Levin Walkers and Joggers club recently celebrated 35 years of healthy activity and fun, with several foundation members in attendance.

To mark the anniversary, a cake was cut by original club members Betty Gatland and Ophir MacDonald, who still walk with the group after three and a half decades.

Another foundation member, Audrey Sciascia, also still walks with the group but was unable to attend the ceremony.

The club formed in 1984 as a way for Levin locals to meet up with others and complete mapped walks or runs as well as socialise.


The meetings were held on Sunday mornings and quickly garnered a loyal following of keen locals who jogged or walked routes including laps of Fairfield School field, MacArthur Street or a circuit of Kennedy Drive and Roslyn Rd.

Originally founded by Kevin Gay, a 1988 newsletter shows the club began as "a coffee percolator, maps of runs and a room full of strangers".

It soon went from strength to strength though, with a family run organised soon after and children receiving treats and certificates, before the club's first "away run" in Bulls.

The event went down in club history because the three members who ran it mistakenly completed an extra lap of the difficult, forest course and finished exhausted after running 15km instead of 10.

By 1996, the club had grown and decided to focus on some larger events, founding the Great Forest Marathon at Waitarere.

The event, which is still going, proved very popular and continued year after year, with 1600 participants, around 130 volunteers and 4000 people attending by 2006, a year after the club received a civic honours award.

The marathon, half marathon, 10km and 5km races that make up the event have put it firmly on the map for Horowhenua sporting activities, as well as attracting participants from outside the region.

Today, the club promotes Horowhenua as "a wonderful place to live, a great place to raise a family, participate in sport and take advantage of the business opportunities," said spokesperson Mike Patterson.


Runs and walks are held every Sunday morning at 8am and Wednesday mornings at 8.30am, along with social events throughout the year, he said.

New members are welcome and are accompanied by an existing member on their first walks or runs.

For more information on the club, call the secretary on 06 368 6608.