News & Updates

4 May 2023 • Rotorua Marathon

Malcolm embraces Red Stag Rotorua Marathon debut

Malcolm Hicks has excellent international pedigree and placed 27th in the 2019 World Championship marathon in Doha. Credit: (Alisha Lovrich).

Tokyo Olympian Malcolm Hicks is relishing the prospect of competing in the Red Stag Rotorua Marathon on Saturday for what will be his New Zealand debut over the 42.2km distance.

The 35-year-old Auckland-based distance runner sits number four on the all-time NZ marathon lists following a rapid 2:10:04 clocking in Seville, and he is looking forward to adding to the rich history of the Red Stag Rotorua Marathon, which this year celebrates its 59th edition.

“Rotorua has plenty of history, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of running the historic lake route,” adds Malcolm. “Over the years the race has attracted many of the top New Zealand marathoners and historically it has enjoyed fantastic depth. It will be great to play in a part in hopefully seeing a return to that depth in one of New Zealand’s most iconic races.”

Malcolm, who last competed in a marathon when placing 64th at the Tokyo Olympics in Sapporo in intense heat and oppressive humidity back in August 2021, has since then undergone a number of key changes in his life.

Last year Malcolm returned home to New Zealand from the UK after seven years living overseas and 15 months ago celebrated the birth of his first child, Emerson.

Unquestionably having a son has prompted an adjustment in priorities but the former national 3000m, 5000m and 10km road champion still has goals left to achieve in the sport but has unfortunately endured months of frustration as a competitive return had been hampered by an ongoing neural chain issue.

Impacting anywhere from his hip down to his calf the full-time engineer adds: “Every time the injury has flared up, usually related to training load I always need a bit of a reset and I have to decrease my volume once again.

“I’ve worked with my osteopath and chiropractor for a while now and we’ve found a good balance between treatment and training load. Clocking 180-190km per week is not really feasible for me any longer, but the last few months I’ve been averaging around 140km. I have tested pushing that further but with work and family life I think I’ve found a sweet spot. I’m limiting training to run once a day, with my priorities always being the Sunday long run and a Wednesday marathon work out.”

Last month, Malcolm competed in his first race for 21 months by claiming a confidence boosting victory in the Auckland Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:06:56. Delighted with the win he also used the opportunity to cover the half marathon distance by adding a further 17km of running that day to complete a 38km training run.

“I’m cramming a little bit for Rotorua Marathon,” he says. “I missed a number marathon long runs and I knew I needed to get another one in. It was great to be able to finish and also be part of the domestic distance running scene once again.

Malcolm, who has now retired from international racing, still has bucket list marathon races he would like to run starting with Rotorua, but what would he like to achieve on Saturday?

“Time wise I’ve got no idea, but I hope to be competitive, and I am out there to try take the win,” he says. “But for me it is more about being back on the start line racing again. It is hard to be a competitive athlete without that racing outlet and I will use Rotorua as a guide of how the training and fitness levels are going before planning some more races in the future.”