Win in marathon a bonus result

Sonya Cameron is  all smiles back home with her winner’s medal from the Wellington Marathon....
Sonya Cameron is all smiles back home with her winner’s medal from the Wellington Marathon. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Sonya Cameron was just trying to shake off a disappointing last run.

She ended up coming home with a gold medal.

A time of 3hr 02min 46sec gave the sixth-year medicine student a three-minute buffer over her closest rival to win the Wellington Marathon women's title.

Having been disappointed with her time in Christchurch four weeks earlier, she had decided to get straight back into it.

Her initial goal was to break three hours and she stuck with a pack aiming for that time for 30km.

That included two women, who eventually dropped off and left Cameron to pull away.

At that point she decided to be tactical and go after the win - her first in a full marathon.

"It was pretty surreal, actually," she said.

"I don't think it actually sunk in until a couple of days later when everyone was saying congratulations.

"I've never really done it for results. I run because I love it and because I love to be outside."

After growing up in Dunback and attending Waitaki Girls' High School, Cameron moved to Dunedin for university.

She initially completed a human nutrition degree, before switching to medicine.

Having played plenty of sports growing up, she got into longer running in a bigger way at university.

She has since completed marathons in Honolulu and Portugal, as well as several around New Zealand.

The mentality of having to keep going was something she felt helped her outside of running, too.

"It sort of feels like it gives you a resilience that's quite important for the rest of life, especially for me because I'm in my final year of medicine.

"If I can overcome stuff in a marathon I can take it into that."

Training has to fit around university commitments.

As a final-year student, she is working in Dunedin Hospital this year.

That means often going running at 5am and then running to work and showering there.

In the weekends she goes for longer runs - up to three hours - which can prove a chance to get some study in as well.

"That's actually a great thing about running, I find. I can do some study while I'm running if I listen to a medical podcast.

"Sometimes I drift off.

"But it's better to have company when you're running. Sometimes when you're really tired all you want to do is turn around and go home."

It is a case of making it work, something fewer people are able to do these days.

Cameron said it was not only a case of wanting to run - she needed to.

"I think for me it's a necessity.

"People make time to eat, people make time to brush their teeth. That's the way it is for me.

"Most people I encounter on a daily basis, they don't know it, but I'm sure they're grateful I run because I'd be a much less happy person if I didn't."

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