31 Dec 2020

Melissa Moon recognised for her long distance feats

8:52 am on 31 December 2020

World champion long distance runner Melissa Moon reached great heights in her athletics career and has continued to use to her talents to help others.

Mountain runner Melissa Moon.


The Wellingtonian is to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics and charitable causes in the New Year honours.

Moon, 51, started focussing on running in the early 1990s and won 21 New Zealand athletics titles over her career which ended in 2012.

She was twice the World Mountain Running champion in 2001 and 2003 and in 2020 was recognised by the World Mountain Running Association as the second-ranked female mountain runner of all time.

In 2010 she won the World Tower Running Championship and World Vertical Running Championship and in 2012 went even faster in the annual race up the 1576 stairs of Empire State Building in New York finishing the skyscraper run in 12 minutes and 39 seconds, 34 seconds faster than the last time she won in 2010.

Not all of Moon's athletic endeavours have been about her own success.

In 2007 she was one of 20 selected international athletes who participated in the Blue Planet Run around the world, a 95 day non-stop relay race which began at the United Nations in New York with the aim of providing safe drinking water to 200 million people by 2027.

In 2015 she guided blind runner Maria Williams in the London Marathon where Williams' time earned her the number two spot in the International Paralympic rankings for the fully blind.

Away from sport, Moon has volunteered at Wellington's Compassion Centre for more than a decade, is an ambassador for the Malaghan Institute of Medical research and serves as a patron of Project K, a mentoring programme for youth that uses adventure-based learning.