Oldroyd thrilled with victory off limited preparation

A refreshed Hannah Oldroyd won the open women’s title of the Dunedin Marathon yesterday.

Oldroyd, 36, won a sixth Buller Marathon earlier this year, then found she no longer had the motivation to compete competitively. But she dusted off her running shoes in order to support the Dunedin Marathon’s cancer charity.

The Kaiapoi athlete, who tasted success around New Zealand and particularly in Europe over the past decade, last competed in the event when it was last held over the old course which finished on Watson Park, when she defeated four-time champion Mel Aitken.

But a relaxed approach and saying she was only going to "wing it" was soon forgotten as she got down to business in controlling the women’s race. She quickly put a margin on her closest rival, defending champion Margie Campbell.

Oldroyd said she last caught sight of Campbell at the 10km turn and was surprised she was not coming up on her.

As for her 2hr 50min 19sec time yesterday, Oldroyd said she was "over the moon with that".

"I was not expecting that at all."

Given she had done so little since the Buller Marathon she had hoped to get just under 3hr.

"I have really not done the training for this so I’m incredibly happy with the time.

"Last time it was 30km into a head wind and then turn to run to Port Chamers in the rain. This year it was easy with only a slight head wind in the last 2km. So it was good."

Oldroyd said the changes to the course had made it a lot better under foot and it was quite nice finishing at the brewery.

"I’m going to enjoy the beer," she said

"We trialled it when we arrived on Friday. It’s quite a nice drop. It went down very well."

Sadly, the Dunedin course may have been the last marathon run by Oldroyd as she is struggling for motivation to compete.

"I’ve got my dogs and we’ve got a puppy who doesn’t like getting in the car, so it’s becoming really hard to go anywhere and find somebody to look after her."

Campbell, who clocked 2hr 57min 39sec for second, said she also had not done a lot of preparation for the race and was using it as part of her buildup for the Auckland Marathon in seven weeks’ time.

She was pleased with her sub 3hr time considering she had to walk for about a kilometre at the 29km mark with a calf-muscle strain.

"It was just like a normal Sunday run for me but with aid stations instead of having to carry your own fluids."

Coming home in third place was Gabriela Diver in 3hr 11min 59sec.

Eleanor Thorpe, the winner of the open women’s half marathon, said she "just ran" when she overtook race favourite Hannah Maher.

Maher had maintained a handy lead until the final stages when Thorpe came through and overtook her to cross the line in 1hr 22min 44sec and finish 5sec clear of Maher who clocked 1hr 22min 49sec. They were well clear of third-placed Taryn McLean who finished in 1hr 27min 44sec.

Thorpe said she took the race as it came and once she came up on Maher did not know what else to do but dig in and just keep running.

Thorpe, 20, recently moved to Dunedin from Auckland and has since found numerous benefits in the city’s running scene. She surprised herself with the manner of her victory.

"I did not expect anything, to be honest. I just ran. I felt very unprepared for the race."

Maher paced herself consistently throughout, but said she was forced to run the last couple of kilometres faster while just trying to hold off the challenge of Thorpe.

Liliana Braun cleared away early to win the associated open women’s 10km in 38min 24sec and head off pre-race favourites Becky de la Harpe, who finished second in 40min 1sec, and Aly Craigie, who came third in 42min 35sec

First-year runner Millie McFadzien, 15, a year 10 pupil at St Peter’s College, won the open women’s 5km in 18min 42sec, from Lila Rhodes second in 21min 50sec and Ruby Burgess third in 22min 11sec.