'Shattered', but worth it in the long run

Michael Smith took on the challenge to raise awareness and some cash for community support centre...
Michael Smith took on the challenge to raise awareness and some cash for community support centre Happiness House. Photo Givealittle
Runners pour along Park St, Queenstown, against a backdrop of The Remarkables. Photo: Guy Williams
Runners pour along Park St, Queenstown, against a backdrop of The Remarkables. Photo: Guy Williams
Lake Hayes was a picturesque feature of the marathon route. Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Lake Hayes was a picturesque feature of the marathon route. Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

The weather gods came to the party with a perfect day for the Queenstown International Marathon on Saturday.

However, it became a little hot and sticky for one plucky Englishman, who ran his first marathon in a "big, fluffy kiwi" suit.

Michael Smith (26), who has lived in the resort for six months, took on the challenge to raise awareness and some cash for community support centre Happiness House.

He told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he was still exhausted, 24 hours later.

"I’m absolutely shattered."

Although he felt comfortable during the first half of the race, he began to suffer as the temperature climbed.

"The feathers started to stick to me."

As runners passed him, many asked if he regretted wearing the suit.

"I told them I regretted it about 10km ago."

Although he was unsure if he would be living in Queenstown in a year’s time, the marathon was "certainly worth coming back for".

His employer, Skydive Paradise, was giving a free skydive to the Givealittle donor who got closest to picking his finishing time.

He expected to name the winner, and add up the money raised for Happiness House, in the next couple of days.

Race director Nicole Fairweather said the "picture postcard day" would leave a lasting imprint on the more than 9800 runners who took part in the event, and especially the overseas athletes and their supporters.

The participation of 520 volunteers in running the event meant $18,000 had been raised for the community groups they represented.

Organisers had also given $40,000 to the event’s official charity, the Queenstown Trails Trust. The money  was raised from a portion of entry fees and runners’ donations.

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