Oparara Wilderness Trail Run - 22nd April 2017 Update

Submitted by Radek on Thu, 04/05/2017 - 10:23am

Pulse Energy Oparara Wilderness Trail Run
22nd April 2017

After a whole year of planning and organizing, the inaugural event finally became a reality and was extremely successful.

The event attracted 131 entries from as far north as Waiheke Island to Timaru in the south including two international competitors. Of the 125 competitors who registered, 98 including their support people were from outside the Buller and West Coast region and I understand that some of those people stayed in Karamea to attend the ANZAC Day service. One Competitor I spoke to told me her mother had travelled from the Waikato to see her race because it was a good opportunity for her to see the Buller area.

Congratulations to the Karamea runners who won prizes and well done to those who managed to complete the course, it was great to see so many from the community competing.

Thank you to the community for your encouragement and support and a massive thanks to those who sponsored the event. Thanks also to those who helped on the day and to those in the community who accommodated volunteers from outside the district. Visitors commented on how friendly the local people were and many said that they hoped to be back again next year.

So, what now? It is our intention to run the race again in 2018, however, as with any new event we did have a few minor ragged edges which we have identified and these issues will be rectified before next years event.

One of the changes to be made will be to the race briefing, this will now be held at both start lines rather than at the domain. There will also be changes to the amount of time the buses had to wait at the Basin. We apologise to those people who had to wait around unnecessarily but this year was all trial and error and so we now know the areas which need to be streamlined.

Our website will have a face lift before entries open for 2018 and it was hoped that we may be able to introduce another race but this is still to be discussed by the Trust members, however, it may be that we will decide to go with the status quo in the meantime so we can perfect all the systems first. We have fielded enquiries from people hoping that we will introduce a walking race. At this stage, we think this will be out of the question due to the time it will take them to get back to the domain as we were late enough getting the prize giving underway as it was and it seems that competitors would rather have a later start than an earlier one. It is a shame we don't have daylight saving on our side but that's just the way it is. A hybrid event (walk/run) maybe a better option.

We also realised that it was a mistake to have the BBQ for the volunteers at the end of the day as it was getting cold and dark so in future we thought it would be a much better idea to hold it the day after the event.

As a Charitable Trust, we are aware of our obligations under our Trust deed. At the conception of this project we estimated that it could be up to three years before we will be able to release any monies back into the community. Financially, it is still too early for us to see what the final figures for this years event are as accounts are still coming in. It has cost the Trust around $26,000 to run the event this year and a realistic budget for 2018 could be around $35,000 given that we want to try and grow the event.

Although we had good sponsorship for this year with grants and a substantial one off donation, we are aware that we will not have the privilege of receiving grants to the same amount that we did for this years event and that we will need to hold monies back to kick start the race for 2018.

The running of this years event was an enormous leap of faith and if we hadn't managed to pull it off, funding the losses would have had to come out of the pockets of the Trust committee. Our official accounts will be audited by F.T Dooley Ltd at the end of the financial year.

Organising the race has been a massive undertaking and has almost been a full time job for Lynda over the last twelve months, however, that amount of work on a voluntary basis is not sustainable over the long term and to ensure the future of the event we must reach out to more people in the community for assistance.

The success of the Buller Gorge Marathon comes down to community support. We realise that Westport is a much bigger community than Karamea but we can do it as has just been proven. The way the BGM work is by delegation, for example, someone could be responsible for the prize pool, another for sponsorship, another for receiving the entries and dealing with refunds and another to share the general administration with Dennis Straker overseeing the general running of the event. This means that everyone involved will have a small part to play rather than just one person carrying the entire load and risking burnout.

We are still missing one orange hi vi vest with silver reflector tape. If you still have this can you please return it ASAP please. This belongs to the Buller Gorge Marathon Trust and if we don't get it back we will have to pay to replace it.

On closing, congratulations to Will Galway on his recent achievement. Look out for him to be on the podium in twelve months time.

Photos of the event can be viewed on the OWTR website and Facebook page.

Lynda Pope

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