Multisports: Marathon tribute to Barrier supporter

By Peter Thornton

There are 25 different categories of the Wharf to Wharf in the event options of running, mountain-biking or walking. Photo / Thinkstock
There are 25 different categories of the Wharf to Wharf in the event options of running, mountain-biking or walking. Photo / Thinkstock

Organiser Mike Brown paused when he was asked what advice he'd offer newcomers to the Wharf to Wharf marathon on Great Barrier Island.

"That's a good question," said the 51-year-old local, who loves his surfing and golf.

"It's a very challenging event. Even people who have done a few marathons need to respect this run.

"It is the adventure aspect of the Wharf to Wharf that sets it aside from other events and makes it a real challenge.

"People know they have accomplished something special when they finish the Wharf to Wharf because it's a good test."

Record numbers of about 150 athletes are expected for the Wharf to Wharf on October 13.

The event begins at Port Fitzroy Wharf and finishes at Tryphena Wharf. Participants will experience some of the most unspoiled native forest left in New Zealand.

Reaching the heights there are expansive views over white, sandy beaches and across the ocean to an undisturbed horizon as well as green farmland, and picturesque settlements dotted around beautiful harbours.

"The Barrier is a special place and the scenery throughout the Wharf to Wharf is phenomenal.

"You run through native bush and some of the views out to sea are just stunning. It is a nice reward because a lot of the terrain is tough and the scenery spurs you on."

There are 25 different categories of the Wharf to Wharf in the event options of running, mountain-biking or walking.

Brown has the dream of growing the event into something much bigger.

"We are limited by two things: access and accommodation. It is not the easiest place to get to and there aren't a lot of places to stay but that is part of the event.

"You get to meet people you otherwise wouldn't and the people that come over are committed to making a real weekend of it.

"It's one of the biggest events on the island and the locals get behind it and make people feel welcome. It is good for business over here, too.

"The event falls in our shoulder season so it is good to get people over to the Barrier and get a bit of money into the local economy. It all helps in the down times."

The Wharf to Wharf is also a tribute to a fallen hero of the Barrier. Barry Mouat was a staunch supporter of Kaitoke School and of Great Barrier Island and loved to introduce people to the island with all its beauty and quirks.

In 2007 Mouat walked the Wharf to Wharf despite having been diagnosed with cancer. Against medical advice, he completed the event supported by family and friends.

In 2009 Mouat lost his battle against cancer.

But his legend lives on with this event dedicated to his memory.


Wharf to Wharf
When: Sunday, October 13
Where: The event begins at Port Fitzroy Wharf and finishes at Tryphena Wharf, Great Barrier Island
Options: Running, mountain-biking or walking (42.2km)

- NZ Herald

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