The Wharf to Wharf Race

October 10th, 2009 at 4:41 pm by David Farrar

had its annual (since 2006) race. Nikki competed as an individual runner (you could also cycle it, or do it as part of a team), while I took part in the more appropriate role of support person, or as the term is generally called – water boy. Nikki was running to raise $800 for the local Kaitoke school. Personally I’d rather just write out a cheque!

Now the race is basically a marathon – just 1 km short at 41 kms. But it is not a marathon around the island. It is a marathon over the island! The first 23 kms are over and up muddy mountain tracks, and as it had poured the night before, I mean muddy. The final sections are on the road, but that’s a road with half a dozen hills on it, including two which would be difficult at the best of times, let alone at the end of a marathon.

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This is the briefing at the start of the race at the Port Fitzroy Wharf. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how the local police officer, Kylie, was also the firefighter, the ambulance office and the coastguard skipper. Well she is also the race marshall!

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This was taken at the second checkpoint. People come out of the forest behind, cross the road and head up the steep track opposite. Tragically the very first competitor, a mountain biker, was going so fast he shot out before those helpful cones were in place. And before anyone could yell out to him he had turned left and shot down the road. He went 5 kms downhill until he realized his mistake. He had been leading by around 20 minutes.

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This is where they came out of at the second checkpoint. There were around 100 competitors all up.

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A bumpy ride down the stairs to checkpoint 3. That was the end of the muddy tracks.

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Nikki exiting at checkpoint 3.

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And again heading down the final stretch to the Shoal Bay Wharf past Tryphena.

The organizers did a superb job of managing the event, especially with a 7am start (meant waking up at 5 am if you are staying in Tryphena to get to Port Fitzroy in time). No competitors got lost, despite the challenges of having half of it through bush, and they even have a 4WD that picks up anyone who couldn’t finish it within nine hours. The sponsor was , who of course flew many of the competitors in. Was a very smooth flight in on Friday night. My connecting flight from Auckland was delayed, but a nice thing about GBA is they wait for you if they know you are late!

Nikki was the 5th fastest woman runner, which was a pretty good effort considering she is used to flat roads, not hilly, muddy tracks through bush. Of course there were only less than 100 competitors (includign biking) all up, so that makes a top 100 finish easier :-)

The organizers are thinking of seeing if they can add an extra 1.2 kms on, and make it into an official marathon, with the title “New Zealand’s hardest marathon”. Could become an iconic event!

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15 Responses to “The Wharf to Wharf Race”

  1. jabba (280 comments) says:

    oh dear .. is this the same Nikki that the Muss has challenged to a bike race around Taupo?

    [DPF: I think the challenge may have been Nikki's idea, and yes same one. However running and cycling use different muscles so I would not jump to conclusions on the outcome]

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  2. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    Waterboy and media correspondent :-) Seriously, was the NZ Herald covering the event?

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  3. Steve (4,565 comments) says:

    See the Sunday Star Times tomorrow:
    “Nikki getting extra training while a Duck helps run the country”

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  4. jabba (280 comments) says:

    in the olden days, MP’s were old farts (sorry to those who may read this but!!) so it is great to see young hotties like Nikki are out there doing it for themselves. I read that the snooker table in the beehive is seldom used and a basketball hoop has been installed.
    My comments include the labour kiddies as well .. great to see our young folk are getting invloved .. not sure about the Ginga (Hughes??) though

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  5. Johnboy (16,704 comments) says:

    Any truth in the rumour that Gerry is entering next year?

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  6. jabba (280 comments) says:

    and the the cop over there seems a good sort .. they seem to be lucky to have her

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  7. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    Oh deary me, she really is as fit as a fiddle.

    The duck might be ****ed.

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  8. jabba (280 comments) says:

    from what I can tell Cactus, he will be one way or another .. hehe

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  9. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Wonder who is paying for the duck to travel to Taupo that weekend?

    Probably the same as every other week for the MP from Hutt South.

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  10. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Never mind NZ’s hardest marathon, it would have to be the world’s hardest!

    I was really keen to run it myself (insert Tui billboard) but unfortunately I couldn’t as I had to play in the club championships at the golf club on the island. Shot an 81 to be 7 shots off the pace in the senior mens. 43 front 9 and 38 on the back. Not too bad considering I had a major hangover from the Irish bar the night before, once I got to the 9th and we stopped for a hair of the dog I fine. Another 18 holes tomorrow, realistically need to shoot no worse than 70 to be in with a chance.
    Would you like to caddy for me DPF??????? lol

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  11. Ashley (8 comments) says:

    Ouch.

    And here was me, thinking “nah, I’ll do it tomorrow” about my usual two-hour Saturday morning bush walk …

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  12. wynkie (86 comments) says:

    Nikki Kaye is very impressive. Certainly leaves Judith Tizard for dead. Can’t see the old lizard doing a marathon.

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  13. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    Sounds like an excellent race, must look it up. What time did Nikki do in the end ?

    It might be the hardest marathon but I doubt it. Have a look at the Kaweka Challenge 42 Km run, 42 km which includes reaching 1724m above sea level at Kaweka J trig, and all on trails/tracks. It starts with a 600 m ascent of Mt Kuripapango. And a longer run but on slightly easier terrain, Triple Peaks out of Havelock North, scaling peaks of 460, 650, and 399 m in succession over 48 km.

    Hey, got to respect anyone who takes on any races like these, and their support crew too, good on you David.

    {DPF: Kaweka would definitely be harder! Impressive]

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  14. jabba (280 comments) says:

    kaya .. don’t let philu know you like to drink .. hope you don’t eat meat as well.
    It’s a great day so a good score must be possible but a 11 shot turn around would be tough .. good luck.
    With you on this Ed. I used do do harriers but got really boring so a pity multisport wasn’t around at the time.

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  15. radioman (1 comment) says:

    It was a real buzz for us Island residents to see Nikki, our member for Parliament!!, running that race.
    I was at the finish when she came in and she was was a sight to behold and a great time as well.
    Don’t be fooled, it is one hell of a course and she was out there with the best runners.
    We raised a lot of dollars for the Kaitoke school and the money she personally raised was a great contribution on New Zealands toughest marathon.

    We love you Nikki,

    Come back next year and bring the cabinet.

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