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Commonwealth Marathoner Heads Coromandel Kauri Run

Commonwealth Marathoner Heads Coromandel Kauri Run

Two hundred years ago most of the Coromandel Peninsula was one great Kauri grove. This weekend a unique mountain running event promises to help bring them back, and some of New Zealand’s best runners have come out in support of the cause.

When entrants line up on Saturday for Coromandel’s Kauri Run they’ll be meeting more than just personal goals. Their very presence will make a positive impact because for every person who lines up at the Waikawau Beach start line organisers will plant a new Kauri tree.

In its third year, the Kauri Run is catching on as a unique challenge with a cause. Organisers have a record entry of more than 200 people for the challenging 30k race, some running for a good cause, some running because it’s a great challenge in a great place, and others using it as part of a build up for other major races such as the Coast to Coast.

Favourite for the gruelling traverse from the Pacific Ocean over to the Hauraki Gulf is former Commonwealth Games rep Craig Kirkwood. The Manchester Commonwealth Games marathon runner heads a strong field that includes national medallist Mark McKeown, former New Zealand orienteering rep Phil Wood, Auckland multisport stand-out Stu Lynch and super-vet Colin Earwaker.

While Earwaker, the overall winner of the inaugural Kauri Run, Lynch, a former runner-up here, and Wood are specialists over the mountain running format, Kirkwood and McKeown are expected to dominate. Kirkwood, in particular, has been approaching his best following two years of injury problems and was part of the New Zealand team that recently finished eighth at the world mountain running trophy in Turkey.

Starting on Waikawau Beach participants will run along the spine of the peninsula to finish in Coromandel Township on the other side. Along the way they will experience 30km of native bush, stream crossing and over 800 vertical metres of climbing. The concept behind the Kauri Run came from co-race directors Andy Reid and Keith Stephenson.

Reid and Stephenson, of Adventure Racing Coromandel, organise several major Coromandel events such as the Moehau Man multisport race, ARC Adventure Race, The Intrigue mountain bike race and last month’s K2 Cycle Classic. They hope that the Kauri Run might become the Kepler Challenge of the north and that with their Kauri concept they might help regenerate the region’s greatest asset.

“Each year we will plant a Kauri tree on the trail for every competitor that participates in the race,” they say. “Competitors will see the fruit of their participation when they run the race in future years.”

Ends

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