New Zealand's Christchurch marathon brings thousands into city center
The picturesque streets of New Zealand's Christchurch were filled with runners and walkers on Sunday as the ASB Marathon celebrated its 40th anniversary.
The ASB Marathon couldn't go ahead, for the first time ever, last year because of COVID-19, and the cancellation of marathons in other countries due to the epidemic left many of New Zealand's fastest runners racing at home, including the race on Sunday, organizers said.
The marathon is one of Christchurch's key sporting events, said Christchurch City Council Head of Recreation, Sports and Events Nigel Cox.
The flat race route is widely accepted as the fastest in New Zealand, it is also very scenic and takes in iconic Christchurch areas such as Hagley Park, the Avon River, Oxford Terrace and the Town Hall, a runner named Jackson from Wellington told Xinhua.
Previously, the ASB Christchurch Marathon has been held at the start of winter but the organizers have decided to bring the event forward to April when the weather is milder.
More than 4,000 people signed up for the event, which includes a marathon, half-marathon and 10km run distances. There are also kids races and wheelchair marathons. Due to the COVID-19 border restrictions, this year's event saw the participants being majorly domestic runners.
Daniel Jones won the men's full marathon with a time of 2:23:35, while Alice Mason won the women's marathon with 2:43:43. Ian Walker won the wheelchair marathon in 2hrs 8min.