Monday, 10 September 2012

Taranaki's first mud run, the Naki Run Amuck race

The Rotary Club of New Plymouth North ran an extremely successful fund raising event called Naki Run Amuk. The name says it all.  Naki is short for Taranaki, the province in New Zealand where New Plymouth is the biggest city. Run is what the event is all about, and Amuk, yes, it is through lots of mud! 

The event came about after club members Chris Connolly, Kay Kendall and Jill Fearn enjoyed a fun mud run in the Waikato where runners had to undertake an obstacle course, similar to Army endurance courses. Nothing like this had been done before in Taranaki, and noting the popularity of similar courses in New Zealand, it was seen as a great idea to undertake a run as a local fundraising community event and to promote Rotary. The first challenge was to find a suitable location, and after much research, Urenui was chosen.

Urenui is a village 30km north of New Plymouth, situated at the mouth of the Urenui River. The river is tidal and has great mudflats with surrounding hills and cliffs. At the river mouth there is a large camping ground with supporting amenities. A course was mapped, about 4 km long, which encompassed a beach run with obstacles, a cliff climb with ropes to assist, a road race section , and then lots of mud through the river including a slide, rope ladder, and a swim across the 2 metre deep river mouth. To finish off, the local Volunteer Fire Brigade hosed everybody down with freezing water!

A good range of generous prizes were donated by the business community to cover all ages and performances. Each entrant was individually timed, and the fit and enthusiastic runners ran the course twice.

The Urenui community got 100% behind the event.  The school provided a sausage sizzle, the  local Lions club assisted Rotary as a fellow service organization, the local boutique brewery offered tastings in the entry packs and provided a stall to complement the sausages, supported by the Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Entrants ranged from enthusiasts who do all the mud runs around the country to individuals and teams from local businesses. The age range was from 15 to 71.

The 430 entries exceeded the club's expectations and a profit of over $10,000 was achieved. The major beneficiary was the local Taranaki Coastguard who are building a new rescue boat. Their members helped as marshals. New Plymouth North Rotary Club has a membership  of 24, and every member participated 200%.

Following wonderful feedback from the participants, the club Is going to make it an annual winter event . The Urenui community also want to make it an annual event, so the club is already planning for June 2, 2013 where 800 plus entrants are expected.  Keep an eye on for registrations to open to challenge yourself and your friends on a course of natural and man-made obstacles plus of course mud and more mud.