HSBC Round the Bays runs away with crowd of 70,000
HSBC Round the Bays runs away with crowd of 70,000 participants
Around 70,000 walkers, runners and wheelchair participants, including 47,000 registered entrants, laced up their shoe laces in fine Auckland style this morning for HSBC Round the Bays, an event described as one of the biggest and most spectacular fun runs in the world.
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The course stretches 8.4 kilometres along the waterfront from the Auckland CBD to St Heliers, and was started by Prime Minister Helen Clark.
While for the majority, like 95-year old entrant Ray Glasgow, HSBC Round the Bays is a fun and challenging day out where the ultimate goal is simply to finish, some top level athletes take it much more seriously.
Melbourne-based wheelchair athlete Brett McArthur travelled to Auckland specifically to race, and his efforts were well rewarded: Brett was the first finisher home, in just 19 minutes and 15 seconds, but he found the gusty wind a hindrance to achieving the time he had hoped for, and was pushed hard by last year’s winner, Paralympian-hopeful, 16-year old Matthew Lack from Opotiki, every step of the way.
Nicholas Buck of Ponsonby, who describes himself as a keen amateur athlete usually specialising in shorter distances, was the first male runner to finish, in 27 minutes and 20 seconds, and 20-year old medical student Gracie Keowan was the first female finisher, completing the course in 32 minutes and 23 seconds.
Auckland’s run of good weather held true for the event, and thousands took part in organised barbeques and entertainment at several waterfront locations following the race’s conclusion.
Funds raised by the event are dedicated to children’s charities, including the Gifted Kids programme, Fairfax First Books and Youthline.
HSBC Round the Bays is owned by Fairfax Media and the Auckland Joggers Club. Sponsors include HSBC, Provenco Technology, Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand, Watercare Services Limited, and Alto. The first HSBC Round the Bays run, in 1972, attracted just 1,200 participants.
Full results will be available from Monday at www.roundthebays.co.nz .