Fundraising runs strong in “the little event with a big heart”




Once dubbed “the little event with a big heart” by online running magazine Running Plus, the Peak Trail Blazer will return for its 8th year to the trails of Te Mata Peak on Sunday 19 November, with the hotly contested $500 cash prize for both the King and Queen of the Peak.


Race Director Jo Throp says the event has seen more than 4000 people participate on the 12.8km Te Mata Peak and 3.5km Tainui trails over the years, and has also raised over $124,000, with nearly $90,000 going to Havelock North Primary for school hall improvements and a further $35,000 donated to the wider community.


Now open for entries, Ms Throp says the Peak Trail Blazer is a “passion project” for those closely involved in the event.  “We love everything about.  How it inspires young and old to get out there, how it encourages our kids to work hard and not give up, how it promotes the outdoors and iconic Te Mata Peak, and how it gives back to the community.  It also serves up a solid dose of healthy competition to those hitting the slopes, young and old, and they love it,” says Ms Throp.


Every year the event donates 40% of the funds raised to two community groups, with this year’s recipients Heart Kids Hawke’s Bay and the Hastings Giants Boxing Academy both happy to be involved for the second year.


Heart Kids Hawke’s Bay spokesperson Adrianne Galvin says it is “absolutely amazing” for the non-government funded organisation to be involved again.  “The money from last year’s event went towards creating and paying for an in-home support person for Hawke’s Bay heart kids families, it’s now a vitally important aspect of what we do.” 


Past recipients have included Sumner School and Kaiapoi Borough School after the earthquakes in Christchurch, the Te Mata Park Trust and the Heretaunga Women’s Centre.


Adding to this, any sports team, school or community group has the ability to dovetail off the back of the Peak Trail Blazer by registering with the organisers to raise funds during the event.


What started as a fundraising idea by three Havelock North Primary parents is now firmly established on the local running calendar managing to attract top runners such as reigning champions and nationally recognized athletes Laura Nagel and Eric Speakman, who are both keen to return to defend their titles of Hawke’s Bay Orthodontics Queen of the Peak and Rod McDonald Wines King of the Peak.


“The event is now getting some air-time outside the region having been listed on key trail running websites and, along with an honorable mention in Kiwi Trail Runner magazine for the second year in a row,” says Ms Throp. 


“There’s so many cool aspects to this event; not only the fundraising angle, but the relatively low entry fee, the fact that all entrants wear timing chips, people can run or walk, there’s a short and a long course, and there’s the ability for people from all ages and fitness levels to take part on either trail. It’s a great entry-level event as well as being highly competitive at the top end.”


Ms Throp says the event would not be possible without the great support of sponsors, many have been with the Peak Trail Blazer since the beginning.


This year’s sponsors are; Gold sponsors – Rod McDonald Wines (8 years support), Hawke’s Bay Orthodontics (8 years support), Specsavers Hastings (8 years support), Hawthorne Coffee (8 years support), BWR Chartered Accountants (8 years support), Bramwell Bate Lawyers (6 years support), Spicers Hawke’s Bay (New) and Peak Fitness & Health (New).  Silver Sponsors - MR Labels & Print (8 years support), Good Pixel (7 years support), Napier Shoe Clinic & Asics (8 years support), Simon Cartwright Photography (3 years support) and Love Havelock North (New).


Entries for the 19 November event are open now, with full event details found at