Elusive wheelchair half marathon targeted
SPEED TO BURN: Matthew Lack in sprint training. The Opotiki competitor hopes to add the fastest half marathon record to his long list of racing records. Photo / Photo/Filerotorua Marathon
Opotiki's Matthew Lack knows all about pressure to perform and breaking records.
He holds all but one of the Under-20 national wheelchair racing records. The one record which still eludes him is the fastest half marathon.
The 19-year-old hopes to topple that record on Saturday when he takes part in the Rotorua half marathon.
Lack, along with Richard Colman, will be the first two wheelchair competitors to take part in the event, which is part of the historic Rotorua Marathon.
It will be the last chance for Lack to break the record because he turns 20 in August.
But Lack isn't letting the pressure get to him. Born with spina bifida, Lack has never let his disability hold him back.
Lack took up racing at 12 and holds a raft of records which include the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5km and 10km.
"I've been trying to find a half marathon for a while," Lack said.
"It's the only [record] I haven't got and I'm really keen to get it before I turn 20."
The record is 59 minutes 17 seconds. Lack tried unsuccessfully last year in Morrinsville.
"I missed it by 20 seconds because it rained the whole time and the last 200m was on grass which made it hard."
Lack told The Daily Post he felt confident he could break the record despite the number of hills.
"If the conditions are right, I should be able to do it.
The wheelchair powerhouse is hoping for fine weather.
"If it's wet my gloves don't get a good grip which can make the going a little tough."
The Metservice long range forecast for Rotorua is for easterlies, fine with a maximum of 17C.
Lack said he would have to average about 25km/h to beat the record.
Event Promotions marketing manager Troy Wilson said their organisation was proud to be organising this year's event, which had received 1823 marathon entries, 1603 half marathon entries, 683 entries for the quarter marathon and 162 entries for the 5km fun run/walk.
"The Rotorua marathon oozes history followed by tremendous stories as the majority of marathon past and present competitors would kindly let you know," Wilson said.
"It has been fantastic to talk with several past marathon distance competitors who have accepted the new addition [the half marathon] with open arms. The 5km fun run /walk, quarter marathon and half marathon event options are stepping stones to the main event [the marathon]."
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