Oparara Wilderness Trail Run - 26 July Update

Submitted by Radek on Wed, 27/07/2016 - 6:02am

By Lynda Pope

PUBLIC MEETING 14TH JULY – KARAMEA BOWLING CLUB.

A meeting which was chaired by Ray Douglas was held at the Karamea Bowling Club on Thurs 14th July to update the Karamea community of the proposed plan for the Oparara Wilderness Trail Run scheduled for Sat 22nd April 2017.

Ten people braved the elements to attend and I have been assured that this was a very good turn out considering the cold, stormy night so a big thank you to all of those people.

The point of the meeting was to inform the community on how the race will be run, what has been organised so far and to get an indication as to the amount of community input we can expect in terms of volunteer help so that the project runs smoothly and professionally.

At this stage a few local people have already offered to help either by sponsorship or by other means for which I am very grateful. However, it would be nice if others could also find the time to come forward and offer their help as well. April may seem a long way off to the people of Karamea, however, as far as the organisers are concerned it is just around the corner. It is not an option to simply assume that people will step up and offer to volunteer their services only three weeks out from race day. The main planning and organisation needs to be completed months in advance so that all of the “I’s” are dotted and the “T’s” are crossed and it is important that we have volunteer numbers confirmed as soon as possible. A few initial set backs has meant that not a lot of progress has been made during this last week and we seem to be taking one step forward and three back. This was bound to have happened at some stage and I am confident that we will find a solution to resolve the problems and carry on.

I was asked at the meeting if I thought the event can proceed.

My role as race organiser is specifically to coordinate the race and a lot of work has already been done to get the event under way. The market/festival at the Domain is to complement the race, although it will need to be run as a separate event either by a single person or a committee formed from members from the community. I would like to mention that although I am the instigator, it is not my intention to take ownership of the event. The whole idea is to bring the community together to work on a common project that everyone can benefit from and therefore the event will belong to the people of Karamea.

The first year will be trial with a lot of unknowns attached. However, with good organisation and strong community support I cannot see any reason why it won’t be anything other than a success and become an annual event that Karamea can be proud of for many years to come and so with good community support there is absolutely no reason why the event cannot proceed.

The co-organiser of the race is Dennis Straker who has successfully run the Buller Marathon for the past thirty four years. Dennis is very supportive of the race, mainly because he can see the potential and full benefits of it, not only for Karamea but for the whole of the Buller region. Apart from being my mentor, Dennis also supports me and together we have put in place the race plan. He is also in charge of the technical side of things, such as the electronic timing equipment and traffic management plan.

A very good, valid point was brought to my attention at the meeting where there was concern that the market/festival committee will not have the finance to hire the marquees for the event and that it should be the responsibility of the race organisers. After much discussion with Dennis, it has been decided that marquees are not required as part of the race equipment. Once the last competitor has crossed the finish line the race is pretty much over. The prize giving can be held anywhere and if it is fine it can be held outside, if it is wet then it could be held at an indoor venue which has yet to be decided upon.

Following that discussion, the next day an enthusiastic local suggested that maybe there are some business’s who own marquees which are used for field days and promotional purposes and that it may be possible that they would to lend them to us. Incidentally, since then Mitre 10 in Westport have offered to lend us their gazebo as part of their sponsorship package so it looks as though this could be an option for the market/festival committee.

It was also suggested at the meeting that in order to keep the community enthusiastic and primed, it would be a good idea if I kept them informed by submitting regular newsletters and holding more meetings. Whilst this is certainly a good idea, I consider it to be time consuming and I think my time is better spent on putting together the contents needed for the website, drumming up more sponsorship and the general planning of the race, so if this is what the community would like then maybe this could be a job that needs to be delegated out. I also need to make you aware that any future newsletters will only be published in the Chronicle and on the Karamea Community website.

It is with some urgency that the website is up and running as soon as possible. Until that happens we are unable to start fully promoting the event and we must keep in mind that the online entries will need to be open by the start of November.
I am sure there are people in the community, whether it be individuals or groups and organisations who can see the benefits that this event will bring to Karamea and who are already thinking that they way like to volunteer in some way or another. If this happens to be you and you have no intention of having a stall at the market/festival then I need to ask you to contact me now. If you are a person who would rather work quietly behind the scenes and have good administration skills then I would love to hear from you. If your organisation would be interested in being out in the field as a marshal or to aid drink stations, then I would like to hear from you as well. You do not need to be young and fit to be a marshal or to aid drink stations. If you are someone who would rather help in the background and remain anonymous, then I can guarantee that this will most certainly be respected.

I would like to mention that all of our volunteers will be rewarded with an after match function and will be very much appreciated. Remember, this event will belong to you and will go a long way towards the future of Karamea and so to allow this event to proceed we need your volunteer input.

I can be contacted on:
03 5724042 – Home 03 5771136 – Work OR Email noel [dot] lyndaatoutlook [dot] co [dot] nz

Lynda Pope

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