Tauranga Marathon: Aaron Pulford sets new race record at Bay event


Aaron Pulford (right) was the first man across the finish line at Sunday’s Tauranga Marathon. Photo / Maryana Garcia

The sounds of back-slaps, high-fives, laughing and cheering echoed up and down the Strand as the runners in this year’s Tauranga Marathon crossed the finish line.

Crowds turned out in the hundreds today amid glaring sun and 51 per cent humidity to run, have fun, and support their loved ones.

The loudest cheers were reserved for the first finishers; the audience did not have to wait too long.

Aaron Pulford has represented New Zealand in running events overseas and hopes to make a comeback. Photo / Maryana Garcia
Aaron Pulford has represented New Zealand in running events overseas and hopes to make a comeback. Photo / Maryana Garcia

Crossing the finish at just 2:33:02, first man Aaron Pulford set a new record for the Tauranga Marathon. Pulford beat the previous fastest time by about two minutes.

“It was a pretty good feeling,” Pulford told the Bay of Plenty Times.

“I only decided two weeks ago I was going to race this. It was a spur of the moment [decision].”

Though this is Pulford’s first Tauranga Marathon, the Thames resident is no stranger to competition.

He has previously represented New Zealand in events such as men’s road running, cross country, and 15,000 and 10,000 metre runs.

“I haven’t raced too much in the last two years since Covid’s been around,” Pulford said.

“But I’m looking at making a comeback. So this was a pretty good stepping stone.”

Brooke Logan, from Adelaide, Australia, was the first woman across the finish line in Sunday's Tauranga Marathon. Photo / Maryana Garcia
Brooke Logan, from Adelaide, Australia, was the first woman across the finish line in Sunday’s Tauranga Marathon. Photo / Maryana Garcia

Brooke Logan, from Adelaide, Australia, was the first woman across the marathon finish line, with a time of 3:07:52.

Logan said the Tauranga Marathon was the first marathon event she had run, though she had previously competed in 5km and 10km races.

“I’m pretty tired,” Logan told the Bay of Plenty Times.

“But I’m also pretty satisfied that I finished it. I wanted to get across the line in under 3.10 and I did.”

Logan said she had been training for the marathon for a few months. She and her family had planned their entire New Zealand holiday around the event.

Logan’s husband Paul finished second in the 5km fun run and walk, while the couples’ son Cassian came third in the 2km kids’ dash.

The family planned to head to the Coromandel Peninsula after the prizegiving to enjoy the rest of their break.

Hundreds crossed the Sala St finish line at the end of the Tauranga Marathon. Photo / Maryana Garcia
Hundreds crossed the Sala St finish line at the end of the Tauranga Marathon. Photo / Maryana Garcia

For 50km Ultra Marathon first-finisher Simon McLean, the event was all about love.

“I just love it,” McLean said.

“I love the adrenaline. I love the preparation and the work that goes into it, but also the reward that you get out of it at the end is really amazing.”

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McLean said crossing the finish line was always an emotional experience, but it had been especially so today because his family, who live in the Bay of Plenty, could be there to meet him on the other side.

“It hits you harder than you think it would.

“It’s just so nice to be able to have my family around me, and have so many people around the course and around here who keep supporting you even when you feel like you’re done.”

McLean said running was a hard habit to kick once you were hooked.

“I’m always running. We’re always training. Runners love running and they always talk about running. That’s what happens.”

Tauranga Marathon winners

Marathon (42.2km)

Male leaders:

• First – Aaron Pulford

• Second – Daniel Rae

• Third – Mitch Cantlon

Female leaders:

• First – Brooke Logan

• Second – Natalie Sutton

• Third – Amanda Waldron

UltraMarathon (50km)

Male leaders:

• First – Simon McLean

• Second – Alvaro Pasek

• Third – Keith Burrows

Female leaders:

• First – Brittney Litton

• Second – Jacqui Rose

• Third – Maria Kroonenberg

Half Marathon

Male leaders:

• First – Ben Twyman

• Second – Ewan Glassey

• Third – Joel Natzke

Female leaders:

• First – Eva Goodison

• Second – Kirsten Hall

• Third – Gloria White



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