Great Kauri Run a huge success


Six hours and 24 minutes is the phenomenal time that it took Japan-based kiwi Richard Coghlan to tackle 70km of challenging Coromandel Peninsula terrain on the Great Kauri Run held yesterday.

Ultra winner Richard Coghlan leading at Waikawau Bay

A field of 280 runners took on the challenge in disciplines of a 76km Ultra Run, a 32km Kauri Classic, a 23km Kauri Half Marathon and 12km Kauri Loop on Saturday 5 May.

A 5km Fun Run was also held in Coromandel Town – the finishing point for all divisions.

Organisers, the Spirit of Coromandel Trust, say the event drew excellent numbers including more female competitors than any of the dozens of events organised by the trust, which also hosts the Flight Centre K2 Cycle Classic in October and ARC Adventure Race in February.

The "Kauri Ultra affect" .. at Stoney Bay

“This is our 69th event and the first time we’ve had more women in an event than men,” says co-organiser Andy Reid.

The Trust is raising funds to establish a youth outdoor pursuits centre on the Coromandel. The Great Kauri Run is also helping to re-establish depleted kauri forests, since every entrant receives a kauri seedling that will be planted by volunteers in June.

So far more than 3000 kauri trees have been planted, with a goal of planting 10,000 trees along the 32km Coromandel Town ‘Success Track’ which comprises part of the course.

The Kauri Ultra runners started pre dawn at Port Jackson, ran around the top of the Coromandel passing the eastern beaches down the coast to join the start of the 32km Classic course at Waikawau Bay, which traverses the ranges to Coromandel Township
Ultra runner Richard Coghlan - who lives in Japan – took out the event ahead of Coast 2 Coast winner Sam Clark of Whakatane, competing in the Open Men’s division and finishing with a time of 7:06:11. In 3rd was Mike Jolie of Auckland 7:13:58, and 4th Timothy Pickering from Rotorua in 7:34:12.

“This is the first time I’ve done the Kauri ultra, it was awesome. It was a spectacular place to start down at the beach (Port Jackson) and with the sun coming up is something you’ll never forget, it was a perfect day”. Commented 45 year old Coghlan at the finish line, adding. “The run was over good technical trails, with plenty of ups and down which I enjoyed. There was good competition as well with a couple of racers nipping at my heals which kept it nice and honest.” Reflecting on other top New Zealand results, Coghlan mentioned he had previously placed first and second in the Tarawera 87km.

The women’s field was won by Courtney Pratt of Mount Maunganui in 7:41:29 followed by Sue Crowley of Rotorua in 7:55:39 and Merrily Harris also of Rotorua in 8:12:24. Pratt continued her top form at the Kauri Run after placing 4th at the Tarawera 102km and first Kiwi home.

Sue Crowley leads Courtney Pratt at Stoney Bay

Numerous competitors were entered from the Rotorua Running Club who performed well.

“It was challenging day out there for me.” Commented 2018 Ultra champion Pratt. “My head torch was a bit average, so that made the first section a bit tricky keeping up with Sue who dragged me along for the first part of the race.” “I love the small community feel the organisers bring to the run, they are very personable. I love the concept of raising funds for the planting of Kauri trees and reforestation in the Coromandel. It’s a beautiful beautiful forest park, good to see people are taking care of it.”

For the 32km Kauri Classic it was Matthew McDougall of Whitianga winning in 3:11:44, Matt Simpson of Stratford in 3:19:22 in 2nd and Michael Mitchell of Whakatiwai in 3rd place with 3:3:39. Fourth was Tim Cochraine of Rotorua in 3:24:04. Local McDougall was surprised with his win. “It was brilliant, another magic run, absolutely stunning, nice and cool plus the track was fantastic. My goal was three hours, the win is such an awesome bonus.”

Runners traverse the Coromandel ranges

The women’s event placegetters were Maureen Stachowich France 3:38:57, Roisin McQuillan of Matamata 3:47:40, Sally Cory, of Wellington, 4:04:01 and Georgie Griffiths, Rotorua, 4:15:53.

“I did the race last year and just loved it so I decided to just do it again. Beautiful race and beautiful views, beautiful terrain I really enjoyed it.” Commented Classic winner Stachowich. “I love racing in New Zealand, it’s very natural, plus you have to do it by yourself, there is nothing on the way, where as in Europe you have all the foods all the water stationed very close, where as here it’s just you and nature.”

The Kauri Half was won by another local woman – Tairua’s Kirsty Law in a time of 2:43:42. Second was Rosemary Smart of Auckland in 2:44:58, 3rd was Trudie Assink of Papamoa in 2: 47:27 1 and 4th Elicia Milne, of Kaiaua, 2:48:46.

The men’s division was taken out by Damon Nicholas OpenMen 2:20:21; 2nd Gary Walden Auckland 2:21:19; 2nd Ben Leaker Coromandel 2:24:55 and Simon Lee Auckland 2:43:52.

In the 12km loop run, Hannah Gapes Rotorua 2 0:53:22, 2nd Vivianne Bongard Hot Water Beach 1:10:26 and 3rd Rebecca Jones Whakatane 1:13:28.

The Men’s division 12km was won by Keon Hall, Auckland, 0:53:16; 2nd Steve Wenzlick of Te Aroha 0:55:19, 3rd Rodney Poulgrain of Thames 1:00:20 and 4th Ian Mckee of Thames 1:05:00.

Photos Click here

Results click here