Oamaru runners and walkers used their footsteps to support victims of Australia’s bushfires last weekend.
On Saturday, more than 30 people ran and walked along the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, joining the tens of thousands of people around the world taking part in the global “Relief Run”.
Organiser Alice Perry said she was thrilled to be part of a movement that helped to raise $1million for relief and recovery efforts in Australia.
With different start lines and times for the 5km, 10km and half-marathon run and walk events, it was difficult to know exactly how many people took part on Saturday afternoon, she said.
“[But] it was great to see those at the finish line, and if most of the people who indicated they were going to be there were there, it’s at least $1500 the community helped raise for Australia, which is really neat,” Miss Perry said.
“The running community . . . is so powerful in being able to help people, both through fitness challenges and outside of fitness.
“We had people from as far north as Bankside . . . and people from Waitati who came as well.
“It was a great event, and having so many people out there participating and doing it, especially with such a good cause behind it, made it all worthwhile.”
As well as organising the event, Miss Perry, a Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade firefighter, ran the half-marathon wearing her New Zealand Fire Service level one uniform overalls.
“The overalls definitely made it hot, but surprisingly weren’t too uncomfortable to be in for two and a-half hours,” she said.
Several members of the Waitaki Volunteer Rural Fire Force, and one from the Wakari Volunteer Rural Fire Force in Dunedin, also walked 10km in their fire suits.
“It was great to see the Waitaki rural guys out there in their PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] too,” she said.
And there was even one four-legged entrant – Hank Williams the dog ran the half-marathon, on sections of trail that dogs are allowed on, with his owner, Alice Hore, cycling alongside him as his support crew.
Aid stations set up at The Fort Enfield and Weston were a welcome relief for runners and walkers in the 20degC heat.
“It was a perfect day weather wise and it was great to see so many people out on the track enjoying it,” Miss Perry said.
“Big thank you to everyone who came and did it and the support through the media, Fort Enfield and Scotts [Brewing Co] for getting us refuelled at the end of it.”
Miss Perry said the event was also a great way to showcase the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.