Event attracts 1200 on the path to coast

By Anna Ferrick ann.ferrick@hbtoday.co.nz

About 1200 people turned out yesterday to take part in the annual Hawke's Bay Today Country 2 Coast, which went off without a hitch under cloudless blue skies.

Organiser and Havelock North Rotary Club president, Kevin Longman, said the turnout was great and the event, which is in its fourth year, had been a success.

He said the non-competitive run and walk has gone from strength to strength since its first year when about 400 people entered.

The idea came from wanting to make use of the Rotary pathways.

"The Rotary Trust developed pathways around Hawke's Bay to get people outside and exercising. We thought it would be a good opportunity to make the most of them."

He said for many people the attraction lies in the event's non-competitive nature.

"It's great because people can bring their pushchairs and dogs. It's just a fun event."

The event runs from Clive to Clifton and is held every year on the last weekend of April in the hope it won't be too hot. Temperatures yesterday reached 22C by midday.

While Mr Longman was too busy with organisation to take part himself, his wife Ann, 65, and her friends Lorraine Falconer, 65, and Helen Griffith, 70, finished the walk in two hours and 45 minutes.

"The walk was fantastic, it's a beautiful day, there's beautiful scenery,"Mrs Longman said.

Many participants added colour to the event by dressing up.

Team Hughes from Danniverke dressed up as cows to pay homage to their dairy farm at home.

All nine members, mostly members of the Hughes family, wore costumes made by Emma Hughes, 21, who studied fashion at university. They decided to take part after dad, Barry, wanted to get fit.

"We thought it would be good to have something to aim for, Emma got aboard first but everyone came round in the end, they had all done various sporting events in the past." said mum, Jeanette.

Youngest son Harley Hughes, 15, was the only member of the Hughes clan to do the 15km run, which he completed in just one hour and two minutes, the 13th person to cross the finish line.

There was new element this year, the Clive to Clifton Dash, a competitive event in which the first man and woman to cross the finish line were awarded trophies.

Weekend in pictures, p28-31

See full list of results at country2coast.co.nz

- Hawkes Bay Today

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