Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Rotary putting Northland New Zealand on the multisporting map!
Putting Northland New
Zealand firmly on the multisport event map in only its second year is the Kerikeri Rotary Club’s Top Energy Northern Crossing. It attracted 174 competitors to the start line on Saturday 7th May. Professional athlete and trainer Sam Goodall (26 of Paremoremo) returned and successfully defended his 2010 title in the solo multisport event in a time of 5:13:19 Real competition this year happened out on the water as the Kayaks raced up the from Opononi to Rawene. Second placed Craig Newton of Hokianga Harbour pipped Sam’s time in the kayak leg by 1 minute 51 seconds. This was in part due to Sam leaving his spray skirt at home. No spray skirt equals liquid ballast being shipped on board from the initial choppy conditions on the harbour. However Sam’s strong running legs and fastest cycle leg in the event ensured his victory. Auckland
Hayley Goold (31 of
) put in a strong performance particularly with her awesome kayak leg time of 1:48:49 crossing the finish line first in 6:14:35 Auckland
Multisport team winners Team JDJ had a strong kayak leg with John Sanderson (
) taking it to the leaders with the 2nd fastest kayak time of 1:44:19 over the 18 km course. This team included Justin Philips and Kerikeri Rotarian Dale Simkin. Auckland
The Duathlon solo was won by Rob Dallimore (34 of Auckland) 3:44:16 The women’s duathlon solo was won by Chubby Hale (22 of Whangarei) in 4:26:09 while the first Duathlon team home was Glendowie Mafia: Cam Langsford and Marcel Blake in 3:55:47
First Rotarian to finish the entire course was Tricia Hodgson of the Waipapa Rotary Club in 7:48:15
This year after a drizzly early morning start, the day progressively brightened showing off the scenery in its best light. The TV3 crew filming at Rawene’s Boat shed Café for the programme ‘Café Secrets’ to be aired later in the year was able to capture the energy brought to the Hokianga by this Rotary organaised event.
The starting orders, momentarily delayed as the overlooked gate key to unlock the barrier into South Head was located, were given by Far North Mayor Wayne Brown after a karakia by John Klarisich, releasing the runners into the growing dawn light over the Hokianga sand dunes, through the wet mist, and up and over the Klarisich farm. Once the notoriously steep hill heading to Omapere had been conquered, the Hokianga harbour opened up in front of the runners, who completed leg one with a scenic run along the beach to the waiting kayaks. Conditions continued to improve out on the water as the kayakers ploughed up the harbour on the incoming tide with a tough 10 - 15 knot northwesterly headwind giving way to beautiful paddling conditions by the halfway stage.
The 700m transition from the kayak to cycles at Rawene gave the legs a good stretch before the 74km cycle route across the district to Waipapa. By then the shady stream-side run down the Kerikeri river track to the Stone store basin offered relief to the runners from the sunshine.
The 108 km route, which follows the ancestral path of early Maori and missionaries from “coast to coast” across Northland, is the fund-raising brain child of the Kerikeri Rotary Club which has received huge support from Top Energy and many other sponsors and supporters, creating an event benefitting all Northlanders. ‘We couldn’t put on such a large, involved event without the enthusiastic support we get from other Rotary Clubs in the region, the Lions, the schools and many, many others’ said Kerikeri Club Past President and PR coordinator of the event Lian Brott. ‘The coming together of so many members of the community to make this happen is what makes this event so special’. Proceeds from the Northern Crossing are supporting the Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter and community youth projects.
So how did a Rotary Club get into organising such a major sporting event? The Kerikeri Rotary Club was running two fairly weather dependent major fundraisers, the annual Garden Safari now in its 24rd year and a sailing outing ‘Day on the Bay’. When it had to be cancelled a couple of years in a row due to bad weather the Club looked around for a less weather dependent activity that would bring more widespread benefit to Northland and hit on the Multisport event. Well, sure enough, it nearly got wiped out by a terrible stormy day last year but the resilient athletes pulled through and came back for a second try.
‘Congrats to all those who competed, and thanks to all the marshalls, support crews, and police out there. Also a massive congrats to the organisers, yesterday was the most well organised, and best run race I have ever done, well done guys, look forward to next year,’ wrote Sam Goodall on the event Facebook page.