Event: Waihi Beach Fun Run/Walk
Waihi Beach along the Western Bay of Plenty is a popular destination during the summer for hundreds of holiday goers. Some go to enjoy the surf, some to go fishing, many to simply enjoy the long stretches of white sand; whatever the reason, the beach is involved.
Although this is a relatively safe swimming beach, the surf lifeguards have a big presence here. Support for this vital service is strong.
For the past 34 years, Ian Robertson has been organizing the annual Waihi Beach Fun Run / Walk as a fund raiser to help support the Waihi Beach Surf Lifeguard Service.
This event of almost 10 km is along the beach from the Bowentown Coastguard Building to the Waihi Beach Surf Life Club. It is always early in the New Year taking advantage of the huge influx of holidaying families.
The date shifts to make the most of the low tide, hard sand, weather and cooling sea breeze. This year it was held on January 4 with the start time at 4pm.
The popularity of this event is growing. About six hundred competitors this year made their way along the beach in near perfect conditions. The sand was firm and the waves were tame. There were no stranded jellyfish to leap over, no shore fishing lines to dodge under and only a few littered broken shells to avoid. Many competed in bare feet.
At $5 individual entry cost, ($1 for children) this would surely be the most affordable event in the country.
From young to old, holiday makers, locals, serious competitors, casual strollers, runners, walkers, kids on bikes, babies in buggies, everyone enjoyed the late afternoon event. Many wore only togs ready for the cooling splash into the surf at the end.
With a sausage sizzle to tempt the hungry, the dairy doing a roaring trade in ice-creams, plenty of spot prizes, this Fun Run is a real fun affair. It is an event worthy of its participation and a credit to its organizers and cause.
This year Waihi Beach Surf Lifeguard Service benefited from approximately $2000.
The beach was thronged with both walkers and runners.
Below: Queuing up to register.