About the event and the history
The Monaco Mid Winter Marathon is a fun & challenging event that participants can undertake as competitively as they choose. It’s up to you! It’s informal, low cost and meant to be fun, with a bunch of like-minded people on a winters day. It is a marathon distance across all event categories (i.e. 42.2 km), either run solo, as a pair or a team of four.
The basic philosophy is that lack of means shouldn’t be a barrier to entry and anyone who is willing to try and prepare themselves for this event are warmly invited to have a go. It’s not the Olympics, so the emphasis is on rewarding participation rather than winners. However, winners will be acknowledged and rewarded in a small way, and everyone who completes the solo marathon will receive a commemorative certificate. First time marathoners are particularly welcome! Times will be taken for everyone with results published online after the event.
Our aim is that no one goes home empty handed! So essentially LOW KEY, LOW COST, HIGH FUN!
“Anyone who is willing to try & prepare themselves for this event are warmly invited to have a go”
Stu Cottam and the Monaco Mid Winter Marathon
It was on a cool crisp winter’s day, during a Sunday morning long run, that a bunch of like-minded runners sowed the seed for what eventually came to be the popular and charitable Monaco Mid-Winter Marathon.
Ideas were exchanged and tossed around. The group even tried running from Tahunanui beach to Rabbit Island, which was a near perfect 42km.
Stu Cottam, as the de facto ‘shepherd of the flock’ was the fella who took on promotion and creation of the event. It went from a “just turn up on the day and take your own time” to an organised event almost overwhelmingly quickly. Fortunately for Stu, with a lot of hard work and the assistance of many great helpers, along with a bit of improvisation, the Inaugural Monaco Mid-Winter Marathon was held in June 2014.
Choosing the course
When looking for a suitable location Stu decided upon starting the race at The Monaco Peninsula for its picturesque and central location, with the iconic seaside, old English tavern of the Honest Lawyer as the race host.
From there, the course meanders around the Waimea inlet which showcases some stunning seaside views, bordered with snow covered mountain vistas, crossing rivers (via bridge), running through farmland, all the way out to the family hotspot of Rabbit Island, a stunning beach and recreational reserve.
Stu says he’s a broken down old 50’s something runner who much prefers the off-road variety and will have a go at most runs (the tougher the better generally). Given the distance he continues to cover on his travels, we’d argue he’s certainly not broken down.
Stu only really began running in his 30s. In his ‘prime’ he could run a sub 3-hour Marathon and won a few things here and there. Age, and wear and tear, have taken their toll though.
With a love for running in the hills, mountains and trails around Nelson, his belief has always been that Nelsonians have a great spot for getting away from it all. Some days you just need to go for a bloomin’ good, long run!
Organising this Marathon was just one of many hats he wore and things he enjoyed doing. Stu is an early childhood teacher by profession and with that enjoys the energy, enthusiasm, and optimism of young kids. We can learn a lot from them and them a lot from us, so much so that many young local runners got into the sport having seen him running locally or sharing his experiences in the classroom.
Without people having a crack at something on event day the effort put into it would all be a little fruitless so, many thanks to all those who get motivated, get out there, and go and do it! Thanks!
My sincere hopes for the future of this event are:
✓ This will be a ‘not for profit’ event.
✓ The main event will be the marathon!
✓ It will be low key and relatively hassle free to enter, and to have a go at.
✓ It will be an event that encourages and rewards first time marathoners (and indeed beginning runners of all kinds).
✓ No one will go home empty handed.
Kia kaha to all you runners and walkers!
The future of the event
Following Stu’s departure for Thailand in July 2020, a small group led by Dan Bullock felt that what Stu had achieved in setting up this event was too good to let go. The idea behind the event is unique in its purpose of aiming to encourage new people into the sport and with few barriers to entry. All proceeds going to local charities to help everyone is also a concept which we don’t come across very often.
As a group of passionate supporters and sponsors, we therefore want to continue with the legacy set out by Stu and ensure that running in Nelson continues to thrive. The re-introduction of a multi-person marathon relay in 2022 is seen as the first step in encouraging new people into the sport, surrounded by like-minded people.
Following on from the success of the last 2 years, Dan and the other amazing volunteer team was asked to take over the reigns of the Honest Lawyer 5k Series during the spring and summer and with that, "Active4Good" & Nelson Tasman Community Sport Events Inc was born in January 2023. With the support and expertise among the committee and membership base, the idea is to continue to grow the event.
It’s with thanks to and assistance from Athletics Nelson, Waimea Harriers and Nelson Events, in terms of organisational expertise, volunteer marshals and equipment use, that we can get the event running. Thanks also go to the Honest Lawyer for providing the facilities used, together with sponsors for the prizes and awards donated to the event.
For Good Causes
The organisers will donate the surplus of your entry fees to local good causes, in accordance with the Society Rules. These will be voted upon by the membership and committee.