Southlanders come out to compete and play

Southland's annual Surf to City a success

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 10/02/2014

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While some strolled over the finish lines, others crawled, but all of them had a smile.

It was a weekend of events in Southland, from tests of endurance in the Surf to City and Stump the Hump in Tuatapere to teddy bear picnics in the sunshine in Queens Park.

Thousands of people lined the start line at Oreti Beach for the annual Surf to City, some with tinsel in their hair, others kitted out in their biking apparel.

Sport Southland events manager Matt Sillars said the event was a huge success. With just under 3000 people taking part and perfect weather, it made for an excellent day, he said.

"It went really well, perfect day of course and it finished early, too."

With only a few medical emergencies and no bike crashes, most people finished with a smile on their face, he said.

An ambulance communications spokeswoman said only one person was taken to hospital and that person had chest pains.

Southland man Matt King took out the event as the first runner home, a stark contrast to when he last competed in the race as a 10-year-old on his bike.

Mr King, who is based in Leeds, England, to further his triathalon career, said he had spent the past four days in bed recovering from injury before the race, not sure whether or not he would be able to compete. But he gave it a shot, and it paid off, he said.

"It was awesome."

He completed the 12km in about 43 minutes.

The first female runner home was Tanya Dromgool, who finished in about 48 minutes.

She was "pretty pleased" with her efforts and said the day's conditions had been perfect for the race. While most just aimed to finish the event and cross the line still smiling, three territorial army members had all the survival gear they could need to get to the park.

Glen Ballam was one of three territorial soldiers who packed their bags for the race.

He was carrying more than 15kg during the event, but said it had been "pretty enjoyable".

But it was not just competitors in the Sport Southland event enjoying the weather, hundreds buckled up their cowboy boots and saddled up their horses for the Southland Rodeo.

Fitness buffs also tested their mettle during the renowned Stump the Hump which began at midnight.

While some competitors nursed blisters and sore muscles yesterday, only six people had to be airlifted to the end of the race after several sprained ankles and a few tired bodies.

Hump Ridge Track operations manager Malcolm Darlison said the endurance walk was a huge success, with all sorts of people lining up for one of the 250 spots in the race.

Sixteen-year-old Tom Slee was the youngest competitor and also took out first place.

The oldest person to complete the race was 82, Mr Darlison said.

Some chose more relaxing activities for the weekend.

Many Southlanders shopped up a storm at The Southland Times Homeshow.

Others enjoyed the sunshine in South City at the Summer Sounds concert.

For most, though, it was a weekend to finally enjoy the summer sunshine.

Temperatures soared throughout the south, hitting the mid 20s in most locations.

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- The Southland Times

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