Having a pregnant woman enter the first event in a series of fun runs and return two weeks later to walk with her baby by her side was a first for the Oamaru Multisport Club.
Alice Perry took part in the Oamaru Multisport Club’s first fun run on November 11 while pregnant, and gave birth to daughter Ella Jean Harvey two days later.
At the club’s final event on November 25, Perry returned with her newborn baby in a pram, and took part in the series again.
Club treasurer Adair Craik said it was an experience she had not struck before.
“She came back and walked it and it was really, really lovely,” Craik said.
It was just one of several special moments during the three-event series, with people testing themselves as far as they could in 2km, 5km and 12km categories.
Watching some people reach their goals was exciting, she said.
“It was actually really moving because for some people it was a long way.
“One of the nights, one woman couldn’t finish it … and the elation when she got to the finish line the next week was amazing – it was that sort of stuff.”
An “incredibly diverse” range of people took part, from 5-year-olds, to those well into their 70s.
A group from Idea Services trained for six weeks leading up to it, Craik said.
“They really focused on it. It was really cool. Their caregivers came and walked with them, and for some they couldn’t complete it the first two weeks but then they got fitter and fitter and they’re going to keep doing it – it’s really cool.”
Charlotte Walker (10), who has cerebral palsy, travelled from Timaru with her family to take part each week and Craik said she was “astounded” by her commitment and efforts.
“She has the courage of a lion.”
More than 300 people were involved in the fun runs and duathlons over the three weeks – a large increase from previous years, she said.
She put the increase down to people wanting to take part in new activities after a disruptive year. There were many new people attending.
“It’s so cool. I wonder if part of it was people have had time over Covid to start reassessing their goals.
“It’s always harder to get more motivated at this time of the year, especially with Christmas coming, but I think people were really ready for something, and they were looking for a goal.”
Craik was grateful to local Lions clubs and volunteers who helped with the safety management, and setting up courses to make the event happen.