Peak Trail Blazer has a big heart for re­gion

Havelock North Village Press - - Front Page -

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.

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