King back to blaze Peak trail

By Amy Shanks

It took Ross Morrison just 52min 45sec to reach the top of Te Mata Peak and descend during a charity run two years ago, now he's back to tackle its great slopes once more.

Sunday marks the annual Peak Trail Blazer event, for which Mr Morrison claims the fastest time, though he's not holding out hopes of being named king of the peak just yet.

While home from Finland, he has been running up the landmark hill most days, but has not done any specific training.

"I think it's going to be tough I am not in the same shape I was back then," he said.

"Maybe if the weather is fine. It was very wet the last time."

The local off road race, recently called "the little event with the big heart" by online magazine Running Plus, started out as a fundraiser for Havelock North Primary School and has evolved to take on a "wider" community focus.

Having supported Sumner School to build a fully equipped, on-site emergency shed with last year's profits, organisers decided to support Kaiapoi Borough School in North Canterbury, this time around.

Kaiapoi Borough principal Ash Maindonald said they were "truly grateful" for the donation.

"Our situation is not particularly good at present - though we remain resiliently positive at all times," Mr Maindonald said.

"We are one of the nine worst affected schools in Canterbury in terms of damage and disruption at our school site, and also in terms of impact on our community.

"The school is currently looking at options for using the donated funds and they are also looking forward to forming a relationship with Havelock North Primary."

Peak Trail Blazer's fundraising reach also has a strong local focus, offering schools, clubs and other bodies the ability to register and raise money through sponsorships.

Hastings Intermediate and Hereworth School in Havelock North are both taking part this year.

"Last year Hastings Intermediate had 40 people, this year they are aiming for 100," race director Jo Throp said.

To date entries are up for the Trail Blazer, which comprises a 12km individual run or walk, 12km team for men, women, mixed or family and the 2km Tainui Trail run/walk.

"We just did an update and we are at 446, we closed off last year at just under 450 so that's very exciting."

The event also appeals to people's competitive side with the addition of a Acre Wines King of the Peak and Aesthetic Dental Queen of the Peak for 2012.

"The first man and woman to reach the bottom will get $400 cash each, a pair of Asics shoes and a prize pack, second place gets $150 and third $50.

"This year our focus is on making it a sprint running event to engage the gun runners."

Events are staggered so the fastest runners and slowest walkers should come in around the same time.

"It's just such a neat atmosphere at the end of the race."

Entry forms are available for download from the website

- Hawkes Bay Today

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