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Rain doesn’t stop race to Rock


Words by Julia Wade / Photos by Chantelle Peeni

4 MF-TopoRock2-606Rain, mud and slippery slopes became part of a recent local sporting event, the eighth annual Kaiwaka Sports Association's (KSA) ‘Top of the Rock’ challenge, which still achieved a successful turnout despite the tumultuous weather. 

The morning of February 11 began with mist and low cloud hovering over the Brynderwyn range and the fabulous Baldrock rock, giving some initial optimism the rain might hold. However light showers soon turned heavy, drenching walkers, runners and cyclists even before they set off from the starting line.

Organiser of the event and KSA manager, Cheryl Anderson, says although her ‘prayer to the weather gods went unanswered’ leading to a few no-shows, rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of competitors who appeared to enjoy themselves.

“Participants arrived back at the finish line saturated and mud-splattered but were in good spirits, still smiling and positive which was wonderful,” she says. “Some mentioned that the weather even added a fun challenge.”

4 MF-TopoRock1-719Three hundred people had initially signed up to the event, eager to take on a variety of walks, runs and bike rides across farmland, over local roads and through bushland, and to enjoy the panoramic views from the pinnacle of Baldrock Mountain. However due to the constant wet weather participants had to be satisfied with only getting metres away from the rocky summit, as the upward track was deemed too slippery and unsafe. 

Young children also enjoyed a fun bike event around the KSA fields, Kaiwaka School grounds and a neighbouring farm, a ‘short flat route perfect for the little ones… the kids had a blast!’ Anderson said. 

Participants and volunteers gathered at the KSA complex for an after-event celebration and prize giving. A vast list of local businesses, services, eateries and residents donated over 90 prizes for the winners, auctions and spot prizes with a special award for the oldest competitor, won by 77-year-old local woman Jewel Mills, who completed the 11km walk and has participated in the race since it began.

TOTR organisers would like to thank all their generous sponsors, the Coates Family Trust and the landowners who gave permission for the routes to go over their farmland, as well as the many volunteers who turned up in the wet weather and yet still managed to smile.

“We had marshals, registration officials, the fire brigade for the route supervision and Roxanne Kelly for traffic management, various community groups who provided food stalls, bar staff, the Happy Fish Band, first-aiders, and Chantelle Peeni, who braved the rain to take photos,” she says.

“As with most community events this was a team effort… and they all did an awesome job!” 
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Race winners
30km bike –  Matt Andrew, Hayley Hodgetts; 10km bike –  Andrew Birt, Zoe Watson; Run & bike – Sean Long, Bridget Leonard; 11km run – Mason Spiers, Kirstie Hamlin; 5km run – Jackson Brierly, Millie Brierly.

Prize winners
Carol Mills and Denise McMonagle won the Volunteers Prize Draw; Jewel Mills received a $50 prize from Mangawhai Tyres for oldest competitor; Natasha Hammer won the main spot prize of a mountain bike, sponsored by Torpedo 7; Peter Flower won the auction for a lawnmower, donated by Kaiwaka Motorcycles; Silver Fern Farms meat packs went to Sue Joll, Niall McKenzie and Karen Stewart. 


1: Walkers braving the torrential rain and slippery conditions with companionship and smiles.
2: Delighted to have met the challenge; three cyclists at the finish line after a long muddy ride.
3: An army of volunteers turned up on the wet day to assure safe passage for participants. 
4: Children under 10 years enjoyed an easier but just as wet route around the KSA and surrounding grounds.  

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