The Round the Bays event was started in 1972 (now in its 48th year) by the Auckland Joggers Club and was organised by Colin Kay and Eric Woods. On the 17th March, 12,000 participants showed up for the inaugural event, which has now become New Zealand’s largest fun run.
Very smooth once you find the place just off to the side of Victoria Park or on the day at the Information tent on Tangihua street which would be easier to find.
The event is organised into five categories by different coloured race bibs.
Elite Wheelchair athletes – Yellow
Seeded runners – Green
Runners – Blue
Joggers – Red
Walkers, Pram Pushers – Purple
Is an 8.4km point to point event taking in the Auckland coastline and being practically flat all the way. The start line is on Quay Street behind Spark Arena and participants run through Judges Bay, Hobson Point, Okahu Bay, Mission Bay, Kohimarama Beach, finishing in St. Heliers Bay and the Vellenoweth Green.
Before the race start, they presented the nominated four deserving charities with cheques from the funds raised from the event. Then Olympic canoeing champion, Lisa Carrington, lead the official warm-up. The event started at 9.30 am with the starting air horn. All sorts of bands lined the course providing rousing entertainment for the participants from hot Brazilian rhythms, pipe bands, lion dancers, DJs, and a Fashion Police commentary team as well as local radio stations. There were also other entertainers in the form of three stilt walkers, Austin Powers and Wonder Woman, to name a few.
A giant power mister cannon, support crew on a hose and a mist tent from a local music station, all provided ways of cooling down while on the way to the finish line. Drink stops were plentiful with tables of layered cups of water.
Extra-large Km’s to go signs marking the course the entire way from start to finish.
The collection of finisher medals was not on the finish line, which is an excellent idea with so many people crossing the line, but off the road in the park after the bottled water tables. Exiting the park you either made your way to Madills Park for the after event festivities or to the shuttle buses back into the city.
The Highlight For Me.
Getting a high five from a stilt walker – that’s never happened in an event before for obvious reasons.
Event Stats for 2020
Entrants = 34,380 plus 1 wheelchair racer
Finishers = 24,257 plus 1 wheelchair racer
1st Male = 00:26:44
1st Female = 00:29:55
Avg. time = 00:36:15
$286,668 raised for charity
The Bling (Medal).
Nice medal for everyone who crossed the finish line after completing the 8.4 km event. On the back is a place to put an iTAB medal engraving insert. What is iTAB, you ask? iTAB is a personalised medal insert engraved with your name and finishing time – an excellent way to celebrate and remember your achievement in the future.
I loved this event and would do it again, for sure. The whole event for me was very smooth and I can’t think of a single thing that would make it even better apart from being free, which of course defeats the purpose of giving to the charities involved. We did see a lot of runners taking a shortcut through a park and not staying on the road, but as there are no race placings for the run, they are only cheating themselves. So all up I’ll give the 2020 Ports of Auckland Round the Bays event a firm 9 Running Shoes out of 10.