Elite sport is all about strategy and every second counts. Yesterday the Herald on Sunday tested one of the most critical aspects of a top sporting event - getting the fans in.

Frances Morton reports from the World Rowing Championship at Lake Karapiro, and Kieran Nash at the Kiwi rugby league test at Eden Park. Both found organisers operating with gold medal level precision.


Cars are prevented from driving to the Lake Karapiro venue so visitors must park at one of two carparks and catch a free bus to the water's edge.

The Herald on Sunday rolled into the well-signposted Park 1, to the north of the venue, and were guided into a park by five efficient marshalls.

Spectators on the bus were impressed by how smoothly the system ran. Rose French, a sports administrator from Invercargill was celebrating her 26th birthday at the champs with her old rowing mate Jen Murray, 26, a Dunedin occupational therapist.

They said the buses had run equally efficiently on Friday, even at the end of the day when bigger crowds of people were leaving the lake.

"At first it was frustrating when you couldn't get closer," said Murray. "But you can understand why they do it."

She gave the bus staff a stamp of approval.

Whangarei's Renton Rutherford was arriving at the champs yesterday to watch his niece Juliette Haigh in the finals of the women's coxless pair. He also praised the park and ride service. "It was a bit bamboozling the first day but everything is running smoothly," he said.

* Arrive Park and Ride: 11.48am

* Walk to bus: 5m58sec

* Bus: 10m59sec

* Arrive: Lake Karapiro 12:10pm

* Distance: 6km


The train arrived two minutes late at New Lynn station - but the journey to Eden Park was so quick that we were always going to make it on time for the game.

Last night was the latest and most significant test run for getting the Rugby World Cup fans into the game. It involved shifting 40,000 rugby league fans into Eden Park.

On the train were Dylan Cherrington and Marissa Stewart who had travelled from Kerikeri to watch the game. They got on the train at Glen Eden.

Cherrington, 25, a quarry manager, said: "This is the first time we've caught the train. It's pretty cool, it's exciting. And if you've got a ticket (for the game) you travel for free. "

Also boarding at Glen Eden was Christian Martin, who said he only used the train to get to games at Mt Eden - and planned to use it for the Rugby World Cup next year.

"I'll use it all the time now to get to Eden Park ... because I can drink before the game ."

At the Kingsland stop, passengers were directed by ushers into a tunnel leading under the track and towards the main gates.

* Arrive New Lynn train station: 7.30pm

* Walk to train: 60 sec

* Train trip: 12m09sec

* Arrive Eden Park: 7.47pm

* Distance: 8km