Galloway triumphs in personal best time

Tom Galloway, of Christchurch, on his way to winning the Dunedin marathon yesterday. PHOTO:...
Tom Galloway, of Christchurch, on his way to winning the Dunedin marathon yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Turning 31 in two weeks’ time, Canterbury's Tom Galloway handed himself an early birthday present with victory in the Dunedin Marathon and eclipsing his personal best by 4min.

Galloway, who was raised in Dunedin but now works in Christchurch as a sports and facilities co-ordinator, took to running only three years ago and was having a fifth crack at the marathon distance on the Dunedin course yesterday, breaking the tape to lift the open men's title in 2hr 34min 31sec.

In June he finished ninth in the Christchurch marathon in 2hr 38min which gained him third place in the Canterbury championships.

"I didn't blow up this time like I did in Christchurch," he said.

Runner-up in the event last year to three-time champion Jonah Smith, Galloway stole an early advantage when fellow Cantabrian and race favourite Andy Good took a wrong turn on the loop around Portobello, about 6km into the race.

Good had started off at a fast clip and had only daylight following on behind, but the misdirection opened the race up for Galloway, who had also put time and distance on the field.

Encouraged by his result last year, Galloway returned to run the course faster and refused to get drawn into Good's fast start, opting instead to get into a good rhythm and be the master of his own destiny in the race.

Finding himself in the lead for the run down Portobello Rd, Galloway maintained his pace to finish in 2hr 34min 31sec, bettering his previous best marathon time by 4min and his time from last year by 8min.

"I'm happy with that time, especially on that course. It can be a little bit up and down.

"But the weather was perfect today. The supporters were fantastic and everyone was cheering for each other. It's a fantastic event."

Galloway, 30, was pleased to have won the event, but felt for Good's misfortune.

"I'd have liked to have footed it with him."

Galloway said he latched on to a lead bike that guided him around the course which helped once he realised he was in the lead and feeling as if he was in no-man's land and fearful of suffering a fate similar to Good.

"I thought I'd settle into it and that if I drop back into the group I'd take it from there, but after a while I found a bit of a rhythm."

Second in the open men's section of the marathon was Clinton Manderson in 2hr 39min 1sec, with Dunedin's Nathan Shanks third in 2hr 43min 57sec.

But in an event dominated by Canterbury athletes, Harry Rattray (Christchurch) successfully defended the open men's half marathon title in a personal best time of 1hr 9min 23sec, over 3min quicker than his winning time last year. He was more than 3min clear of second-placed Robbie Smith (Yorkshire) who had his first run in 10 months to stop the clock at 1hr 12min 59sec. Dunedin's Jason van Kempen finished third in 1hr 18min 26sec.

Despite his Canterbury affiliation, Rattray said he still considered Dunedin home after studying surveying at the University of Otago and loving the lifestyle the city offered.

"I'm heading over to Europe tomorrow, so I wanted to get a good race under my belt before I left," Rattray said.

A 16-hour flight awaits him as he embarks on his OE.

"I have not got plans for any racing at the moment, but I'll be up for getting in amongst any park runs."

In yesterday’s half marathon, Rattray took advantage of the still overhead conditions to set a torrid pace at the head of the field which was left unchecked.

He said his race plan was to try to stick to 3min 18sec per kilometre pace which gave him a 70min target. But feeling on top of his game he hammered it home over the final stages to finish inside his goal.

Rattray said his aim when he returned to New Zealand in December would be to break 15min for 5000m at races in Auckland.

The race for the open men's 10km title proved a cracker, and gave witness to a blanket finish in which Reuben Beard broke the tape in 32min 27sec.

Hot on his heels for second was Alex Witt in 32min 33sec, with Simon Cromarty third in 32min 50sec.

Taieri College year 7 pupil Caleb Dobier, 12, won the open men's 5km race in 20min 30sec, with Ethan Kaina second in 20min 59sec and Thomas Weatherall third in 21min.