Beast runners slog it out in the bog

By Sandy Myhre

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Jessica Wech of Kamo enthusiastically tackles a boggy section of the course during The Beast in the Bay of Islands. Photo / Jason Milich, Action Images Northland
Jessica Wech of Kamo enthusiastically tackles a boggy section of the course during The Beast in the Bay of Islands. Photo / Jason Milich, Action Images Northland

If heavy rain could be deemed perfect weather for an outdoor event, the second "Beast" mud run held near Paihia on Saturday proved the point.

A record 800 entries were received, 300 more than the inaugural Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands Beast last year. In all, 715 contestants crossed the finish line.

About 400 of this year's registered entrants were first-time contestants, dubbed "Virgin Beasties".

The 300 registered runners and 500 walkers sloshed, squelched and sometimes slid their way over the sloping 7km farmland track at Haruru Falls.

This year's average time of 1 hour, 42 minutes and 33 seconds was a lot slower than last year, where the average competitor took 1 hour 16 minutes.

Sport Northland's Colleen Atchison said this was partly due to a slightly different route: "It was a lot wetter. There's people that have a ball and stay out there basically to play in the mud."

First across the line was 17-year-old Whangarei Boys' High School student, Chris Mills, followed by a man 35 years his senior, Dargaville's Richie Crawshaw. Third was Ben Dyer from Whangarei Heads.

The first woman, repeating her performance of last year, was Ruth Hutchinson from Whangarei, who finished sixth overall. Adelle Allbon from Whangarei was second, with Corinne Smith from Kerikeri in third.

The first of the many in fancy dress was Nick Connop from Whangarei as Darth Vader.

Competing for the first time, he quipped he would have brought along Princess Leia "but she's working".

Others who dressed for the occasion included cats in onesies, numerous fairies, a half-dozen Wonder Women, one convict and several men as Mrs Brown.

The Paihia Volunteer Fire Brigade provided the hose-down equipment for the muddy competitors.

- Northern Advocate

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