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She’s the Pick of the pack

Thursday May 03, 2018 Written by Published in Other Sports
Cook Islander Kelly Pick was the winner of the inaugural Aitutaki marathon. Cook Islander Kelly Pick was the winner of the inaugural Aitutaki marathon.

Cook Islander Kelly Pick was the first across the line at the inaugural Aitutaki marathon Tuesday morning, blitzing the field by nearly 30 minutes with a time of three hours 36 minutes and 37 seconds.


Pick, based in Rarotonga, was followed by Australian runner Diana Adams, who finished with a time of 4.02.46, with fellow compatriot Bob McNaught being the first male to finish the 42.2km run after 4.55.40.

McNaught, in his 201st marathon, finished only 10 minutes ahead of marathon world record holder Brent Weigner, who came fourth with a time of 5.14.18.

For the American, the Aitutaki marathon marked the 156th country in which he has run a marathon, and his 325th marathon over all. It also marked 50 years since his very first marathon he ran when he was 18.

Across all three races, Turama House’s Stephen Doherty said five Rarotonga-based and four Aitutaki-based Cook Islanders competed.

In the half marathon, Soemiati Hamstra claimed the win in 1.52.20, although he was closely followed by two Kukis.

Ron Rolleston and Emual Glassie came second and third respectively, while female Cook Islanders Maria Harreguy, Louise Wittwer, Rebecca Brown and Cheryl Hardy all also competed in the race.

For the 10km run, Graeme Jefferies of Aitutaki came third, behind Lukas Andrecs and Tanya Merchant of Austria and New Zealand.

Aitutakians Dylan Parobe and Ashlee-Kate Armstrong also both ran, in the open men and women category.

Armstrong was also the youngest runner in the race, at only 12 years of age.

Doherty said that the feedback he had received from the majority of the participants and supporters was that the event had been very well run.

“The aid provided at the water stations from local volunteers including 30 senior students from Araura College, greatly appreciated and comments about the kids,” Doherty said.

“They were outstanding, as they were cheering and encouraging us as we ran past. Some of the local people of Aitutaki helping out with added water stations and also one resident brought the hose out to cool down the runners as they passed.

“Many have commented they will spread the word willingly and encourage friends and family to come to Aitutaki for the event.”

He said a major highlight was Pick finishing first in the marathon, as well as seeing people, who most likely would not have come to the Cook Islands had the marathon not been held, fall in love with the country.

Doherty also mentioned that Nicolas Costantini, of the Cook Islands Tourism Southern Europe Office based in Italy, ran the 10km with Italian journalist Cristina Piccinotti.

The marathon prizegiving was held last night.