Record numbers expected for Round The Bridges
Friday, November 14, 2008
Press release: Record numbers expected for Round The Bridges
With 3800 people already entered for Hamilton’s famous Round the Bridges run and up to 1000 more expected in late entries, organisers are preparing for a huge turnout on Sunday 16th November. Last year saw a record 3000 people take part in the event, and 2008 already looks set to be much bigger. One reason for the rise in overall numbers can be attributed to just one organisation – the Waikato District Health Board, who have nearly 800 staff entered in their corporate team, up from 200 last year. This unprecedented effort is a great demonstration of how organisations can support staff health and make the most of their involvement in Round the Bridges, said Race Director Graham Dudfield.
Dudfield said that the increased numbers would create a great atmosphere for the run, and that he and the organising team were looking forward to the challenge. A Round the Bridges stall will be in Garden Place by the lights between 12 – 4pm on Saturday 15th to cater for late entries, enquiries, and race number pickup. This service will also be available on the day up to half an hour before the race.
At the front of the elite field in the 12k road race, Melbourne-based former Canterbury runner Jason Woolhouse will be the man to watch after his convincing win in the prestigious Barry Curtis 10km road race in Auckland last month. Woolhouse will be challenged by defending Round the Bridges champion and four-time NZ cross-country representative Rees Buck, from Wellington. Second placegetter in the recent Auckland Marathon, Rotorua’s Steve O’Callaghan, will also be competing for a top spot.
In the women’s section, defending champion and perennial favourite Gabrielle O’Rourke, from Wellington, will be returning in an attempt to retain her title. However, she could be pushed by Lesley Turner-Hall, who was third in the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic this year and has featured in the top 5 of the Rotorua Marathon for the last 3 years. Auckland’s Philippa Durkin could also be in the hunt, after a third placing at this year’s Huntly Half Marathon, and a comprehensive fastest lap at the NZ National Road Relay Championships last month. Local hopes include Helen Rountree and Cambridge’s Bridget Deverell.
Main sponsors New Balance will be bringing the country’s top race walkers along to contest the walking titles. Commonwealth Games silver medallist Tony Sargission was first walker home at Round the Bridges 2007, and is currently New Zealand Walk Champion over 3000m and 20k. David Sim, second walker home in 2007 and NZ Masters Champion, is also returning, along with 5th ’07 RTB walk placegetter Rodney Thorne. Promising juniors Philip Wyatt and Maggie Bradley, both NZ champions over 5km among other achievements, will also be racing, along with top local walkers Allanah Gore and Kelly Mabbett.
The schools challenge for primary, intermediate (both 2km) and secondary students (6.2km) will again be a popular feature of the day, with the first race kicking off at 8.30am. There will also be a strong social contingent taking part in the fun run and walk over both 12km and 6.2km, with many families and corporate teams involved. A number of major spot prizes will be presented, along with merit prizes for winning individuals and teams. A proportion of the funds raised from this event will go towards supporting The McKenzie Centre, an Accredited Early Intervention Service Provider providing services for children with special needs and their families throughout the greater Hamilton region.
Organisers are looking forward to Sunday, and encourage people to come down and be part of the biggest Round the Bridges ever. See www.roundthebridges.co.nz for more details.
times (all races start on Victoria St beside Garden
8.30am Primary schools race (2km)
9.00am Intermediate schools race (2km)
9.30am Round the Bridges fun run and walk (12km)
10.00am 6.2km fun run and walk (secondary schools also)