Home' Central District Times : December 20th 2011 Contents 4 CENTRAL DISTRICT TIMES, DECEMBER 20, 2011
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Safety fears halt
popular road race
By TERRY KARATAU
First home: James Le Lievre, from
Whanganui, won the last 20- mile
Waiouru to Taihape road race in
January this year.
High speeds and heavy traffic flows
have forced Doug and Murray Bond
to make the decision to end the 20-
Mile Road Race which has been a
popular event attracting top
athletes to Taihape for 55 years.
Both agree that running and
walking on State Highway One has
become risky and unsafe and so the
decision was made to stop before
someone had an accident.
In early January each year, the
start line for the race was outside
the marae at Waiouru.
The route was up to the Army
Museum and along SH1 to the top of
the deviation and then along
Spooners Hill Rd (the old main
road), up Hautapu St and the gruel-
ling Gretna hill and on to the finish
line outside the Taihape Town Hall,
a distance of exactly 20 miles
The race dates back to the winter
of 1956, when Norm Pearce
suggested doing something in the
area to help Taihape Athletic and
Cycling Club marathon runners
with their buildup to the Centre
Champs in February and the
nationals in March.
Doug Bond said: ''Twenty miles
from Waiouru to Taihape seemed
the best idea so Norm, along with
clubmates Jack Potaka, Ron Jen-
kins and myself, had a trial run over
the course and the first race was
held in January 1957.''
Only 12 runners entered the
inaugural race but as word got
round the race went from strength
to strength, attracting many
national champions and New Zea-
land representatives such as Bill
Baillie, Ray Puckett, Jeff Julian and
Mr Bond said entry nunbers
varied from year to year.
''During the running boom of the
late 1970s and early 1980s we
reached a peak of over 80 starters.
''For the 1962 race Jeff Julian
arrived at 4.30am on the morning of
the race off the express train, the
usual mode of travel in those days.
Julian had a few hours' sleep and
then set off to try and beat the
course record held by fellow Auck-
lander Gordon Parker, who had
beaten Bill Baillie's time the pre-
vious year. The result was a new
course record of 1hr 40min 20sec --
which still stands.''
In 1993 and 1994 Gabrielle
O'Rourke held the fastest time. Mr
Bond said that in the early days of
the race, no-one would have
believed that one day this would be
achieved by a woman.
Local runners have won through-
out the history of the race, begin-
ning with Doug Bond in 1959, Brian
Hodge in 1977, John Bird in 1978,
Alan Thomas in 1984 and 1992,
Ivan Baird in 1990 and 1994,
Christine Voelkerling in 1999, Lisa
Meadows in 2001 and Bernard
McQueen in 2010. The fastest time
by a local runner was in 1960 when
Neil McNeil ran the course in 1hr 53
Doug Bond, as main organiser,
has been ably supported by Norm
Pearce over the years.
''Others whose help goes back a
considerable time are Bill Hamilton,
himself a distance runner in the
1930s. He was chief judge for many
years, and Bert Collerton a sprinter
from back in the 1930s,'' Mr Bond
Having fun for your health
Laughter is the best medicine. Raphael
Armstrong makes the most of his
prescription for health with Ngawini
Martin. His enthusiasm is contagious
and shared by all in his green prescription
By EILEEN WILSON
Have fun in the pool three times each
week. Those are the instructions from
newly appointed Whare Ora Iwi navi-
gator Ngawini Martin on the green
prescription developed for a group of
Ms Martin's role is a newly estab-
lished joint initiative from Otaihape
Maori Komiti and Otaihape Health.
Green prescriptions are an alterna-
tive treatment available to anyone at
risk of, or suffering from, an ongoing
illness or injury.
An exercise programme, specific to
individual needs is developed and
additional support and information is
available covering issues such as
healthy eating. Illnesses such as dia-
betes and heart disease are among the
range of targeted conditions.
Referrals can be sought from any of
the practice nurses at Otaihape Health
and entitles patients to subsidised
access to the swimming pool with a
programme of activities designed in
association with Sport Wanganui.
Otaihape Health manager Gemma
Kennedy says the success of the green
prescription programme has been a
''Ngawini has been getting it off the
ground. She is enthusiastic and has
met with the likes of the midwives and
community health nurses to promote
and develop the programme to a wider
range of people. The programme will
be extended to include more pool
groups and walking groups,'' she said.
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