Moloney to mix it up with the four Js

Matthew Moloney (Wellington Scottish), could well spoil the party for the four "Js" in tomorrow's 41st annual Dunedin Marathon.

It has been a year in which the 23-year-old has rediscovered his love of running through structuring a training regime around chosen events.

And the results have come.

"I now feel my running has purpose," he said.

Somewhat of a weekend warrior up until earlier this year, Moloney felt he was putting a lot of effort in for little reward, so changed to a structured programme, and the results were almost instantaneous. A personal-best marathon time fell to 2hr 39min 8sec when he finished fifth in the Wellington Marathon in June.

The benefits of adding structure to his running continued with a placing of 16th in the senior men's 10km race at the national cross-country championships earlier this month, with a time of 34min 6sec.

"I've put more thought into my training and how it's structured and being smart about how I manage myself," he said.

Moloney credits a lot of his recent rich vein of form to the massive depth within the Wellington Scottish ranks.

In tomorrow's marathon Moloney may again find himself going to battle in the top five against four runners whose names happen to start with J, including 2016 champion Jonah Smith (Caversham). As a 20-year-old in 2015, Smith finished second. He returned last year, finishing third behind Romain Mirosa and Nic Bathgate.

Completing the quartet of Js is New Zealand age-group triathlon international Jared Millar (26), from Timaru, and the Canterbury pair of ultra-distance specialist Jayden Anker (27) and Jeremy Trevathan (38).

Former Dunedin runner Mel Aitken will be having a crack at gaining a fourth title, a feat only achieved by Sarah Chisnal (Ariki).

Should she win, she will go one better than Wellington Scottish clubmate Carla Denneny, who finished runner-up last year. But ready to spoil Aitken's parade is Timaru-based ultra-distance international Toni Smith.

Given running can be a cagey business in such races, there are bound to be several dark horses in both the men's and women's fields, which could make for an intense battle of tactics up front.

While the marathon itself holds centre stage, subsidiary distance options entice participation. The half marathon section will once again host the New Zealand championships over this distance, attracting about 100 of the country's top distance runners to the event.

Among the early favourites for the national half marathon title are Toby Gualter (Olympic, Wellington), Oska Inkster-Baynes (University of Canterbury), Anthony Jackson (Hutt Valley Harriers), in the men and Sabrina Grogan (University of Canterbury), Bella Bloomfield (North Harbour Bays) and Katherine Morgan (Pakuranga), in the senior women's field.

Dunedin Marathon

The details

• Marathon starts at 8am at the Royal Albatross Colony car park 
• Half marathon starts at 8.30am from the Forsyth Barr Stadium car park
• 10km run starts at 8.40am from the Forsyth Barr Stadium car park at 8.40am.
• 5km run/walk section starts from the Forsyth Barr Stadium car park at 10.30am
• All events finish inside the stadium.

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