The 41st Dunedin Marathon running race, organised by Caversham Harrier and Athletic Club in Dunedin, New Zealand was held on Sunday 1st September 2019 consisting of 6 events:
- Full marathon run
- Half marathon run
- Half marathon walk
- 10 km run
- 10 km walk
- 5 km run and walk
All events finished inside Forsyth Barr Stadium where finishers ran along the northern touchline, turned and turned again to run beneath the western goal posts, down the middle of the pitch to finish in front of the eastern goal posts.
Beginnings and transition
The original event in Dunedin, New Zealand consisting of a marathon and half marathon was initiated by the New Zealand Federation of Sports Medicine (Otago Branch) in 1979 lead by James Fraser.
In March 1984 after serving as race director for two years, Mary Jane McKenzie wrote essentially an SOS letter to all the local harrier clubs saying that the Otago Branch of NZ Federation of Sports Medicine had indicated that the event was now established and they “would prefer to transfer their efforts to other areas directly concerned with sports medicine” and “If you wish to retain a marathon event in Dunedin, then the time has come to “come to the party””.
Club folklore suggests that the idea of taking on the organisation of the marathon came about during a club run. In 1985 the event was organised by the club for the first time and has continued to organise the marathon to the present. Phil Coakes was appointed the role of chairman in 1990 and later became race director. Phil was a great enthusiast having completed the marathon a number of times prior to organising it, peaking with 3rd place in 1983, retained the role of race director to mid way through 2017 when it was handed over to the current director Charlotte Meiklejohn.
The name of the race has changed a number times:
- Dunedin Round the Harbour Marathon 1979-1982
- Dunedin Harbour Marathon 1983
- City of Dunedin Round the Harbour Marathon 1984
- Speight’s City of Dunedin Marathon 1985-1987
- Cadbury Moro City of Dunedin Marathon 1988-1996
- Cadbury Moro Harbour Marathon 1997
- Moro Marathon 1998-2012
- Cadbury Dunedin Marathon 2013-2017
- Dunedin Marathon 2018
Note that in 1980 and 1981 the half marathon was replaced by a “mini marathon”, a 24 km run from the start of the marathon at Otakou to Portsmouth Drive in 1980 and Modern Caravans in South Dunedin in 1981. Since 1982, there has been an official half marathon of 21.1km with changes of start position – Timaru Street in South Dunedin, Forsyth Barr Stadium car park and Logan Park Drive finishing at the same place as the full marathon in Port Chalmers. The specific finish position has also changed a number of times, initially on the street in Port Chalmers, but in most of the last two decades at Watson Park in Port Chalmers.
Finish in the city stadium
A major change was made in 2018 to finish all events inside Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin’s covered stadium. The change was made to:
- Remove the need to run along SH88 to Port Chalmers. Over the years there has been increasing concerns regarding the safety of the highway.
- Providing a fun and festive atmosphere at the finish. It was generally recognised the majority of competitors and supporters did not stay long at the finish in Port Chalmers. There was a lack of “atmosphere” at the finish for late finishers being greeted by a handful of tired but dedicated finish line officials after most competitors and supporters had departed.
The official recognised events are the marathon and half marathon, however, in order to give more people the opportunity to participate and improve their fitness and to keep up with innovations, over time the Caversham organisers have added further events and technology:
- The Half Marathon Recreational Walk was added in 1995
- In 2010 digital transponders were introduced which has more recently enabled live provisional results to be picked up on competitor’s and spectator’s mobile devices during race day.
- In 2015 the Quarter Marathon Run and Walk events were added.
- The quarter marathon was replaced by 10 km run and walk events in 2018.
- Marathon (42.2 km) – is and always will be a considerable undertaking that requires an enormous amount of preparation. In 2019, 183 runners completed this iconic distance that consisted of 124 males and 59 females aged between 18 and 67!
- Half marathon run (21.1 km) – although a considerable distance, the half marathon is surprisingly doable for slightly fitter people who want to take that extra step and is the most popular event. In 2019, 876 runners completed the 21.1 km, with a relative even split of females (448) and males (428) with a spread of finish times from 1hr 9mins 28secs to 3hrs 32mins 40ecs. Runners aged between 16 and 73.
The Half Marathon is not recommended for younger runners for reasons that we won’t go into here, but it’s to do with the possible detrimental effects of sustained impact on a developing body.
- 10 km run is possibly the most popular distance in road racing in the World. It is a useful target for those of you who run a bit who need a bit of a challenge. It’s also a good event for younger runners who are keen on running longer distances. In 2019, 410 completed the 10 km run consisting of 257 females and 153 males. Runners aged between 12 and 71.
- Half marathon recreational walk – in 2019, 154 completed the walk, including 123 females and 31 males. Walkers aged between 18 and 80!
- 10 km recreational walk – in 2019, 224 walkers including 187 females and 37 males completed the 10 km walk. Walkers aged between 12 and 76.
- The inaugural 5 km run and walk in 2019 was completed by 137 people aged between 3 and 72.