Sun shines for fun run
NEAR PERFECT conditions greeted the crowd of nearly 70,000 for Sunday’s 37th annual HSBC Round the Bays charity fun run.
The conditions were fine overhead but a strong head wind made life tricky for the runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes making their way along the 8.4km course on Auckland’s waterfront.
Wheelchair racer Brett McArthur was the first to cross the finish line at St Heliers Bay in 19 minutes and 37 seconds.
The 43-year-old travels from Australia to compete in the event each year and is a veteran of 10 Round the Bays.
“It was the toughest one I’ve ever done by a long way – that was a shocker,” he says.
“A couple of the bays have a little bit of shelter so you get some respite but those are the areas you have to go harder in to get your speed up again.
“The head wind kills us because we rely on getting to a top speed and then maintaining it.
“This was just blowing us back.”
Birkenhead resident Roman Kruszewski was the fastest man and surprised himself with a brisk time of 29m and 8s.
“I turned 50 last year so I thought I’d better give it a go,” he says.
“But I didn’t think I’d be competitive.
“Normally you get a tail wind but it was the other way around this time,” Mr Kruszewski says.
Pakuranga College teacher Sarah Devoy wasn’t far behind and clocked in at 31m and 25s to become the first woman home.
Her plan to arrive early and make sure of a good starting position worked out well.
“If you’re close to the start line it makes it so much easier,” the Pakuranga Athletics Club member says.
The 26-year-old usually runs in crosscountry long distance races but proved she is just as speedy on the tarmac.
Around 47,000 people registered for the event and there was a range of eyecatching costumes on display.
Jeremy Stewart, 37, from Kingsland, did not let the hot sun put him off wearing a full-body Spiderman suit.
And Greenlane’s Clayton Barnett, 29, and Onehunga’s Nicola Dale, 27, also made light of the baking heat by donning medieval regalia.
Bright colours were also popular among some of the younger runners, such as Albany teenager Amy Burgess, 18, who was impossible to miss in her bright pink outfit.
Round the Bays was introduced in 1972 by the Auckland Joggers Club and its numbers have skyrocketed since the first event, which attracted only 1200 participants.
Proceeds from this year’s HSBC Round the Bays fun run will help support to Fairfax First Books, Gifted Kids and Hearing House.
Good luck: Prime Minister John Key, above, catches up with 95-year-old Ray Glasgow from St Mary’s Bay at the start line.
Superhero: Jeremy Stewart, dressed as Spiderman, and Mia Stewart, 5, from Kingsland, compete in the Round the Bays in style.
Carried away: Clayton Barnett, from Greenlane, carries Nicola Dale, from Onehunga, over the finish line.