SHORT, tall, old, young, two legs, four legs.
Wanganui people ? and their pets ? turned out in full force for yesterday's 29th annual Wanganui Chronicle Round the Bridges River Run.
About a dozen NZ Army officers donned their combat kit, totalling more than 15kgs including weapons, and walked the 8.9km course.
Organisers are predicting a record crowd of more than 2500 people for the fun event, which saw Wanganui's streets and bridges lined with enthusiasts of all age and fitness levels.
More than $5000 worth of spot prizes from over 60 local businesses were also won.
Chronicle general manager Andy Jarden said yesterday's fun run was "without question the biggest ever run I have ever seen its 29-year history".
"I've been involved for 17 or 18 years, and it's by far the largest I've seen personally ? and, I've been told, the biggest participation."
Vanessa Watkin, of Wanganui, and daughter Libby Field, three and a-half, who did the 8.9km walk, said they would definitely do the fun run next year.
"It's an awesome event."
It was the first time Virginia Carey had attempted a river run, but she reckons she would do it again. Mrs Carey walked the 4.7km course, while the rest of the family tackled the 8.9km course.
A trio of women who were sampling the staple post-river run diet of sausies and bread all had a few river runs under their belt.
Joan Marshall, 68, Brenda Hulbert, 69, and Ngaire Sutherland, 70-plus, said they all had a great time, and were looking forward to next year's event.
Evie Oakes was still looking fresh after she crossed the finish line from doing the 8.9km walk. The Whanganui Hospital maternity ward staffer said she had a great time and also couldn't wait until next year.
However, 14-year-old Francesca Peacocke, of Wanganui Collegiate, found her run harder going.
"I felt really good (at the start), but at the end I got tired trying to keep up with everyone else."
River run veteran Peter Tahuna, who has missed only one event, under-rated his fitness.
"I started off doing the short one (course), but then the old legs got a second wind? You see your other mates and think: 'I'm not gonna let them pass me'."
He found the course better than in previous years, because there was more space for runners and walkers.
"It wouldn't be so bad if we had two of these a year," he said.
A knee injury didn't stop Emma Fawcett from entering. Crutches and all, the 12-year-old did her own style of walk/run around the short course.
"It wasn't so bad once I got into the swing of things," she said.
It seemed Nicki Spink's six-year-old Dalmatian dog could have gone another few kilometres after the run, as she lapped up the attention from onlookers.
Ms Spink said dog, Dana, usually did the river and was great for making her walk faster and "finding the gaps".
One of the Placemakers major prize-winners, Judith Simpson, of Palmerston North, was ecstatic at winning a landscape package worth $1000.
"It was hard to know what to choose, but we love gardening."
Mrs Simpson and husband, Keith, competed in the fun run last year, and bought other family and friends along with them this time.
Mr Jarden thanked the run's sponsors, including Placemakers and Harvey Norman and paid special mention of the Legion of Frontiersman and Works Infrastructure for their efforts in marshalling and marking out the course with road cones.
PICTURED: A record crowd of about 2500 people donned their running/walking shoes to take part in yesterday's 29th annual Wanganui Chronicle Round the Bridges River Run.
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