Monday, June 28, 2010

Harbour Capital Marathon: Weather was the winner on the day

Icy winds and driving rain weren't enough to put off the capital's hardy amateur athletes at the weekend.

About 4400 runners turned out for the Harbour Capital Marathon, half-marathon and 10-kilometre runs yesterday – 400 fewer than those who registered.

Rugby matches, including Marist St Pat's v Old Boys University, turned to mudbaths as up to 30 millimetres of rain fell in parts of Wellington at the weekend. Temperatures fell as low as 8 degrees celsius, exacerbated by the wind.

"If you have got a gale southerly, you'll get wind chill on top of that," MetService's Heath Gullery said.

Conditions were "pretty windy", with a peak gust of 100kmh in Kelburn on Saturday, and gusts of up to 95kmh around the rest of the region.

Other parts of the country was also affected, with flooding in Coromandel and rainfall warnings for much of eastern North Island and the top of the South Island.

Conditions would begin to ease today and tomorrow, but showers were expected this morning and this evening, with northerly winds. Temperatures could sink to 7C in the next few days.

Marathon organiser Michael Jacques said many runners chose to stay in bed because of the weather.

But despite miserable conditions, Rotorua's Steve O'Callaghan won the half-marathon in a record time of 1h 8m 2s. "It [the weather] obviously makes things difficult, particularly for the longer distances," Mr Jacques said.

One runner was taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia and a few others were treated for mild hypothermia symptoms on the course.