March for ‘fit­ness and friend­ship’

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Ellen Brace­field loves the chal­lenge of march­ing, but isn’t wor­ried there’s no tro­phy at the end.

The Porirua res­i­dent and her Kapi Mana In­steps Leisure March­ing Team are busy putting the fi­nal touches on their host­ing du­ties for the Leisure March­ing Na­tion­als, to be held at Te Rau­paraha Arena on March 3 and 4.

More than 80 teams, from Kaitaia to In­ver­cargill, will be at­tend­ing the na­tion­als, which is mark­ing its 25th year.

Leisure march­ing might have mil­i­tary-in­spired uni­forms, but it does not have di­vi­sions or hand out medals or tro­phies like the com­pet­i­tive march­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

The em­pha­sis was on meet­ing your own stan­dards and hav­ing fun, Brace­field said.

‘‘While en­joy­ing our­selves is the key aim, it does take com­mit­ment, and it is a phys­i­cal and men­tal dis­ci­pline,’’ she said.

‘‘We hold our­selves up to a cer­tain level and some of our rou­tine is quite tech­ni­cal - we’re our own harsh­est crit­ics.

‘‘We, and the other teams, can’t wait to show off the hard work we’ve been putting in, hope­fully in front of a good au­di­ence here in Porirua.’’

While march­ing in New Zealand be­gan in the 1930s - as a way to keep young women fit af­ter the on­set of the Great De­pres­sion - leisure march­ing’s ori­gins can be traced back only to 1991.

It was sparked by an older group of ex-com­pet­i­tive marchers who wanted to pro­mote the sport and keep ac­tive, but in a more re­laxed way.

Brace­field has been with the Kapi Mana In­steps club - es­tab­lished in 1993 - since 1999.

She said it had a steady mem­ber­ship of 13, who got to­gether once a week all-year round at the North Welling­ton In­door Bowls As­so­ci­a­tion clu­b­rooms on the edge of Onepoto Do­main.

Ages of par­tic­i­pants range from mid-40s to 70, she said, and join­ing was of­ten through ‘‘word of mouth’’.

‘‘It’s fun be­cause we all have the same goal of get­ting bet­ter at march­ing, and the friend­ship and fit­ness side of things is a real bonus.’’

Along with the Kapi Mana women, teams from Kapiti, Welling­ton and Tawa will likely take part at Te Rau­paraha Arena, where most will per­form a five-minute dis­play.

The doors open at 12.30pm on March 3 and the march­ing be­gins at 1pm with an of­fi­cial open­ing and march past. Dis­plays will go on till 3.30pm.

The fol­low­ing day, dis­plays start at 9am and con­cludes at 3.30pm, end­ing with a maze march and clos­ing cer­e­mony. En­try is free.

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