Calling the weeks leading up to this year's North Range Trio wet and unsettled may have been a bit of an understatement.
It had poured on the Thursday prior to the event, so it was a relief to organisers when the weather cleared slightly on Friday, the day before the big event, based at Ferry Reserve at Woodville.
However, some damage had been done, with the saturated ground along Hall Block Rd giving way, causing an impassable slip1km in.
Race director Gerry le Roux said Tararua District Council was quick to the rescue and by mid-morning Friday the road was cleared and it was all systems go for the event.
"On Saturday morning it was cold and windy on the exposed parts of the ranges, but it wasn't raining and despite being wet underfoot, conditions were good," he said.
"The day was a great success, with glowing reviews on social media. People loved the unique scenery of the Tararua and the ranges."
Ebony Hewlett posted that it was a great course and beautiful scenery.
"It was a well run event and I loved the handmade finishers medals too," she said.
And Nikki O'Leary from Woodville, said the event was definitely a winner.
"I loved the little touches like homemade soup and baking. I hope this will be an ongoing annual event," she said.
Kelly Christensen, Tararua's new sports adviser for Sport Manawatu, told district councillors the North Range Trio is now a "significant event here."
On event day, 45 runners set off on the 50km Ultra, a 50 per cent growth in this event from its inaugural running last year. The 25km Tilt Renewables North Range Traverse attracted 170 runners and walkers to the start line, while 80 people took part in the shorter 12.5km Tararua District Council Hall Block Humdinger.
The overall winners of the three distances were Nick Johnston and Nic Ayson (50km), Ewen Campbell and Stacey Hendriks (25km), and Paul Shoemark and Debbie Donald (12.5km), who all posted impressive times.
The winning times in the 12.5km Humdinger improved on 2017 in both the male and female categories. In the 25km Traverse, however, times were slower than last year, perhaps indicative of tougher track conditions, especially in the wet and boggy section early on in the course, le Roux said.
"Given the significant course change in the Ultra it is difficult to compare the times to last year, but we certainly saw some blistering performances in this event, with Nick Johnston posting a super-speedy 3:46.34 and women's winner, Nic Ayson
achieving a most impressive 10th place overall in a time of 5:15.47," he said.
"All those who started managed to finish their respective events which was an excellent achievement."
The youngest competitor was 12-year-old Philip Larkin who took part in the Hall Block Humdinger, with the oldest, 76-year-old Jerry Brockhouse who completed the 25km Traverse.
In addition to featuring professional timing for the first time, the event organiser, Yondering, introduced a number of innovations for this year's event, including doing away with disposable paper cups to minimise the environmental impact.
LandSAR was the chosen charity this year, receiving $2 from every entry.
"They were chosen in appreciation of their invaluable service towards keeping us safe wherever we venture out in our region," le Roux said.
Radio Woodville entertained throughout the day with its live broadcast from race headquarters at Ferry Reserve.