1500m champion in marathon effort

Bella Bloomfield.
Bella Bloomfield.
For many, the marathon distance is 80% ability and 20% truth.

But for Otago 1500m champion Bella Bloomfield, her date with destiny in the Dunedin Marathon could well define her future direction in the sport.

With entries still coming in, total participation numbers across all categories and distances for the annual event next Sunday is ahead of the same time last year.

A field of

1800 to 2000 is expected to take one of the various course options, with  200 to 250 competitors expected to take up the challenge of running the 42.2km from Harington Point, on  Otago Peninsula, to Watson Park, Port Chalmers.

It may well be a coming of age for Bloomfield (24), a Dunedin personal trainer, as she steps up to the marathon distance for a second time in three months.

"Every year I think ‘I’m going to do the full marathon this year’, and I wimp out," she said.

It has been a full-on three months for Bloomfield after she contested the half-marathon of the Christchurch Marathon event at Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

Despite finishing in a personal-best by just over 3min when clocking 1hr 26min, she thought  she had short-changed herself, given all the training she had undertaken for the event.

"I just felt too good at the finish. I just had so much left.’’Bloomfield realised a planned visit to brother Jack in Wellington at the end of June coincided with the Wellington Marathon.

"I thought I’d just enter the half. But then I got carried away and entered the full."

"It was only two weeks out and I had to pay a late fee anyway. Like it was going to be $80 for the half or $100 for the full, so I thought well, I may as well do the full.

The emotional rush of finishing her first marathon on the Wellington course will never be forgotten.

"It was amazing. I couldn’t believe what time I did. When I crossed the finish line, I cried," she said of completing the distance for a first time.

She finished in 3hr 5min, with the  added bonus of being third in the senior women category  in an event that doubled as the New Zealand Marathon Championships.

She  ran virtually even splits on the course, going through the first half in 1hr 32min.She has recovered well  and  has been able to maintain a steady training schedule.

Form is certainly with Bloomfield. In early August, she clocked a personal-best for a 10km road race in the Clyde to Alexandra event, slicing almost 2min from her previous best to clock 38min 10sec.

Mixing quality with quantity in her training, Bloomfield said she felt at ease on the road and with distance.

"I just feel like I can hold my pace and don’t die quite as much," she said. 

She said she felt better suited to a  steady pace on road over distance.

Bloomfield said the key to the race would be staying relaxed and not being too focused on time.

"Obviously, it will be a bonus if I can get a PB. But I might not. I just want to take advantage of it being here.

"I’ll still do fine with it. If it gets my confidence up, then doing one, say, on the Gold Coast, Melbourne or whatever, then I’ll know I can at least do the distance."

- Wayne Parsons

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