The organiser of this year's third Te Wairoa Challenge, at Ahipara, is inviting Far North families to keep Saturday, September 25 free for an event that will once again give them the chance to enjoy a fun (if possibly testing) afternoon and support a worthy local cause in the process.
Briana Nathan, who lives at Ahipara with her husband and two boys, established the event in 2018, after she and her family took part in the X Race in Whangārei.
"I started this idea of a fun run/walk to raise money for those in need in our community because I could see potential in encouraging healthy whānau and bringing awareness to the community about having fun with family while exercising," she said.
"The X Race was fun, but we had nothing up here in the far Far North, and that's why I got this started."
The first event, in 2018, raised $510, which was donated to Ahipara School for sports equipment. The following year raised $2000 towards medical expenses for a local woman, then last year's event was cancelled thanks to Covid-19.
"Now we're back bigger than ever this year, raising money for the Ahipara Volunteer Fire Brigade, which just so happens to coincide with their 60th anniversary," Briana said.
"We are getting a lot of support from local businesses, for prizes and donations. Some of those are the Blue Light Foundation, Pak'nSave, 9TeeMile and many, many more. We will be having food stalls, and this year we are selling trucker caps as well, as another way of giving koha to our cause."
The 2019 event was won by Kevin Jones, Troy Berghan, Garnet Berghan and Claudia Reed, aka Robbed of Breath, although Briana said the emphasis was firmly on participation, not competition.
It was about getting active as families, getting out and having fun, giving back to the community and raising environmental awareness.
The first challenge had attracted a field of 21 teams, rising to 39 in 2019, the number of participants growing from 74 to an estimated 100 to 120, although her counting technique was based on the fact that all 150 sizzled sausages were devoured, allowing for some people having more than one.
Meanwhile, it was likely that the school would once again serve as the event headquarters in September, although that had still to be confirmed yesterday, while the format would be familiar to those who had taken part in the past.
The five-kilometre course would start at the school, heading for the beach, to Tasman Heights and back to the school, this time with 10 'challenge stations', where walkers and runners would test their skills in the likes of weaving, crosswords and hoops, and picking up rubbish on the beach.
There would be plenty of spot prizes, and rewards for the best-dressed participants. (Previous events suggest there will be some startling sartorial achievements to be admired.)
The entry fee was $20 per whānau, all proceeds going to the fire brigade. To register a team, or make a donation, go to https://www.trybooking.com/nz/events/landing?eid=5128
The event can also be followed on Facebook and Instagram (@TeWairoaChallenge).