Run a rainbow of colour
ORGANISERS feared the economic crisis might hit numbers at the HSBC Round the Bays on Sunday but they were wrong.
They came in their thousands, in pink, blue, yellow, red, green and every other colour imaginable.
They came in hats, scuba gear, centipede and lion costumes, snorkels and everyday t-shirts.
They came alone, with family, friends and workmates.
And it all came together in brilliant sunshine, and after a 15-minute hold-up when a bus broke down along the 8.4km waterfront route, nearly 70,000 people took to the streets for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation sponsored event.
Organised by Fairfax Media, publishers of this news- paper – with the support of an army of volunteers from the Auckland Jogging Club – HSBC Round the Bays will pump thousands of charity dollars into Starship and Kidz First children’s hospitals, Hearing House, Gifted Kids and Fairfax First Books.
On hand to help start the event Prime Minister John Key told the crowd he was proud of them.
“You have my grateful thanks that you have all turned out to have a great time and to help some good causes while you do it.”
The National Party leader also read out messages of support from the mayors for Auckland, North Shore and Waitakere cities.
Despite the delay caused by the bus breakdown, the crowd was good natured and in a festive mood.
The event started when the army fired its cannon at 9.45am.
It took 20 minutes for the crowd to pass over the starting line, with a big cheer reserved for the Westpac Bank team at the rear. The bank teamed up with the Halberg Trust to enter a team of 700 people, including 150 disabled athletes.
Squash legend Dame Susan Devoy was among the helpers. She said it had been several years since she had done HSBC Round the Bays and she was blown away by the event.
“It is an awesome event and Fairfax and HSBC do an incredible job.
“It’s wonderful to see so many disabled athletes getting out and joining in, and seeing the support they get while they are doing it,” she said.
Take your marks: Good-natured Round the Bays 2009 fun run entrants at the Quay St startline on Sunday.