Round The Bridges: 'Bridesmaid' finally fastest home
Thousands of runners and walkers took to the streets of Hamilton yesterday to compete in the 68th annual Round The Bridges event.
Competitors participated in a 2km, 6km or 12km race and began in Garden Place, before heading down to the Fairfield bridge and looping their way back to the starting point.
Numbers were up by more than 500 on last year's race, with more than 4800 competitors including 600 children.
Though dark clouds threatened in the early morning, the skies cleared for the event and, aside from a couple of gusty winds, runners were treated to a sunny day.
Third-time Round the Bridges runner Steve O'Callaghan of Rotorua was the first man home in a time of 37 minutes 43 seconds.
He said he has been "two times the bridesmaid", winning silver in two previous years, but took the glory with thousands cheering him on along the way.
And the female champion was Lisa Robertson, who crossed the finish line with the impressive time of 42m49s.
Fonterra once again took out the business challenge.
Other competitors included dogs, a zombie and even a man dressed in a chicken suit.
Alan Gregory from Hamilton said running in the chicken costume was sweltering hot. "I'm never going to run it in a good time so I may as well make them laugh. It's just fun making people smile," he said.
Event manager Tanya Wakefield said the day had been fantastic and that their goal this year was to think about the environment.
"We're trying to be more sustainable with the things that we do," she said.
The race produces waste of 25,000 used cups and more than 5000 banana skins, but to combat landfill overuse, organisers have switched to bio-cups.
The cups are made from biodegradable materials, right down to the ink that is printed on them, and will be recycled by nurseries around the region who will use them for seedling pots.
The first Round the Bridges was held in 1945 and had just 20 competitors, and past winners include Peter Snell, John Davies, Dick Quax and Lorraine Moller.
Money raised from the event again goes to the McKenzie Centre, for children with special needs.