Our tribute to the Scottish M50 women continues. In this instalment, Christine Jones tells us how her marathon journey has taken her from Wellington to Boston. And also London. And Shenshu, New York, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Copenhagen, and Rotorua.
I have always loved to run. When I started college, I started running with a group of girls. We were coached by my PE teacher Allan Potts, who had been a good runner and later became President of Athletics NZ, and his wife Sylvia, who competed at Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games. I joined Ariki and we trained summer and winter. Allan would send us postcards from the Olympics where Sylvia was competing, and he would be worried that he hadn’t been sent our times from our weekend racing at the Caledonian! Allan and Sylvia gave us so much and always made it fun.
I continued to run to keep fit. When our son Richard joined Scottish with the Wellington College boys I also joined up. Until then I had been running with Wellington Marathon Clinic. When Richard went on to Providence College on his running scholarship, I thought that I might as well visit him and run the Boston Marathon at the same – just for something to do on holiday!
Since then I have participated in a number of overseas marathons and have loved every one of them. The highlights for me have been running New York with friends from Scottish, finishing London outside Buckingham Palace, starting Paris on the Champs Elysée, running through the Brandenburg Gate at the end of Berlin, and starting and finishing Rome at the Colosseum. My times are listed below and my age group position in brackets:
- 1998 Rotorua 3.47.48 (19)
- 2005 Boston 3.51.26 (63)
- 2009 London 3.48.42 (22)
- 2010 Senshu 3.52.47(1)
- 2011 New York 3.45.03 (17)
- 2014 Paris 3.52.02f. (8)
- 2015 Berlin 3.56.27 (12)
- 2017 Rome 4.03.21 (4)
- 2019 Copenhagen 4.19.21 (4)
Training with friends before a marathon was always a big part of the fun and I believe that I was only able to achieve success by having their support. At the finish of each marathon my husband Gareth would be there to meet me and say, “Right that’s out the road. We can have our holiday now”.
One special time was during the London marathon. I had read in the papers that Gordon Ramsey was running it. Around 21kms I heard people calling out ‘Go Chef!” and realised I was running beside him. I knew he was raising money for Spina Bifida, so I told him I was from New Zealand and that I had a son with Spina Bifida. I told Gordon (we were on first name terms by this stage) that before I left New Zealand I’d told Michael that if I beat him (Gordon) Michael had to agree not to watch him any more as he swore too much. We both laughed and from then “the Chef” was behind me.
As well as the international marathons, running in New Zealand has offered me so much variety. I’ve done many New Zealand Road Relays, which I love, and lots of half marathons. The short trips away to run and compete with other Scottish runners are also such fun, whether it’s Captains Cook’s Landing, the Molesworth, the Heaphy Track, the Tussock Traverse, the Bridge to Nowhere or just spending a weekend running around Waiheke. I recommend them all.
What I’ve gained from running is the fun I have had and the friends I have made. It’s so much part of my life, and I will keep running for as long as I can. It’s been such a fantastic experience running with Scottish and I would like to thank all the people whose hard work within the club makes it all happen.