Tauranga's walkways selected for charity

By John Cousins

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Tauranga's little-known network of walkways has been selected as the focus for a new community event to raise money for Bay cancer sufferers.

Discover Tauranga Walkways begins on May 19 next year and will involve a variety of walkway circuits and distances catering for everyone, from super-fit runners to more leisurely walkers.

"It's for all ages and abilities. We want it to be fun for everyone," co-ordinator Ray Smith said.

The event began as an idea by the Welcome Bay Lions Club and quickly gained traction until it grew to involve Tauranga's 12 Lions clubs.

Mr Smith said they hoped to raise $100,000 for the Cancer Society's Lions Cancer Lodge in Hamilton.

Bay people have to travel to Waikato Hospital for their cancer treatment and the lodge was a place where they could stay overnight free of charge. Lions were contributing $3 million of the $5 million cost. Discover Tauranga Walkways was one of six largely new entries on the Western Bay's events' calender.

Tauranga City Council has agreed to support the six events, with grants of $1000 each.

The other new events are MotorSport Bay of Plenty's motorkhana at Baypark on March 1-3, Parafed Bay of Plenty's North Island wheelchair rugby league and basketball championships on May 4 and August 10, and the Kaimai Goat Adventure Run on March 23 - a 17km race from Wairere Falls to Aongatete Lodge.

It is a spin-off from the Tongariro National Park Goat Run.

The Kaimai Classic, cancelled this year because the organiser was unable to raise enough sponsorship, has also received $1000.

Council events manager Peter Melgren said the race still had potential and the money was a hand-up to get the April 28 event back to where it needed to be.

The motorkhana will be a national championship event involving tight precision driving, such as timed bent sprints or manoeuvring around cones as quickly as possible. It usually required accurate sliding and spinning of the car.

The main feature of Discover Tauranga Walkways will be a 60km relay race, which the organisers hoped would attract a big cross section of teams, ranging from the corporate sector to schools.

It will take competitors across a big swathe of the city.

Mr Smith said the plan was to also have a number of shorter running and walking circuits, with the event winding up in the city centre.

Announcing the event six months out meant people could set themselves the goal of slowly increasing their fitness.

Lions wanted to encourage people into a lifetime of activity, he said.

- Hamilton News

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