Runners and walkers raced along some of Hawke's Bay's finest beaches, forests and farmland on Saturday at the annual Staples Rodway Challenge.

Staples Rodway Chartered Accountants Hastings director Libby O'Sullivan said 734 entrants completed the course and raised $12,000 for the Youth Development Trust Hawke's Bay-Graeme Dingle Foundation.

"The range of people competing was huge, ''Ms O'Sullivan said.

''We had young children running or walking with parents and older groups who you're surprised get around the course but do, every time."


She said when the business set up the event eight years ago it intended to encourage fitness, showcase the country and raise funds for a local charity.

"It is great as we get people who would not normally do things like this. There are some amazing views with unique scenery and beautiful scenes."

Ms O'Sullivan said the business supported a charity each year. This year Youth Development Trust Hawke's Bay was chosen.

"It is important to us that we keep it local, as we want to help make a difference to the people living in the region."

She said the trust developed programmes that positively affected the young by looking at the needs of both children and youth in their communities.

The trust's Project K programme, run closely with the Kiwi Adventure Trust, is designed for year 10 students and is about building confidence, promoting good health and having a positive attitude.

Project K administrator Sally Kerr said the money raised from the event would make a huge difference to the running of the programme.

"At the moment we have St John's students but with this money we should be able to get another school on board, too."

She said Saturday's event also raised awareness and gave people insight into what the trust did for the community.

Project K had a team in the event, which included 12 boys from St John's, one graduate and the mentors.

"They had such a good time and it reflected what the programme is about - connecting with the land, people and the community."

Ms O'Sullivan said organisers were happy with how the day went and had received positive feedback.

"The weather played its part, as it wasn't too hot or cold, and it seems everyone really enjoyed themselves while getting to see some of Hawke's Bay's stunning scenery."