On March 14, the Akitio Hall committee held its biennial fundraiser - a walk/run/guided horse trek.

The committee felt fortunate it could run the event, with the lockdown looming at that stage.

The view over Akitio and the river mouth.
The view over Akitio and the river mouth.

The event is run on coastal Marainanga and Moanaroa atations and all the courses climb to the Kereru Trig which is an elevation of 343 metres. Some described the climb as "pinching" as they challenged themselves on the hills to get there. But their rewards were the scenery and view from the top, along with the personal satisfaction of completing the walk/run.

The view over Akitio and the river mouth.
The view over Akitio and the river mouth.

The BYO horse trek was a new addition this year. It started at Marainanga and went on a different route so as not to collide with the walkers and runners. It took four hours and involved a diverse range of terrain. It was guided by two experienced locals.

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Walkers beside the Akitio River.
Walkers beside the Akitio River.

The community marshalled the courses on their side-by-sides, equipped with water containers, RTs, first aid kits and, at the trig, jet plane lollies, a little sugar rush to reward the participants.

There were three options - a 21km run, a 13km run or walk and a 10km walk. They were all popular- the first runner on the 21km course came in with the good time of 1hr 59m.

The top of the trig - 343m.
The top of the trig - 343m.

The day was completed with a complimentary sausage sizzle at the Akitio Hall, then a prize-giving of spot prizes and a raffle.

Those participating reckoned that, at $25 a ticket, the event is a "must-do" and a good way to support local communities and explore the back yard.

There were 125 participants travelling from as far away as Wellington, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Kapiti.

The money raised will go towards upgrading the hall's bathrooms and kitchen with new flooring and paint.