The joint press release from Wellington Marathon, Wellington Sakai Association and Wellington City Council:
Established in 1986, the annual June event has been Wellington’s major marathon event for 30 years. In recent years it has become New Zealand’s fastest growing marathon event, attracting some 5000 participants from more than a dozen countries to be one of the New Zealand’s "Big Five", alongside the Auckland, Queenstown, Rotorua and Christchurch marathons.
Based at Wellington’s much-loved Westpac Stadium, the event follows a flat, fast and scenic tour of the Harbour bays that is popular amongst elite and recreational runners and walkers alike. The event features something for everyone, including the Kids’ magic Mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon options. And it is the classic 42.2k full marathon that takes centre stage in 2016.
This year the Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon has teamed up with sister-city promotion agencies Wellington Sakai Association, Sakai Sister and Friendship City Council, Sakai Wellington Association, Wellington City Council, and Sakai City Government in a marathon running exchange. The first-placed Sakai woman in February’s Senshu Marathon won a trip to the 2016 Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon, and the first-placed woman in Wellington on June 26th will win a trip to the February 2017 Senshu Marathon.
"It’s a great thing for the event and for Wellington running," says event manager, Michael Jacques. "Japan has a very big marathon running culture and it’s great that the sister-city associations could see the potential in such an exchange."
The Wellington/Sakai sister-city relationship was established in 1994. Sakai is a port city within Osaka prefecture, which hosts the Senshu International City Marathon, which runs through Sakai and the other ten districts of the south part of Osaka, which used to be called ‘Senshu’. Around 5,000 runners participate to the full marathon.
In February’s Senshu International City Marathon, Wellington runner Tim Sutton finished second in the people’s race in 2hrs 42min. The first placed Sakai woman, Yumiko Tanaka, was also the first woman in Senshu’s people’s race and will be a favourite for the Wellington title too.
Wellington Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, says "Marathon running is an important connection between Sakai and Wellington. Connections between our cities are multi-dimensional, including sport, culture, education and the economy. Each citizen who visits our sister city strengthens the human bonds of friendship."
Michael Jacques also sees the exchange as a way for the event to help foster Wellington’s top marathoners, saying, "The trip to Japan is extra motivation for our best marathoners to turn out in their hometown marathon."
The idea is for the prize to alternate every year. "This first year it revolves around the first Wellington woman," says Jacques. "Next year it will be for the first Wellington man."
This year’s Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon is scheduled for Sunday 26th June and the Japanese prize is in addition to the annual event’s other major prize – a trip to the Paris Marathon. Every participant, regardless of ability or what distance they enter in the Gazley Volkswagen Wellington Marathon, can go into a draw to win the Paris trip.
"All entrants have to do is finish and attend the prize giving!" says Jacques.
To be in to win visit wellingtonmarathon.kiwi for online entry and event information, or pick up an entry form at any Shoe Clinic store.