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by Chris Tobin

A Scottish flavour prevailed in the inaugural Mackenzie half marathon run in Fairlie on Saturday morning.

Scottish pipers set the mood while temperatures that would not be amiss in the Scottish Highlands in the middle of winter did not discourage nearly 400 starters lining up in the half marathon and two associated events, a 10km and a 5.5km.

Temperatures improved during the morning as the sun broke through.

Reigning Queenstown marathon champion and this year’s Auckland Round The Bays winner Fabe Downs (34) won the open men’s half marathon in 1hr 19min 50sec from Coast to Coast competitor Hamish Elliott (1hr 21min 14sec), and Ben Wreford (35), of Run Timaru, was third (1.25.51).

Timaru’s Rebecca Allnutt (26), who won the Whitehorse Big East at Waimate earlier this year, was the first woman home (1.42.43) from Emma Roche (1.45.06) and Sarah Akers (1.50.34).

In the River Dip 10km, Kahn Ashton (16) was first overall in 40.23 and the first female finisher was 12-year-old Lucy Wheeler in 46.49.

The Flat Jack 5.5km proved popular with younger runners and was won by Mia Cain-Townley (12) in 24.14 from her sister Bella (11) in 25.15. James Hollows-Booth (13) was third in 25.35.

All competitors in the well-organised event received finishers’ medals on a Mackenzie tartan ribbon.