For a relatively small country with a small population, our team of 9 women and 6 men were spread from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island and even over to our West Island of Australia.
Our most western team mate, Stuart Hughes started at 7:11am (local time) from Maindample on the Great Victorian Rail Trail north of Melbourne and headed “west”, eventually stopping in the middle of nowhere 6hours later. Although he enjoyed clear weather conditions, the temperature had reached a toastie 28°C by the time he was 50km in. Stuart was crewed by friend, Carolina, and Cricket the kelpie.
Jaime Stevenson, Wayne Botha spent their 6hours running on the track at the AUT Millennium Stadium, Mairangi Bay, Auckland. Jaime and Wayne were crewed by previous Global Solidarity run team mate, Debrah Breedt. They enjoyed beautifully clear weather conditions. Sam Harvey was going to join them but due to work commitments ran his 6 hours in Christchurch.
Sue Hunter started her run at Porritt Stadium in Hamilton at 6am on Saturday. Sue courageously battled for 6hours despite not being completely on par physically and having to move to adjacent, and not so favourable, fields to complete her effort.
Starting on the streets of Whanganui at midnight on Saturday morning, Damien Wood finished his run at the Cooks Gardens Athletic track by the statue of Peter Snell, where Snell set the world mile record of 3minutes and 54.4seconds in 1962. Damien enjoyed near perfect conditions with no wind and nice cool temperatures. He was supported by his daughter and encouraged by local nightlife (Friday night revellers).
On yet another athletics track, James Inwood ran from 6am Saturday until noon at the Colin Pugh Sports Bowl in Masterton. After a freezing cold start in the dark, the day gave way to glorious running conditions and James was supported to the end by a team of pacers from his club.
In Lower Hutt, near Wellington, Georgina Cox ran a 3.5km road loop around Wainuiomata from 7am until 1pm on Sunday. Running conditions were perfect and she was supported the whole time by local harriers, church friends and colleagues from work.
Paul Hewitson and Mel Aitken enjoyed a stunner of a morning on Saturday, running from Pukerua to Plimmerton, Wellington. Although he reports that he suffered in his final 15km, in 6hours both Paul and Mel completed distances most of us can only dream about.
Fiona Hayvice and Maggie Davies had an adventure which involved dedicating their first 6hours of the Northburn 50km course to the solidarity event on Saturday. Those first six hours included approximately 2300m of vertical ascent summiting mountains, scrambling up fence lines, and traversing beautiful mossy gullies, on a scorching hot Otago day. All the while, enjoying the company of many other runners.
Finally, I started my stint at 2am on Sunday, in the “Winterless North” on the Athletics Whangarei track. Ironically, I was in the only part of the country to experience rain which started precisely 2minutes after I started running and it took about 5minutes to saturate my shoes which stayed that way until my 8am finish. Having said that I really enjoyed running through the dark in the cone of light offered by my head torch. I was supported by my partner, Matt, throughout.
Over the course of the Global Solidarity Run Weekend, the New Zealand team clocked up an impressive 770.17km.
Rebecca Bailey unfortunately had to withdraw from the team at the last minute due to surgery. We wish her a speedy and full recovery.
In addition, representing Athletics NZ on the Presidents Team was Raylene Bates. Raylene is a New Zealand para throws coach, Athletics New Zealand para high performance manager and recent recipient of the Arthur Eustace Award for Coaching. Her contribution to the Presidents Team was a 43km trek starting at Albert Town and including the Hawke’s River track, at Wanaka, in Otago.
To the IAU, thank you for organising another opportunity for ultrarunner’s the world over to safely compete and represent their country in a fun and accessible format at a time when so many events are still being cancelled and international travel is difficult.
Team New Zealand