Multisports: Race in dark loads of fun

By Peter Thornton

Next weekend about 400 athletes will take on a race unlike any event in New Zealand.

The Butterfly Creek Nighttime Madness in Wellington is an after dark adventure for all levels of skill and fitness.

It is one of the few mountain race challenges run in the dark.

"The event is designed for everyone," said event organiser Luke Paardekooper.

"My favourite thing about this event is it's approachable for athletes of all abilities and it is something totally different.

"The ethos of the Butterfly Creek, which has a low age limit of seven years, is that you compete and complete the run or walk in pairs. That makes it a great event for friends and families.

"I had a friend who was getting over a health scare call me last year and say 'You are in big trouble Luke'. His daughter was pestering him to join him in the Butterfly Creek event and he gave in. Well in the end they trained a lot together, had a lot of fun and it was a special bonding time that was great for their relationship and his health."

Paardekooper said they have a lot of people who decide to take on the event in a big group.

"Instead of going to the movies they get out into nature for a run at night. It's great."

The Butterfly Creek Nighttime Madness has come a long way since it began 11 years ago with 19 people taking part in the inaugural event. It was created to raise funds for the local scout group in Eastbourne and still supports the community through the entrance fees. Now they have 30 volunteers to ensure the near capacity field of 400 negotiates the course safely.

Racing is undertaken in pairs on well-formed tracks through native beech forest in this iconic area of the East Harbour Regional Park.

"The tracks are well formed and it is totally safe, there are the odd muddy parts but that just adds to the fun. You have a lot of people with head torches on so you can see alright."

- NZ Herald

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