Popular Marines event set to go againBy Roger Childs
A US Marines’ route march depicted by novelist Leon Uris has provided the inspiration for another major event for runners and walkers next month.
The course for the 2013 ‘In the Footsteps of the Marines’ event will be about 13.4km and climb to more than 300m, so a good standard of fitness is required.
The participants will be rewarded with spectacular views on the downhill section over the last 5kms.
Last year Kapiti Joggers and Walkers organized the first In the Footsteps of the Marines event. This was part of the Salute 70 celebrations to commemorate US Forces coming to New Zealand during World War Two.
By popular request, it’s happening again on Sunday 26 May 2013.
Inspired by US marine and author Leon Uris
The course follows part of a route march described by Leon Uris in his novel Battle Cry —
‘Fall in, goddammit, on the double!’
We were off on our first hike in New Zealand. A half mile to the camp gate, then two miles down the highway and a right turn up the slowly winding dirt road. It twisted in a slow rise for nearly four miles. We called it the Little Burma Road. From the top, fifteen hundred feet up, we could see the rolling green hills, small dotted farms, and in the distance the ocean
‘Then we raced over the hills, through ravines and gulleys, over wire fences, along sheer sheep trails, sliding and falling in sheer drop. Through the woods until we wound back to Camp MacKay, and Paekakariki, which we could see far below us. Then down a treacherous cliff on our backs and guts until we descended into camp…’
2012 entries exceeded expectations
The idea for the event came from local historian Anthony Dreaver — then the Kapiti Joggers and Walkers took up the challenge. They hoped to attract at least 50 competitors.
However, says Race Secretary Pam Childs:
‘Entries in last year’s event exceeded expectations with many walkers and runners leaving their entry until the last minute. Feedback from competitors was overwhelmingly positive and people obviously relished the opportunity to participate in such a historic event.’
In all 147 competitors took part and the organizers are hoping that this year 150-200 will experience this unique event in the hills behind the Kapiti Coast.
Andrew Reid’s comments were typical of the feedback received last year:
‘A great day out, lovely scenery and views, weather obliged on the day, and nice to see that the cattle had been cleared off Campbell’s Mill Road where they had been the previous week. Would I compete again next year? Too right I would. And I’ve even talked my wife into competing as a walker!’
Following the Marines
As mentioned earlier, the course is about 13.4km and climbs over 300m, so a good standard of fitness is required.
The event starts at the Whareroa Farm entrance at MacKays Crossing and continues along Emerald Glen Road, Waterfall Road, Maungakotukutuku Road and Campbell’s Mill Road. From there it follows a short bush track onto the zigzag mountain bike track in Whareroa Farm. At the bottom, the course runs along another bush track and then onto an unsealed road, to finish by the Whareroa Shelter.
Details of this year’s event: Sunday 26 May
- · The venue is Whareroa Farm, MacKays Crossing.
- · The entry fee is $20 with $5 extra for late entries.
- · Walkers start at 9 am and runners at 10 am.
- · After the event participants can pick up a finisher’s certificate, check if they have won a spot prize and have soup and rolls at the Tramway Building in Queen Elizabeth Park.
· For more information and a postal entry form see: www.marinenz.com
· Participants can post their entry or enter online at: www.enteronline.co.nz
· Donations from the proceeds will be made to the Whareroa Guardians Community Trust, The Kapiti US Marines Trust, The Tramway Museum, The Cancer Society, The Wellington Free Ambulance and the Kapiti Running and Tri Club.