On Saturday 8 November, Wellington City Councillor Paul Eagle drew from a list of five finalists, the name of Wellington marathon runner to represent Wellington in the 2015 Senshu International Marathon in Sakai live on Newstalk ZB radio.
Wellington Sakai Association short listedthese finalists based on their running ability and their suitability to fulfil the ambassadorial role for Wellington.
And the winner is... Andrew Wharton!
Andrew is a member of Wellington Scottish Athletics Club who has called Wellington home for the last ten years. He has run several marathons, including the Boston marathon in 2013 and 2014. Andrew studied Japanese in high school, and has family who live in Tokyo.
And the runner up (in case of injury) is... Olivier Lacoua!
Olivier works in Wellington City and is a fitness enthusiast with a goal of running 100 marathons by 2020 (currently at 46). He is active in Community Organisations such as the Wellington Employers Chamber of Commerce Board, and uses running to fundraise for various charities including the NZ Red Cross.
The Senshu Marathon started in 1992. A Wellington resident has been selected to be an ambassador for the city, by running in the Senshu marathon in Japan since 1994. Wellington is sending a runner again in 2015.
The marathon runs through Sakai and the other ten districts of south part of Osaka, which used to be called ‘Senshu’. Athletes from other Sakai’s sister cities, Berkeley in the United States and Lianyungang in China, also travel to run the marathon. Around 4000 runners participate to the marathon.
As Wellington’s representative, Andrew will travel to Sakai for a week (6 nights), with all expenses met by the Sakai City Government. Andrew will stay in both a hotel and home-stay accommodation, visit various attractions and cultural facilities in the Sakai, Osaka and Kyoto area and meet the Mayor of Sakai. The marathon will take place on 15 February 2015.
Last year’s representative Grant McLean finished 13th overall and 2nd in the Masters category out of nearly 5,000 entrants.