Cromwell athlete Jason Hall is the new men’s champion of the 2021 Meridian Hydro half marathon, held in cool, damp conditions in Te Anau on Saturday.

Hall crossed the line in 1hr 19min 12sec, with runner-up Mark Patterson, of Auckland, 32 seconds behind.

Chris O’Connell of Dunedin was two minutes back in third.

Other Central Otago athletes also raced into places.

Wanaka’s Rebecca Clarke and Sammy Burke were second and third women, completing in 1hr 29min 05sec and 1hr 31min 04sec, respectively. Dunedin’s Meg McKay won in 1hr 26min 40sec.

In the women’s 10km race, Alexandra’s Kirsten O’Sullivan was third in 50min 4sec, behind Tauranga’s Lesley Van Blerk 47min 17sec and Te Anau’s Claire Bell 48min 5sec.

More than 249 people took part in the half marathon and about 200 raced the 10km.

About 550 people had entered but Australians could not attend because of the closed borders.

Event co-ordinator Heather Sinclair was thrilled with the day.

“It’s a real buzz seeing hundreds of runners and walkers on the trail, and all coming across the finish line in Lions Park with huge smiles on their faces.

“A lot of work by a lot of volunteers goes into organising this event, but it’s worth it,” she said.

The race is a fundraiser for the Fiordland Trails Trust.

Next year’s event is on August 6, 2022.