Balchin ‘stoked’ with major win

Daniel Balchin maintains a steady pace to win the Auckland Marathon. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Daniel Balchin maintains a steady pace to win the Auckland Marathon. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Daniel Balchin could not stop smiling after going one better on Sunday.

Balchin, who still has University of Canterbury on his singlet but lives in Alexandra and is a former Caversham runner, won the Auckland Marathon for the first time.

He broke the ribbon in 2hr 23min 9sec, beating Auckland-based British runner Luke Cotter and Australian Robert Collins.

"I’m absolutely stoked," Balchin said.

"This is one of the major marathons in the country, so it means a lot to me to be able to tick this one off."

Victory was even sweeter for Balchin as he had to settle for second last year in a tight finish.

"This is a bit of unfinished business for me. It was really nice to be able to tick this one off, especially after I came in second place last year.

"I’ve really just started my marathon journey.

"It’s my second year doing marathons so being able to get my name on the biggest marathon in the country is really awesome."

While Balchin was a new champion in Auckland, the familiar face of Wellington runner Alice Mason claimed the women’s title.

Mason added the 2023 crown to the one she last won in 2020, finishing in 2hr 44min 20sec.

Auckland athlete Amelia Lythe was runner-up and Whangārei’s Mallory Wordell third.

Mason welcomed her son into the world last year and has since been juggling marathon training around life as a mum.

"We were up all night last night and training is quite different but I guess it puts it all in perspective," Mason said.

"It’s still cool to be able to do it but I think it maybe shifts the perspective a bit, which is probably healthy.

"It’s cool to hopefully one day be able to show him that we did this."

A course record was set in the men’s half-marathon, Australian runner Tim Vincent setting a blistering early pace to break away from a strong field and capture his first title on foreign soil.

Vincent finished the 21.1 km in 1hr 4min 37sec, lowering the previous course record by nearly a minute.

The Queenslander edged out defending champion Julian Oakley (Tauranga), and 2021 winner Michael Voss (Rotorua).

The women’s half-marathon was won by Aucklander Lisa Cross in 1hr 16min 32sec, adding a third half-marathon title to her two Auckland Marathon titles.

— Staff reporter