Papatowai Challenge took place last weekend; below is brief race report from Russell Hurring.
Running through beautiful Catlins (South Otago) native forest, onto a remote beach, and over a roller coaster of gravel roads through farmlands scattered with remnants of the bush that once covered all this country, these are the delights of the 15.5km Papatowai Challenge. Not hard out tiger country like events usually featuring on Backcountry Runner but scenic and testing, a solid blow out. This is a great race to start a back country running or walking career as so many do, including for the last few years a group of blind and partially sighted folk who are able to navigate around the course with support.
Dunedin runner Jason Palmer took the honours in 57:49, followed by Will Smith. But run of the day has to be Ricky Gutsell from Gore, 3rd over the line in a Masters 50 course record 1:00:18. Vet Mel Aitken was first woman home in 1:07:02, followed by Anna Yeoman.
In all 350 runners and walkers enjoyed the ideal calm and cloudy conditions for 2013 and the legendary Wayne & Bev Allen hospitality at their batch, which doubles as race HQ. Then the sun came out on cue, just in time for the outdoor prize giving, a great finish to the day.