It's November already and while that signals the start of the warmer summer months, it also means it's time to compete in one of the biggest, if not the biggest, participation event on the Northland events calendar – the ASB Kerikeri Half Marathon, which will be held on Saturday, November 23.
Sport Northland is once again delighted to be organising this iconic Northland event – one that was first held back in 1989 by the Kerikeri Striders Club, and who still own the event today. In those early days, the event became so popular that it just became too big for the club's volunteers to organise, and they set about looking for other operators.
Sport Northland had operated an events division in its business since the mid-90s, and so it was natural that an agreement was reached between the two organisations – the result being that Sport Northland has run the event since 2001.
It is a massive undertaking to organise the event, which in its 30th year will attract over 2200 participants (and at least that again in supporters) into a fairly small town in the mid-north.
Over half of those people will be from outside Northland, with the majority of these visitors to the north staying for the whole weekend – as such, it has been estimated that the event generates well over $2 million for the Bay of Islands community over the one weekend.
And these visitors will no doubt enjoy a fantastic after-party, put on once again by the Kerikeri business owners in the main street of the town. It is well worth sticking around for – a closed street and all sorts of food, beverage and entertainment on offer to cater for everyone.
The event is, of course, part of Sport Northland's national award winning run/walk series of seven events that occur right throughout Northland, starting in March with the Chilltech Beach 2 Basin and ending with the half marathon.
Since taking over the naming rights sponsorship of the event in 2016, ASB has done a fantastic job in adding value to the event experience, so a big thanks to the team at ASB. As mentioned last week, this will be the last time ASB sponsors the event, with local company Northland Waste taking on naming rights from 2020.
The Ray White five-kilometre event (that was started a couple of years ago to increase the number of people who could be part of this festival day in Kerikeri) has really taken off, so much so that it was capped at 400 entries this year. This event gives those that cannot complete the half marathon distance a chance to be part of this iconic day.
It is certainly great to see so many different reasons why people compete in the event – the challenge, to lose weight, to improve their time, to have a great time, to enjoy the outdoors or simply just to stay active.
Whatever the reason, I'm sure they will all enjoy the challenge and regardless of their time, come away with a smile on their face from being part of a fantastic day in the mid-north.
Entries are open for the 30th anniversary staging of this iconic event until Wednesday next week – you can enter online at runwalkseries.co.nz.