Kapiti Stars In The Great Forest

Great Forest… is a fantastic off road event through the beautiful Waitarere Forest in Levin. Event web site

Plenty of local runners and walkers win

By Roger Childs

Great Forest There were over 3000 entries in last Saturday’s Great Forest Races, making it one of the biggest sporting events in the southern North Island. With races from a 5km fun run or walk through to the marathon, there was something for everyone. The ages ranged from single figures through to the 80s, and the wonderful setting far from traffic and sealed roads, was a very attractive proposition.

The Kapiti Coast was well represented and over 50 competitors from the local Running and Tri Club and the Joggers and Walkers took part. From this group there were 15 winners, including four who won their event outright

  • Nadine Yorker: 1st in the marathon walk in 4.59.15
  • Mitchell Rutter: 1st in the 10km run in 37.20
  • Stefan Przychodzko: 1st in the 5km run in 17.00
  • Jo Johansen: 1st in the women’s section of the half marathon run in 1.26.07

The forest experience

great forestThe event was first organised by the Levin Joggers and Walkers 17 years ago and included a half marathon and 10km which attracted less than 200 starters. However, the word soon got around that this was a unique experience, very different from traditional on-road races. So entrant numbers have grown dramatically over the years and the races are now organised by Great Forest Events Inc.

The course has varied according to where logging has taken place, but for the half marathon and marathon has usually gone as far north as the Manawatu River. Every kilometre is marked, so runners and walkers can judge their pace and performance.

One year because of a prolonged drought, competitors were not allowed in the forest, however, the organisers kept faith with the entrants and quickly arranged alternative courses. These went through the town, onto the beach, through farmland and along stream banks.

The terrain is never easy to run and walk on, as it includes small undulations and tree roots as well as varying textures

  • sandy tracks
  • shingle roads
  • muddy trails.

However the variety of the underfoot conditions and the beautiful sylvan setting are all part of the appeal.

Nadine Yorker walking in the Great Forest marathon walk.Winners across the grades

Probably the most outstanding Kapiti performance came from Nadine Yorker (see alongside), who won the marathon walk in under 5 hours and beat last year’s winner. Her time was 6 minutes faster than last year when she came second.

Kapiti Running and Tri Club teenagers Mitchell Rutter and Stefan Przychodzko easily won the 10km and 5km respectively and rising ultra star, Jo Johansen, continued her race winning streak with a victory in the women’s half marathon.

There were also a number of age group winners from the Kapiti clubs.

  • Kate Jenkins: half marathon run W50-54  in 1.42.17
  • Sally Ashley: 10km run W65-69 in 66.10
  • Jim Hammonds: 10km walk M65-69 in 1.19.06
  • Sandra Smith: 10km walk W70-74 in 1.22.23
  • Dean Harrison: 10km walk M60-64 in 1.24.13
  • Ann Bould: half marathon run W65-69 in 2.26.30
  • Mark Fouhy: half marathon run M65-69  in 2.02.46
  • Roger Childs: half marathon run  M70-74 in 1.53. 34
  • Ann Benney:  half marathon walk W70-74 in 2.51.05
  • Dougal Cable: half marathon walk M65-69 in 2.38.33
  • Judy Kennedy: 10km walk W60-64 in 1.19.63

Weather conditions were ideal on the day with temperatures in the early 20s and a light westerly wind.