Inaugural Eco City Challenge great success !

Monday 14 April 2008, 11:00AM

By Shaun Collins


The inaugural Eco City Challenge was a great success with 250 people in 83 teams taking part in the navigational challenge (rogaine) around the streets of Waitakere City by foot or bus. 



The winning team, open mens team "3 Guys" (Matthew Nye-Hingston, Paul Grayson and Gordon Pope) gained the most points in the 4 hour event by scoring 1,520 points out of the possible 3,200. This shows the size of the area mapped and potential for further exploration by participants in later years. The newly created map was A3 sized and covered an area roughly 11km long by 8 km wide.

Second was mixed veteran team “Nga Rakau” (Mark Struthers and Annette Windross) who score 1450 and third equal was another mixed vet team “Michels and Michels” (Roel and Di Michels) and open mens team “Cullenfest” (Todd Woods, Dan Cullen, Tim Lucas and Matt Landreth) who both scored 1,420 points.

The corporate competition was taken our by the Perry West team (Steve Hanna, Neil Macfarlane and Jocelyn Crosby) who won with 1,160 points, just 60 points more than second place “WE Warriors” from Waitakere Enterprise (Roxi Pringle, John Wadsworth, Bevan Dudley, Danny Morris and Sophie Heighway) who actually sponsored the corporate event.

Event Supporters Waitakere City Council, who contracted Lactic Turkey Events to make the map and organise the event were impressed with the turnout and could see huge potential for growth in future years. They were happy that the main objectives of the event were met, namely:
 - To promote health and fitness in a novel and attractive way 
 - To foster knowledge and use of the increasingly comprehensive network of walk and cycle ways in Waitakere 
- To promote knowledge of public transport in Waitakere 
- To promote Waitakere City 
- To generate funds for WESTY Trust to disburse to talented young Waitakere residents and/or youth organisations (according to criteria established by the trust) is one of the objectives of the event

Participants were impressed with the network of tracks and parks and even locals were amazed at how much off-road running they were doing, that they didn’t know about previously.

Buses, although limited on a Sunday did prove popular with the best story coming from a bus at the end of the day racing back from Te Atatu towards the event centre with 30 participants on it. Upon seeing a couple of guys running to a bus stop trying to hail the bus, the whole bus yelling to the driver “don’t stop!”. Apparently the bus driver pulled into the bus stop and then quickly pulling out (to a cheering busload of participants), leaving the two runners having to continue running back to the event centre, trying to beat the four hour deadline.

Participants were given an all day bus pass from Go West buses and a complete set of timetables. This made the one hour planning time for the event a challenge with teams sprawled around the event centre, with maps and timetables laid out around them as they planned their route. Passers by must have wondered what they had come across.

Just seven teams arrived at the finish after this 4 hour deadline incurring the 10 point penalty per minute late.

The encouraging aspect of the event for the organisers was the variety of teams competing. There were some from the usual Lactic Turkey bush rogaines (like the Piha Rogaine on the 7th June and Huia Rogaine on the 12th July) and some trying out a rogaine for the first time. For some teams this was the first competitive event they had competed in at all, let alone something involving navigation. There were plenty of families including babies in buggies and backpacks and teams with 3 generations of the family included.