james crosswell side profile

Photo of James running the Rotorua Marathon event courtesy of Marathon-Photos.

By Rachel Grunwell

Grandad James Crosswell is about to run the Rotorua Marathon for the 40th time when the event is held on May 6, 2017.

He’ll be darn proud of this achievement and he reckons that finish-line feeling will be just as good as the first time he lapped the lake in 1973.

“Getting to that finish-line is the ultimate,” says the 67-year-old plumber from Opotiki.

“It’s amazing when I’m lining up at the start-line too and people are all nervous and ask ‘how many (Rotoura Marathon events) have you done?’ Well, people almost fall over when I tell them!”

james from the archives

Here’s a picture from the archives.

James says he aims to keep running this event until, well, he can’t run it anymore. He’s keen to catch up to the tally that his late mate Colin Smyth reached before he died aged 76 in 2015. Colin ran the event an inspirational 50 times and is a local legend for this achievement.

“God willing, if I’m able to – I’d like to beat his record,” says James.

Interestingly, Colin too was a plumber like James.

“Maybe this running business could be something to do with the trade perhaps,” quips James, who has been running since he was a teenager.

James says he runs for general health and fitness. He has lost track of the number of marathons all up he has run. It would be around the ”80” mark, he reckons. But these days he just concentrates on running the Rotorua Marathon each year.

“I love the Rotorua Marathon course because it has a bit of everything: Great terrain, some hills, water, good competitors and you only have to do one lap”.

His fastest ever marathon time was 2hr 49min in Hamilton – a course years ago which required numerous laps of one area in the Waikato.

By the way his fastest Rotorua Marathon time is 2hr 52min, but these days he is happy to do the event “around the four-hour mark” with a walk/run approach.

“I love this challenge,” he raves.

james crosswell front profile

Picture of James smiling at the finish-line. Pic is courtesy of Marathon-Photos

His wife Maureen and three daughters support his running. He is a grandad to four grandsons.

james and girls

Pictured from left to right: Sarah, James, Emma and Rebekah

James has long been a member of the Rotorua Marathon’s  ‘Survivors Club’ – a club you can enter if you have run the event 15 times, or more.

Pam Kenny, who helps run the Survivors Club, says the membership of this club currently stands at 531 (including 34 who are now deceased).

Enter the Rotorua Marathon (there are four distance options) by clicking HERE.

  • Rachel Grunwell is a marathoner (she has run 15), qualified yoga teacher (specialises in yoga-for-runners), columnist for Good magazine and the director of the lifestyle website www.inspiredhealth.co.nz Follow Inspired Health on Facebook & Instagram 

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