The Waikato River Trails came alive on Saturday with the second annual Taniwha event.
Over 1100 enthusiastic Kiwis ran, walked and rode along the beautifully groomed trails, enjoying the stunning scenery and camaraderie that an event of this nature offers.
Among them were 20 NZ Warriors Players and 10 staff members, each of them tackling the 21km Mountain Bike or the 14km Run event options.
Warriors hooker, Nathan Friend said The Taniwha was a great way to spend the teams day.
“It was so beautiful out there, just stunning, it’s also awesome to be out here with the community, thanking them for their support that they give the team.”
SHINE is the charity partner of the event and also the NZ Warriors. The event has raised over $10,000 for the organisation that stands for making homes violence free in New Zealand.
As well as the longer event options (80km Mountain Bike and 60km Ultra Marathon) there were plenty of other event options for people to choose from, including a 42km and 21km Run or Mountain Bike and a 7km or 14km Run or Walk.
The event is a point to point race: all distances start at different points along the Waikato River Trail and finish together at the Whakamaru Christian Camp. an amazing and stunning facility nestled in the trees on an island in the middle of the Waikato River.
The Waikato River Trails Trust has spent the last eight years working with a large number of stakeholders and landowners to create a trail opening up access to the Waikato River. They have certainly achieved that.
This access enabled The Taniwha event to be the first major participation-based event combining mountain biking, running and walking options to be staged on a trail which is part of the National Cycleways initiative. The event was organised by Total Sport Limited who specialise in the execution of off-road events. Event Manager Dave Franks says he couldn’t be happier with how the day went.
“Like the inaugural year the event was blessed with amazing weather and a fantastic atmosphere. There have been some long hours by dozens of people but it makes it all worthwhile when you see the happy faces cross the finish line.”
The Taniwha attracted entrants from all over the North Island including Napier, Hamilton, Auckland, Tokoroa, Whangarei, Wellington, Taupo, Levin, Masterton, Palmerston North and Rotorua.
The Taniwha represents the guardians of the Waikato River. “Waikato Taniwharau - he piko he taniwha he piko he taniwha” .......on every bend of the Waikato River is a guardian.
The 2014 Taniwha will be held on Saturday 8th November. For more information see www.thetaniwha.co.nz