Safety be­hind new start for iconic event

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CHRIS­TINE WALSH

Moun­tain to Surf is back for 2018.

Come March 3, road run­ners from across the coun­try, and fur­ther afield, will con­verge on Taranaki to com­pete in the scenic marathon event.

‘‘It’s very beau­ti­ful, it’s very very scenic. It cov­ers ev­ery­thing. You’re com­ing down from the moun­tain so you’ve got that sort of en­vi­ron­ment, and then of course down along the coast,’’ said co-di­rec­tor of the event Fiona Parkin­son.

Bay­ley’s Moun­tain to Surf has gone the dis­tance since 1980, with en­tries up by 40 com­pared to this time last year. While the moun­tain and the sea have stayed the same, the event has had a num­ber of changes.

This time around, the start­ing post for the half marathon will shift to Lep­per­ton and con­nect up to the full marathon route to fin­ish at New Ply­mouth’s East End Beach.

‘‘The change was purely for safety rea­sons,’’ said Parkin­son.

The half marathon was in­tro­duced in 2014, since then its popularity has steadily in­creased, with 196 en­tries last year in the 21.1km race and 194 in the 42.2km race, as well as team run­ners.

Many peo­ple use the shorter race as a train­ing ground to com­pete in a marathon fur­ther down the track. The full marathon has a

‘‘It's very beau­ti­ful, it's very very scenic’’

This event is very spe­cial and we don't want to lose it

rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing a fast race, and ap­pealed to se­ri­ous run­ners who wanted to clock in a good time on their records.

Parkin­son said as a whole, Moun­tain to Surf had some­thing for ev­ery­one and a lot of com­peti­tors come from abroad.

‘‘Our point of dif­fer­ence, and it has al­ways been a dif­fer­ence, is that it’s from the moun­tain to the sea,’’ she said.

‘‘As far as marathons around New Zealand go, that’s fairly un­usual and kind of spe­cial.’’

Bay­leys Moun­tain to Surf marathon se­lected the Taranaki Re­treat, as its char­ity part­ner for 2018. Peo­ple can sup­port the sui­cide preven­tion ini­tia­tive by do­nat­ing on their en­try form or by com­pet­ing and rais­ing funds through spon­sor­ship.

Parker said this event would not be pos­si­ble with­out the vol­un­teers who give their time and sup­port from the lo­cal busi­nesses.

The marathon kicks off from the gates of Eg­mont Na­tional Park, the half marathon starts from Lep­per­ton Hall, Rich­mond St, and the half marathon twop­er­son team re­lay starts from Lep­per­ton School with the changeover at Cor­bett Rd. All the races fin­ish at the East End Re­serve.

For more in­for­ma­tion and to en­ter visit moun­tain­to­

moun­tain to Surf codi­rec­tor Fiona Parkin­son pas­sion­ate about the marathon and Taranaki re­treat.

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