Great day at Whareroa Farm for the Marines event


Sunday 26 May saw the second running of In the Footsteps of the Marines. The participants followed a challenging13.4 km course which featured shingle paths, sealed and unsealed roads, bush and clay tracks and a final dash along a farm road to the finish at Whareroa Farm. The event was part of the 71st commemoration of American forces arriving in the Kapiti area in World War Two.


Winners in 2012, Craig Edwards and Deb Finn, repeated their first placings in the run, with times of 55.30 and 59.37 respectively. Karl Whalen was second male runner in 55.44 and Andrew Smith was third in 56.30. Jo Johansen was second woman in 62.12 and Hayley Everingham third in 64.06.  In the walking section Bart Henderson and Nadine Yorker repeated their last year's victories with times of 88.11 and 99.02 respectively. Lynn Sleath was second male in 100.30 and Dougal Cable was third in 102.26.  Amongst the women, Judy Kennedy was second in 111.38 and Ann Benney third in 111.58.


Remembering the Marines


The brainchild of local historian, Anthony Dreaver, who completed the walk on Sunday, the course follows part of a route march described by Marine Leon Uris in his book Battle Cry. This year two Marines from the American Embassy took part and both were delighted to be involved. Gunnery Sergeant Scott Boylan said beforehand: It will be an honour to celebrate the Marines’ long-established relationship with New Zealand and to help raise funds for good causes.


Numbers up on last year


Organisers, the Kapiti Joggers and Walkers, were delighted with support for the event. 160 completed the challenging event compared with 132 in 2012. Online entry proved popular and as a result we had fewer walk-up entries on the day, said Race Secretary Pam Childs. Mayor Jenny Rowan was the starter for the walk and retired Marine Major Larry Keim fired the gun for the runners’ start.


Competitors happy and well rewarded!


Feedback from participants has been very positive and they enjoyed the challenge of the varied course which included three major climbs. Coming down from Campbell’s Mill Road, walkers and runners were rewarded with wonderful views of the coastline and the area where the three US camps were located in early 1940s. After the event participants were able to consume soup, rolls and bananas at the Tramway building, and pick up a certificate and, possibly, a spot prize.


Sponsors and donations


The Kapiti Joggers and Walkers were grateful for the sponsorship of Pak ‘n Save, cityfitness, The Print Room, Warehouse Stationery and R-line: a firm which provided electrolyte drinks.


From the proceeds, donations will be given to The Wellington Free Ambulance, The Raumati Scouts, The Whareroa Guardians, The Kapiti US Marines Trust, The Wellington Tramway Museum, The Kapiti Running and Tri Club and The Cancer Society.


An annual event for the Kapiti area


The popularity of this year’s walk/run means that In the Footsteps of the Marines will become a regular annual event. Some participants have mentioned that a separate start for slower runners and people who want to walk and run would be desirable. This would mean that in the walking race all competitors would have to walk all the way!