News & Updates

4 May 2019 • General

Alice Mason and Ciaran Faherty Claim 2019 Rotorua Marathon Titles

It was a foggy start to the 55th Rotorua Marathon today, with approximately 3,500 runners and walkers heading out across four distances from the historic Government Gardens.


Alice Mason conquered the lap of the lake for the second year running, taking first in the women’s Rotorua Marathon with time of 2:51:17. It was a closely fought competition, with less than 17 seconds at times between Mason and the eventual silver medallist Cecilia Flori (2:51:55). Letha Whitham was third in 3:04:31.


Having recently re-located to Rotorua from Cambridge, Alice said it was amazing to be cheered over the line as the winner in her new hometown:


“I had lots of local support out on the course, my friends were on bikes and in cars,” said Alice. “It’s an iconic race in New Zealand and has such a nice, friendly vibe. The course was beautiful with a bit of mist on the lake and the conditions were good.”


In the men’s field, a pack of Ciaran Faherty, Blair McWhirter and Michael Voss led the race for the first 30km, before Ciaran left them behind to claim the 2019 Rotorua Marathon title in 2:25:39.


“Me, Blair and Michael stayed together for about 30km, I put in a little surge, we dropped Blair, one more surge and I dropped Michael, then just maintained the intensity to the end,” said Ciaran.


Blair finished second in 2:26:40 an improvement of more than two minutes on his winning 2018 Rotorua Marathon run, which Blair said came down to having Ciaran and Michael to run with:


“I think having Ciaran and Michael to run with made the biggest difference,” said Blair. “My training has been going pretty well, I wasn’t quite expecting to go that quick but the pace started off at a fairly good clip so we just went along with it. I was working quite hard in some parts, especially around the back in the hills. Michael and Ciaran put around 20-30 seconds on me for a little bit as I was getting some fluid in, but I knew I just needed to hang back in there and eventually catch up with them.”


Making up the leading pack was 22-year-old Lake City Athletics Club member and Rotorua local Michael Voss who ran 2:27:35 an improvement of 19 minutes on his 2018 result in the event, where he finished 7th.


In the Red Stag Timber Half Marathon, Lisa Cross was the convincing women’s winner, crossing the finish line in 1:22:30 the second time she has won the title (the first being in 2015). Three-time New Zealand Mountain Running champion Sabrina Grogan came in second (1:30:37) followed by Danielle Sansonetti (1:32:37). In the men’s Red Stag Timber Half, Jonathan Jackson came in first (1:13:44), followed by Matt Kerr (1:22:13) and Michael O’Sullivan (1:25:22).