About 400 athletes take on Whitehorse Big Easy

Runners are sent on their way at the start of the 12km run and walk at the Whitehorse Big Easy in...
Runners are sent on their way at the start of the 12km run and walk at the Whitehorse Big Easy in Waimate yesterday. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Lycra, woolly hats, jackets - all were essential clothing for the hundreds of athletes who took on the Whitehorse Big Easy in Waimate yesterday.

There were a couple of school uniforms among the close to 400 people entered in the 5km, 12km and 18km run or walk, the 13km, 20km and 27km mountain bike rides and team challenge around the South Canterbury township, starting and finishing at Victoria Park.

There was also a children's race - a 1.5km run, walk or bike.

The high point, literally, for those slogging their way through some of the events was no doubt the view from the hill overlooking Waimate, where the well-known white horse monument proudly stands.

There was plenty of nervous chatter and given some conversations overheard by a reporter at the event, an element of second-guessing in the lead up to the race.

A brief downpour shortly before the race briefing at 8.45am had many scattering for cover under trees or in the nearby scout den, but when the races started at 9am the sun had finally started to break through.

Whitehorse Big Easy organising committee member Ryan Luckman was delighted with the turnout and despite the poor weather, was confident competitors would enjoy the experience.

"We are really happy. Entries were well up on last year."

He said the events were designed to test the more serious athletes, while at the same time offer families and children the chance to enjoy a more relaxed pace.

"The 27km mountain bike ride for example seems a pretty short distance, but it's a decent climb up. But, it's all worth it ... the view up the top is crazy and the downhill section is really worth it."

The event benefits Waimate charities, including the food bank and Parenting Hub, and money raised would also help develop the town's running and mountain bike tracks.

daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz

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