News & Updates

22 June 2023 • Road

Voss hunts maiden national half marathon crown

Michael Voss hopes to upgrade on the New Zealand Half Marathon silver medal he won in Cambridge last year. Credit: (Aaron Gillions)

Michael Voss will be looking to go one better than his second placing last year at the 2023 edition of the New Zealand Half Marathon Championship to be held in conjunction with the annual Wellington Marathon on Sunday (25 June).

Voss’ best time is 1:04:07 set last year on the Gold Coast and he was second in the Cambridge half last October, which doubled as the national championship. Two weeks later he placed second at the Auckland half in 1:06:35 and the Lake City athlete won the Wellington half last year in 1:07:13.

Daniel Balchin claimed New Zealand Half Marathon silver medals in 2014 and 2018 and bronze in 2015 and will be chasing his maiden national title for the distance – and 11th overall – in the capital. The University of Canterbury athlete has a best of 1:05:23 set in Christchurch two years ago.

Hiro Tamimoto with a career best time of 1:08:19 and Seamus Kane 1:08:03 are entered. Up and coming 20-year-old Cullern Thorby of Taupo clocked 1:12:59 in Auckland last year and in the Rotorua Marathon finished an excellent third in 2:26:28.

Consistent 1:12:00 master Daniel Clendon (47) returns after finishing seventh last year in 1:12:54 and this year ran 1:12:40 in the Hutt Half and 1:12:45 in Christchurch. Stephen Day – also 47 – comes into the race with a best of 1:11:05 and recently ran 1:13:14 in the Wellington Round-the-Bays half.

Also competing are Rainer Kravets of Estonia and Japan’s Naoto Akiba, who has a best of 1:08:27. Kip Kemei of Kenya holds the Wellington race record of 1:06:27 set in 2012.

Sarah Drought will look to add the New Zealand Half Marathon title to the 10km road title she won in the capital back in 2012.

Drought, New Zealand’s best performer in the senior women’s race at the 2022 World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst in February, won the Christchurch Half in April in her best of 1:13:41, and holds the Wellington record of 1:17:06 set last year.

Esther George with a fast 1:17:59 won the Huntly Half last month. Also going to the start for the women’s title are Katrina Andrew, the 2019 10km road champion and Orewa half winner last year in 1:16:19, Natalie Dryden who ran 1:22:51 in April and Mel Brandon a 1:21:38 runner from Wellington Scottish.

Deb Fuller was the first woman in Rotorua in May clocking 1:25:53 – and is ready to improve in Wellington.

The flat, fast and spectator friendly 21.1km goes through the CBD, Oriental Parade, Evans Bay Parade, Cobham Drive to Miramar Peninsula and back. The only hill is the ramp into Sky Stadium to the finish.

The championship was cancelled for two years in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid before returning in Cambridge last year.

Results can be found here

By Murray McKinnon