Things People will do for Chocolate

by Insiders Dunedin

It shames me to admit it but Matthew Moloney had me at “chocolate.” And, because listening’s not my strong point, despite never running for anything in my life – I’ve run from plenty – at 8 am (yes, that’s a time) on the 10th of September I’ll be taking part in a 39-year-old Dunedin tradition involving a cold wind up your jaxie and albatrosses. Yes, I’m talking about the Cadbury Dunedin Marathon, this year’s numbers on track to smash last years. Starting beneath Taiaroa head, runners and walkers will take in the whole peninsula, every bay and lovely curve of the marvellously accessible Otago harbour, enjoying the wind and the waves, albatrosses and sailing ships, all the while surrounded by bananas, gorillas and hairy-legged ballerinas (what can I say? We breed ‘em tough but silly down here). Participants have been known to run dressed as Heinz tomato sauce, after rolling a flat party the night before into a marathon the next day, as you do.

Having access to a beautiful part of New Zealand while not fighting your way through people; the Cadbury Dunedin Marathon is known for being very friendly, everyone helping each other out, southern hospitality on the move. Not a huge field, not elbow-to-elbow, the marathon takes around 2 hrs 45mins for an experienced runner. Five hours an achievable goal for a novice.

Runners are whippety people. They get up early, train all through winter while the rest of us are moaning “Noooo me stay in bed”, wear lucky socks and eat whatever they want, the bathplugs. “We have the best afternoon teas in the running club,” says committee member Matthew. The Marathon’s distance of 42.1 kilometres is based on that run by Greek soldier Pheidippides to announce victory at the battle of Marathon. He died at the end. You’ll probably just feel like it. “You feel pretty shattered afterwards,” Matt agrees. Especially, I imagine, having dressed as a tomato sauce bottle that partied the night before – but it’s a great way of realising the marvellous things you are capable of. The ½ starts from Logan Park at 9.30am and takes in the delights of the university, the ¼ at 9.15, going straight out to Port Chalmers and the finish line. 

Raising funds for Red Cross as well as individual causes, there are prizes for places and $20,000 worth of spot prizes too, from best dressed, coolest group, to slowest and most pathetic (made that one up). A little like the 7s without the drinking, a fun festival atmosphere on a Sunday in the sun, running/walking through Maia and St Leonards with water-rippled boats on your right, a nice southerly at your back (hopefully). No doubt I’ll be coming in as they’re packing up the banners at the finish line. Who knows what sort of state I’ll be in? Tell you one thing, though, I’ll be wanting my chocolate.

Post submitted by Lisa Scott

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