Back in 1991 the Riwaka Hotel certainly wasn’t ‘a Pub with no Beer’!
Hosts, Janet and Colin Pretty were amicable publicans, continually involved in and supporting their community.
The birth of the Riwaka Hotel Half Marathon started and finished there, up and over the Sandy Bay Hill was the initial challenge, then back via the undulating Kaiteriteri coastline, before a final navigation of a lot less busier Riwaka ‘home straight’ to the more than welcome finish line. Then it was up to the bar for a pick-me-up refreshment and, if you were in luck, a spot prize.
When the roads were quieter a unique feature one year was that the competitors could choose which direction they circuited the course – Sandy Bay Hill or Kaiteriteri coastline first. Made it very interesting and added another challenge!
Since then the event continued as a ‘must do’ on the athletic calendar, earning the reputation and brand ‘you’ve not run a half marathon until you’ve run Riwaka’. Badge of Honour for most hasn’t been to break 2 hours, 1.45 or go under 1.30 but simply finishing.
Rebranded Kaiteriteri Gold in 2008 it’s 30th anniversary on March 7th next year will also feature a course change plus a supporting 14km instead of the previous 10km.
The Half starts at the beach, winding itself out to the Marahau Junction on the road. Then it’s as per tradition, skywards and up Sandy Bay Hill, albeit in the other direction as in the past. Into the Kaiteriteri Forest is a new venture and along the pine-needle laden pathway. Split Apple Rock is the exit point and onto the final road section to the gold sand finish.
The 14km is over stunning new territory. Beginning with a ‘warm-up’ along Martin Farm Road it’s into the pristine MTB Park and up ‘Ziggy and Corkscrew for amazing views stretching out below. From there, the course will join the Half Marathoners as they tread through the forest and on to the finish.
The Half is a run only event whilst the 14km is open to both runners and walkers.
With close to 200 already registered, and 3 months until event day, we know its going to be a great day with a strong field.