New Zealand’s largest fun run marking the 40th anniversary attracted an estimated 70,000 walkers, runners and wheelchair athletes; the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays attracted a large crowd to complete the 8.4km journey from Quay Street to St Heliers Bay at varying paces.
First to cross the finish line in 28 minutes and 4 seconds was Jono Jackson from Auckland City Athletics Club.
The winner took it easy until the last kilometre when he picked up the pace, and puts his win down to competition within his Club.
“I’ve come second for the last two years so I really wanted to win, we have this superstar guy in the Club but I just got him in the end,” says Jono.
Second across was Tony Payne who completed the distance in 28 minutes and 16 seconds.
The first woman across the finish line, Lisa Robertson, was nearly five minutes ahead of her closest rival, clocking in at 29 minutes and 19 seconds, followed by Nikki Hill at 34 minutes and 14 seconds.
Women’s winner Lisa, a member of Pakuranga Athletics Club, was a first-timer at Ports of Auckland Round the Bays.
“I felt like I was going to win it right from the start,” says Lisa.
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays was also a special occasion for young Sahara Adams. The 13 year old Make-A-Wish recipient was the official race starter, setting the 70,000 strong crowd on its way at 9.30am.
“It was so cool! It was a bit freaky with all those people, but I really enjoyed it,” says Sahara.
Sahara, who is undergoing leukaemia treatment, recently met her idol Taylor Swift thanks to Make-A-Wish New Zealand.
Proceeds from the 42,000 participants who officially registered for today’s event will go to Make-A-Wish New Zealand, Child Cancer Foundation, Garden to Table Trust, Fairfax First Books and Kidz First Childrens Hospital.
After the event, crowds headed to over 600 barbecue sites at Madills Farm and Glover Park for food, refreshments and entertainment.
Event spokesperson, Fairfax Media Group Sales and Marketing Manager Sandra King, says over 80% of entrants were part of a team, making Ports of Auckland Round the Bays a big day out for many businesses.
“Teams ranged from four to 1200, with some brilliant t-shirt slogans and costumes. For Fairfax’s team of over 270, it was a lot of fun,” says King.
Weather conditions were fine for the race duration, with cloud cover and slight drizzle later in the morning helping to cool off tired runners.
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays was established by the Auckland Joggers Club in 1972 with the inaugural event attracting 1200.