Sporty family take on event

By Michele McPherson

With stewed apple and a carbo-loaded sticky bun for breakfast two Paengaroa sisters prepared for yesterday's 25th Annual Mount Joggers & Walkers Half Marathon.
Sky Davies, 11, and Ocean, 8, have been training for the 5km event for the past six months under the guidance of their Mount Maunganui-based uncle, Brad Dixon.
"We have a big farm so we run up and down the hills," Sky said.
The girl's mother, Tania Davies, was at the start line for the 10km event yesterday while Mr Dixon joined his nieces in the 5km event.
Mrs Davies said she comfortably completed the same event last year without any training.
"But I couldn't walk for three or four days [afterwards]. Now I've decided I'm going to do it every year to keep up with my kids. It's really cool to be a fit mum," she said.
Mr Dixon, who works as a triathlon coach, said he encouraged his nieces to try as many sports as possible and make exercise part of their lifestyle.
Meanwhile, Tauranga MP Simon Bridges was delighted with his finishing time of 1hr 43min in the half marathon.
"Anything under two hours I would have been happy with. It was only the last two or three kilometres where I was really starting to fade," he said.
Mr Bridges described the event as "tremendous".
"I'd like to see is a Tauranga full marathon because I think as we become a bigger city we could probably sustain one," he said.
Race organiser Luke Garea said the 25th anniversary event had attracted the largest crowd yet with more than 500 participants in the half marathon feature event and more than 1300 across the three fields.
"It was magic. Weather obviously played its part for sure, which always helps and we had record numbers.


"The weather last year was horrible, it was just a huge gale, plenty of rain, so it was just good for people to enjoy the anniversary with good weather."
For the first time the half marathon course was also designed to be suitable for disabled and able-bodied participants.
Among those competing was Tauranga table tennis paralympian Mark Wilson. Mr Wilson, who has cerebral palsy, recently flew to the Darwin Arafura Games as part of a 12-strong Paralympics New Zealand team, where he achieved his primary goals of winning an international game and gaining an official world ranking, but just missed out on his first international medal.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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