Moerewa's Sonya King blitzed the field in the gruelling 35km 'Warrior' bike/run course at the iconic Pouto Lighthouse Challenge on Saturday.

King, a 27-year-old mother, took just two hours and 19 minutes to complete the course which saw her start biking from Pouto's Waikaretu Marae, down the road to Pouto point, along the beach to the Pouto lighthouse before returning to the point against a tough headwind.

From there, King ran back to the lighthouse before returning along the beach and up the road to the finish line at the marae.

"I liked it, it was quite challenging," King said.

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"My goal is always just to finish and to push myself, to feel that I'm pushing myself."

Warrior course winner Sonya King (left) holds her korowai trophy next to event organiser Joesephine Nathan at prizegiving. Photo / Jock Cameron
Warrior course winner Sonya King (left) holds her korowai trophy next to event organiser Joesephine Nathan at prizegiving. Photo / Jock Cameron

King, an avid horse rider who is a mechanic in Kaikohe, said the weekend event had been her first multisport race in the two years she had been running after giving birth to her son four years ago.

In that time, King had completed at least 15 half marathons and two marathons with another full distance run planned in three weeks.

King said she decided to commit to running to boost her self-confidence and social activity after having a child.

"You can turn into a hermit [after having a child] and I just wanted to get out and push a pram and I actually did three half marathons with a pram in jandals then it slowly got easier."

Warrior course competitors Jane Beamsley (left) and Rhonda Zielinski give it heaps on the beach. Photo / Adam Pearse
Warrior course competitors Jane Beamsley (left) and Rhonda Zielinski give it heaps on the beach. Photo / Adam Pearse

For her efforts, King was presented with a korowai trophy 'Te Wero O Te Whare Rama' gifted by the Vincent whānau, which loosely translated to 'lighthouse challenge'.

The Waihaua Marae from Tinopai took out another prestigious prize, winning the marae raffle pack gifted by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua.

Most of the competitors who turned up on Saturday raced the 18km course from the marae to the lighthouse and back by either bike, on foot or both (duathlon).

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Race winners:

Warrior (35km): Sonya King - 2 hours, 19 minutes
Bike (18km): Adam King - 56 minutes
Run (18km): David Young - 1 hour, 42 minutes
Duathlon (9km/9km): Bruce Morrison - 1 hour, 40 minutes
Walk (18km): Anne Proffit
Tamariki (kids-4km): Judd Buck

Charity benefits

With all registration fees going to Cancer Society Northland, the annual event raised $1442 for the charity.

Event organiser Joesephine Nathan said she was glad to see visitors to the area immerse themselves in Pouto's rich history.

"People were able to experience all that Pouto has to offer, experiencing the wairua, the mauri (spirit) of the place," Nathan said.

Unfortunately, poor weather meant the renowned scramble up a sheer sand hill to the kauri wood lighthouse yesterday was cancelled. However, the lighthouse had recently been boarded up after vandals smashed its wooden door and left tyre marks on its exterior.

Nathan, who moved back to Pouto two years ago, said the vandalism was disappointing and hoped it would stop.

"Obviously the Pouto Lighthouse Challenge is about our area, but the lighthouse is a taonga (treasure) and we need to look after it for future generations."

Nathan said she was grateful for all the sponsors which contributed generously to the event. The date for next year's fourth edition of the event is March 20, 2021.