Thousands gather for iconic Hamilton fun run

By U Leisure Limited

Thousands of excited runners, walkers and wheelchairs users turned out for Hamilton’s iconic Round the Bridges fun run in the city centre on Sunday.

Nearly 6,000 participants completed the event’s 2km, 6km and 12km courses, each taking home a finisher’s medal and a feeling of satisfaction and achievement when they crossed the finish line.

Among the mass of participants, over 240 teams came together to enjoy the day’s festivities, adding to the lively atmosphere at event base and to the spectrum of colours, costumes and team uniforms that made its way around the city’s CBD, river paths and historic bridges.

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King attended the event, opening the elite race using the same starter gun that was used by Prince William during the Avantidrome opening in 2014.

Celebrating success in the 12km category was Cambridge local Jonny McKee, finishing his first ever Round the Bridges event in 0:39:15, and as the male winner of the 12km Legends’ Race.

“I was stoked to be able to compete in my first ever Round the Bridges event,” said McKee.

“It was a pretty tough course but there was great atmosphere all the way around, with lots of people cheering us on and a great crowd to finish. I thought I put in a good solid effort and I was glad to come away with the win; hopefully I’ll be back again next year.”

He was followed by Hamilton City Hawks runners John Mering and Jai Davies-Campbell, who finished in times of 0:40:33 and 0:41:07 respectively.

Taking out the women’s category was 18 year-old Emerson Deverell, completing the course in 0:47:44. Koro Macdonald came behind her in second place, with last year’s winner Sarah Murphy claiming third.

Hamilton Boys’ High School student Sean Trowern took out the 6km Secondary School Challenge, winning the Fellows Family Trophy for the second year in a row. His time of 0:22:41, with the help of his team’s next three fastest finishers - William Swales, Jayden Gozdz and Josh Gordon - also resulted in the school once again taking home the Secondary School Team Trophy.

Year 9 St Peter’s School student Charli Miller added to her years of Round the Bridges victories, winning the female category in an incredible time of 0:23:17. This result comes off the back of months of preparation and competition success.

“I’m so excited that I’ve been able to add this to my list of achievements this season,” said Miller.

“I did a lot of training in the lead up to this event, so to see it all pay off and to be able to win on race day is a really cool feeling.”

Beating 72 other corporate teams to take out the SPARK Business Corporate Challenge was Waikato District Health Board. The team, consisting of Benjamin Moody, Andrew Soepnel, James Clark and Ahmed Hankir; finished with a combined time of 3:18:50; over three minutes faster than any other challenger.

Event organisers U Leisure Limited and Sports Waikato’s Team Energize were delighted with the record number of 2km Kids Challenge participants who turned up to take part. Over 800 primary and intermediate aged school kids completed the event’s 2km circuit, the highest number the event has attracted in its 72 year history.

Through a combination of active fundraisers and online donations, the local event has raised an incredible $36,450 for New Zealand charities. Event organisers are pleased with the efforts made by everyone so far, and are excited to watch the number grow over the days following the event.

Photos: Stephen Barker, Barker Photography. Copyright U Leisure Limited 2016.

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