The event is run by local volunteers. In total 200 locals help out to make this event happen! We recently sat down with Kevin McCashin who is one of the course managers to find out what happens behind the scenes.
Who you are, a bit about yourself?
A local man who has spent a lifetime competing, coaching, refereeing and helping at many different sports.
How long have you been involved in Great Forest Events?
I ran the half marathon in each of the first 4 years of the Great Forest Events then became an official timekeeper when we had to manually time and record all of the competitors across the line. Since then I have run the half marathon 6 more times with the volunteers the week before the race and then helped on the Saturday with the official event. Five years ago I was probably conned into joining the organising committee and am still there.
What does your role entail?
Along with Kevin Chapman I am half of the course director group. We plan the courses for the marathon, half marathon, 10 and 5 kilometer events. To ensure each course is accurately measured we use GPS and mark every kilometer for each course. Several times a year I bike or run around all parts of the courses checking conditions in case any parts of the course become unusable. The day before the event we mark out the courses with arrows and kilometer markers and water stops. I am the race starter and while the events are happenning we are in communication with officials on the course and take the first aiders out to collect any injured competitors. Then when everyone has finished we go back round the course picking up all of our signs and hopefully no rubbish that people have left in the forest.
Funny moments from Great Forest Events?
Running over a sandhill in the first event where for every step forward you ran you slipped backwards downhill by half a stride. Getting the truck stuck in soft sand while cleaning up the course. Realising while putting out the 9km marker that we will need to back 1km along a narrow forest track because we missed putting out the 8km marker.
Why should people sign up and take part in the event?
Our event is the original NZ off road marathon and has ideal running conditions. It is sheltered from the wind from any direction, there is far less rain likely by the beach and the surface is more forgiving than hard roads.
What do you enjoy most from being apart of the event?
It is very satisfying watching over 3000 people of various fitness levels enjoying the fellowship and competitive aspects of our event.
Would you encourage others to help out?
We need over 100 people to help on the day so any offers of help are welcome. Without volunteer helpers the event would not happen. Then we would disappoint the 3000 plus people who enjoy our events.
If you or your workplace would like to enter the Great Forest Events to see what all the fuss is about visit the Great Forest Events website www.greatforest.org.nz for more information or to register. What are you waiting for? Just imagine yourself running through the forest and feeling a great sense of achievement as you cross the finish line, sign up today!