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Hanmer Springs News

Annual Hanmer Springs Molesworth Run

Over 240 athletes are expected to tackle the annual Molesworth Run event from the Molesworth Cottage to Hanmer Springs but someone who won't be running is Marlborough's Murray Thompson.

A regular in the popular race for the last seven years, he had planned to run two 21km legs this year, originally with his mate Mike White.

However a pulled hamstring during training forced the Wellington-based White to withdraw and last Friday disaster struck Thompson when he was hit by a car and knocked off his bike on his way to work.

A broken collar-bone, badly damaged ankle and facial injuries meant that three months of intensive training, including three-hour runs, has all been for nothing - not to mention his favourite bike, worth over $2500, being written off. Licking his wounds at home this week, Thompson was obviously disappointed. "A week out from the Molesworth. A big blow. Up to 10 hours training a week, a lot of sweat and sacrificing other things. Of all the races to miss. I didn't want to miss this one."

Recalling the accident which happened at the roundabout on Redwood St and Alabama Rd last Friday, Thompson said he was hit side-on when a car failed to give way and he's just glad he was wearing a helmet. "My head took a fair bang. Broke the helmet inside. I've always worn one. It saved me from much more serious injuries."

Although running won't be an option for the next few weeks, Thompson intends to drive through to Hanmer to watch the other athletes finish and said, "There's always another race next year."

Ian Thomas, drafted into Thompson's team after White's withdrawal, has now joined up with a four-person team which includes two other stand-out Marlborough runners, John Kennedy and Billy Hebberd.

The calibre of the field is unknown until the race starts with athletes coming from various parts of the country to experience not only the race, but also the stunning high country scenery. A favourite for the solo event is last year's winner Paul Wieland.

This year's race has attracted a record field with 15 solo runners doing the entire 84km course plus 55 four-person teams running approximately 21km each and two five-person combinations doing 42km each.

Various categories are being contested from open to veteran and mixed with numerous spot prizes at stake. Solo runners begin at 8am and the relay teams start at 9am, the fastest four-person team expected to take under six hours.

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