olivia burne

Elite Runner at Rotorua Marathon will be running in her parents footsteps


By Rachel Grunwell

An elite female runner doing her first ever marathon at the Rotorua Marathon event is a potential front-runner who could take out the winning title.

When Olivia Burne, 26, runs in the May 5 event, she will also be following in her parent’s footsteps. And she’s gunning for a podium spot too like her dad…

Olivia, who is an ASICS brand ambassador and works in marketing and communications in Auckland, won the half-marathon distance at the Rotorua Marathon event last year with a time of just over 1hr 16mins.

She decided to run her first marathon at Rotorua this year for many reasons.

Her parents success at this event was, of course, an inspiration.

“My parents have both run the Rotorua Marathon in their early 20s. “My mum completed the full marathon distance in 1981, recording 3:19 – that was one week before she married Dad. My Dad ran the full marathon five years in a row, with his top finish being a 2nd in 1979. His time was 2:25.35 – I’m not looking to break that record any time soon!” she says.

Burne says her running parents have been really encouraging of her running career and great support.

Asked if her parents have high expectations of her potential finish time, Burne quips, “I think Mum would be quite happy for me to beat her time and I think Dad would just be impressed if I beat his!”

She says she also chose the Rotorua Marathon event too as her first marathon because of the wonderful history of the event and because it is known as one of the highlights of the racing calendar.

“It’s also a beautiful setting. The cultural significance of Rotorua… the beautiful lake, the Redwood Forest, and the (Polynesian Spa’s) thermal hot pools make the whole running and recovery experience really special,” she says.

She also adds: “The race has an enormous history in New Zealand. Most runners from the 60s onwards would know the Rotorua Marathon (or Fletchers Marathon, as it used to be known) as one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Thousands would show up for the event and it attracts some of the best runners in the country. “

Burne says she is training hard for the event by doing lots of hills and miles out in West Auckland.

“I work in Hillsborough, Auckland – a suburb that’s aptly named,” she jokes.

She is training around the hilly and challenging Waiatarua course as much as possible. She too is clocking some high mileage (150km plus per week under her coach, Barry Magee.

Burne says she is looking forward to the marathon challenge and taking on a challenging course.

Her dream in the future is to be able to go onto the Olympic Games in the marathon distance in the future.

She has completed three years to date of racing the half-marathon distance.

Join Olivia and many others! Enter the Rotorua Marathon event too – there’s a distance for everyone. CLICK HERE

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon event ambassador, Award-winning writer, ‘Good’ magazine wellness columnist, multi-marathoner, yoga teacher & Polynesian Spa ambassador (co-leading health retreats).


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This blog was kindly sponsored by the peeps behind the Rotorua Marathon event #sponsoredcontent