What was meant to be a celebration of a successful 20-year Kaitaia event resulted in a Kaitaia-first at the weekend.
Sport Northland's The Summit Forests Kaitaia Trail Run/Walk - previously known as the Kaitaia Run/Walk - was held for the first time in the Te Hiku forest last Sunday.
The double distance event formed part of the Sport Northland Run/Walk Series and offered a choice of 11km or 4km courses.
Last-minute change to Traffic Management developments meant organisers had to scramble to gain access to a new course.
Thanks to Ngai Takoto Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri Te Rarawa this was made possible in the Te Hiku forest.
Sport Northland events lead Jesse Gavin said although it was a big adjustment, it was a fantastic turnout and seamless transition from bitumen to forest floor.
"Long story short, events held on public roads are getting harder and harder to get approval for," Gavin said.
"We received really positive feedback from people regarding the change of course and everywhere you looked people were talking, laughing and recapping their race with fellow runners and family.
"The vibe was fantastic and what you would expect of an event in the Far North.
"Interestingly, there's been a recent push towards more off-road running, particularly due to the proven health benefits of forest running and overall benefits of people reconnecting with nature.
"We tried to keep the distances the same, so the only real difference was a bit more elevation, which is to be expected with trail running.
"We had just as many locals attend, which is excellent and that's the whole point of why we do this - to support the local community."
Runners Rasmus Birt and Maria Akesson won the men's and women's adult 4km race. Sam Rost and Katie McVerry were first in the adults 11km category.
Those who ran competitively also got their name on the famous Pakn'Save leaderboard, with a total of $7000 worth of prizes given away on the day.
Five lucky runners were also entered into the end-of-year major prize to win a 2019 Suzuki Swift donated by Pacific Motor Group Whangarei.