This year marked the 10th birthday of the Tarawera Ultramarathon. It's a remarkable foot race through the unique and majestic Bay of Plenty landscape and is now an iconic event, for the region, nationally and internationally.
It's been event founder and organiser Paul Charteris' baby for the past decade. A baby born in the canyons of California, raised on a diet of good, old-fashioned Kiwi can-do, nurtured by some Bay of Plenty good sorts and loved by a tribe of nutcase ultra runners. It's no longer a baby.
The business is a fully-fledged adult - with responsibilities like staff, financial management, stakeholder relationships and governance.
And Paul has learned many things on this journey. Just a sample of these is a blueprint for all good event management. Over to the big guy:
Everyone has his or her own life
In the early days of Tarawera, I'd get upset when someone else signed up for another event and did not want to do Tarawera.
Were these people crazy? Did they not understand how awesome Tarawera was? Jeeze, was I ever childish. With 10 years of maturity, I have come to realise that everyone has their own things going on in their own lives.
They don't dislike Tarawera, they cannot afford the entry fee, they're no longer runners or the dog-sitter is busy that weekend. If people come to our events, it's a privilege. They are our guests and we treat them with respect and humility. If they don't come, they don't come.
Have empathy and compassion
We create events that help people strive for and achieve something remarkable. With this comes a great weight of responsibility.
Some runners enter our events as a journey to discover who they are. It may be a journey of weight-loss, overcoming addiction, work-related issues or grief. We must not lose sight of that responsibility.
What leadership is
It's not leading. It's staying true to yourself and what you believe in.
It's communicating the good, the bad and the ugly with your team, sharing the passion and mucking in when things need to get done.
It's acknowledging a job well done and also admitting when you've ****ed up. Mostly, it's about communication and being there for people.
Organising events has given me a humility that I never had before. A genuine desire to help others, to care, to have compassion, nurture relationships and leave something good in the world.
Onwards to the next 10 years because I feel like I have only just begun to make a difference. Those finish-line tears are just the start, not the end.
• Paul Charteris and business partner Tim Day are two people in the event industry I feel privileged to know. They are brilliant at what they do, innovative, imaginative, willing to take on challenges others might resist - and they're good blokes, as well.
Their next gig is four weeks away on April 28. It's the third annual Waitomo Trail Run in another unique environment, above and below ground.
As the website says: "Explorers will run or walk over and under 6, 11, 22 or 35km of landscape that has to be seen to be believed." Indeed.
Entries are open: www.waitomotrailrun.co.nz