Multisport fundraising event returning

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Ready to run .. Competitors gather round at last year's inaugural Woodbury Hill Country Challenge. The event will return next month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Planning is well under way for this year’s Woodbury School fundraising event, the Woodbury Hill Country Challenge.

After a positive inaugural challenge last year, the committee has made a few exciting changes to the course for the November 9 event.

In response to feedback, a longer (42km) mountain bike ride has been included, and for those who enjoy a challenging trail run a 37km event has been added.

Entrants in the longest-running and biking events can battle it out to claim the title King or Queen of the Mountain, and the winners will be encouraged to defend their titles next year.

The course is run over the steep hill country of picturesque Orari Gorge Station. Views from Mt Peel to the ocean will be the reward for those taking part in the longer events and the Station Hill Walk. The popular 4km family fun walk/run/ride, which attracted more than 100 entrants (from babies in backpacks to octogenarians) last year, will return again.

Although the course through the deer farm is relatively flat, and suitable for children on bikes and mountain buggies, competitors can expect to get damp feet at a gentle creek crossing.

The 11km trail run has been altered to make it slightly less steep and safer – avoiding clashes with mountain bikers and enabling the event to be opened up to competitive walkers.

Yet again, the station’s historic farm buildings will be open for viewing for a small charge and a guided tour by the station’s owners will be given. Entrants in the non-competitive Station Hill Historic Walk will get access to the tour with their entry fee, and spectators or other entrants can buy tickets to this tour on the day.

Organisers are attempting to get eftpos facilities running for the day, but entrants and supporters need to be aware there is no cellphone coverage so bringing cash is the safest option if you wish to buy merchandise, food or drinks.

The committee is also pushing this as an eco-event which has minimal impact on the environment. Minimising waste, using the Timaru District Council’s three-bin system, encouraging competitors and supporters to bring their own refillable drink bottles and coffee cups and selecting quality, useful spot prizes are part of the ethos of this event.

Entries will be open until 9am on the day of the event.