a sub-14min time for the 5000m.
Hooper is sacrificing the possibility of a medal in the
national road championships to focus on Dunedin's marathon.
"I'm keen to have a go and give the record a really good
crack," he said.
His recovery process and build-up since his victory on the
Christchurch course at Queen's Birthday has involved
preparation work for the Dunedin event.
Hooper is yet to be defeated in a marathon in New Zealand,
having won in Dunedin last year and in Christchurch in June.
His first two marathons were in Sacramento and London.
One of Hooper's attributes is his ability to judge his pace,
a factor that helped secure his success to date.
Once again Dunedin's marathon has attracted not only national
interest, but international interest as well with a number of
overseas-based runners declaring an interest.
Among the early favourites in the women's section of the full
marathon are Canterbury's Rosa Scott and Rachel Harrison.