Peak Trail Blazer has a big heart for region
Once dubbed “the little event with a big heart” by online running magazine Running Plus, the Peak Trail Blazer will return to the trails of Te Mata Peak on Sunday November 20, for its 7th year. The Peak Trail Blazer, with a 12.8km Te Mata Peak trail and 3.5km Tainui trail, was dreamed up as a school fundraiser by three parents from Havelock North Primary— Jo Throp, Susie Devonshire and Rachel Cornwall, who were soon joined by Jan Broadley as the event took shape.
Race Director Jo Throp says more than 3400 people have run the two trails over the years, raising more than $108,000, with about $80,000 going to Havelock North Primary for school hall improvements and a further $28,000 going back to the wider community.
“We said from the outsetwe wanted this to be a true community-focused event, not only when attracting entrants from all over Hawke’s Bay, but also by giving something positive back to the community that supports it,” saysMs Throp. “This aspect of the event is really important to us.”
This year’s recipientswill be Heart Kids Hawke’s Bay and the HastingsGiants BoxingAcademy whichwill each receive 20 per cent of the funds raised from the 2016 event.
CraigMcDougall from Hastings Giants Boxing Academy says the moneywill be put towards their new mentoring programme. The support of the Peak Trail Blazer will also continue to lift their profile within the close-knit Hawke’s Bay community.
Heart Kids Hawke’s Bay spokesperson Rachael Bartle says they loved the idea of the event from the get go.
“Funnily enough when we were approached about it, and then after having met with the organisers, we all felt the event had real ‘heart’. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
Past recipients have included Sumner School and Kaiapoi Borough School after the earthquakes in Christchurch, the Te Mata Park Trust and the Heretaunga Women’s Centre.
Jo says it’s taken a lot of “hard graft and passion for the cause” by a core group of volunteer organisers, but the event is now firmly established on the local running calendar managing to attract top runners, such as reigning champions RubyMuir and Eric Speakman, who are keen to have a shot at the titles of Rod McDonaldWines King of the Peak, Hawke’s BayOrthodonticsQueen of the Peak, and get their name in the prestigious The Scorchers Sub 50 minute and Hall of Flames Sub 60 minute clubs.
“Our aim is to now take this momentum and extend it out of the region to attract runners of all ages and abilities to come and take part,” says Jo. “We believe there’s so many unique and cool aspects to this event— not only the fundraising angle, but the relatively low entry fee, the fact that all entrants wear timing chips, people can run or walk, there’s a short and a long course, and there’s the ability for people from all ages and fitness levels to take part on either trail. It’s a great entry-level event as well as being highly competitive at the top end.”
“The buzz at the finish line is fantastic as five year olds from the short course run in at the same time as theirmums or dadswho have just finished the Te Mata Peak course— it’s a really great thing to be a part of.”
Jo says the event would not be possiblewithout the support of sponsors, many of whom have beenwith the event since the beginning.
“We are always grateful they took a punt on this crazy idea. They really are the ones who enabled this event to get up and running.”
This year’s sponsors are: Gold sponsors— Hawke’s Bay Orthodontics, RodMcDonald Wines, Hawthorne Coffee, Natasha Bousfield Tremains Real Estate, Aesthetic Dental, Bramwell Grossman, SpecSavers Hastings andBWRChartered Accountants. Silver Sponsors— Shoe Clinic Napier, MR Labels& Print, Goodpixel, Bespoke Travel, and Simon Cartwright Photography, and Supported by SportHawke’s Bay and Havelock North Primary.
Entries open in September, with details at www.peaktrailblazer.co.nz
BIG RUN: Competitors on the 3.5km Tainui Trail during last year’s Peak Trail Blazer at Havelock North.