Teammates condemned to run alone

By Steve Deane

Dehydration and heat stroke were the undoing of some of the 70,00 entrants in the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays event yesterday. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Dehydration and heat stroke were the undoing of some of the 70,00 entrants in the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays event yesterday. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Sticking together wasn't as straight forward as you'd think for the 300 or so strong Cystic Fibrosis Auckland team during yesterday's Round the Bays event.

While most of the estimated 70,000-strong field that lapped up the sunshine in the event's 41st running needed merely to keep an eye out for the T-shirts of their teammates, Sarah Hitchings and the other seven adult CF sufferers in the race had to look a little closer. If a fellow runner had a red wrist band, they had to keep their distance. A risk of cross infection - where sufferers of the chronic lung disease swap bugs that are harmful only to other sufferers - means coming together isn't easy.

"CF people aren't allowed to meet each other," Ms Hitchings said.

"You don't want to be coughing all over each other and spreading germs. It can be quite isolating at times but there is a good support network in New Zealand and the association is fantastic. Everyone gets together on Facebook and through social media."

Yesterday's event raised just over $30,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Auckland. The money will be used to help provide vital nebulising equipment - which allows medicine to be breathed in aerosol form - for the country's 400 sufferers of the genetic disorder.

The organisation was one of six official charities for the event.

Mayor Len Brown was the official race starter, leading the crowd in the traditional countdown to the army's starting gun at 9.30am. He then joined the thousands to walk to St Heliers Bay along Tamaki Drive.

Many turned out in costume, with an official competition for best fancy dress held for the first time.

Hot, sunny weather made the water stations popular stops along the route, with 100,000 cups of water handed out. After finishing, entrants headed to more than 600 barbecue sites at Madill's Farm and Glover Park for hospitality ranging from gourmet picnics to the traditional sausage sizzle.

The winner for the second straight year was Jono Jackson from Auckland City Athletics, whose time of 26m 39s was nearly two minutes quicker than his 2012 time.

A sprint finish saw Rees Buck from Wellington Scottish Athletics come in five seconds later at 26m 44s. Third was Tony Payne at 27m 7s.

"It was good to blast it the whole way and see who had it in the end. It was a classic race really," Jackson said.

The first woman home was Becky Wade from Dallas, Texas in 28m 59s. Ms Wade is travelling the world for a year researching different running cultures and training and racing along the way. The second woman was Penny Peskett in 29m 15s, followed by Nicola O'Callaigh in 33m 12s.

More than 860 teams took part, with ASB Bank fielding the largest team of 1163 entrants. Participants ranged from babies in pushchairs to 47 people aged over 75.

•A man who collapsed 100m from the finish line after suffering a suspected heart attack was revived by St John Ambulance paramedics and transferred to Auckland City Hospital. Last night he was in intensive care in a serious but stable condition.

St John Ambulance commander John Takerei estimated 30 to 40 people were treated for conditions including dehydration, heat stroke and twisted ankles. "The operation was busy for us but nothing hectic, nothing unplanned," Mr Takerei said. "The awesome weather took its toll on a couple of them."

Round the Bays 2013

70,000 competitors produced 18 tonnes of waste, about half of which was recycled
12,000 litres of water was drunk on course, poured into 100,000 cups
48,000 sausages were sizzled at 652 barbecue sites
84 per cent of entrants were from Auckland

- NZ Herald

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