For the 5th consecutive year, the Waipuna Conference Suites Highbrook Fun Run Walk hosted by Rotary Club of Highbrook, put on a substantial community event that brought people together socially for a great sense of accomplishment while also raising funds to help several deserving causes.
Highbrook Rotary President Ravinder leading the warmup
The Fun Run Walk 2018 is just that, loads of fun.  It brought together a wide variety of people, with a wide variety of motivations for participating, but all energised with an expectation of an enjoyable experience and the satisfaction that they would also be helping some great causes.  It is the people that make the event so great.  There is nothing so exciting as being among a large crowd of people to experience the buzz of anticipation of achieving something at least moderately challenging.  For most, traversing the course accompanied by family, friends or work colleagues adds a valued social aspect.
Like all events there is a before, a during, and an after and they all involve people working together towards a common goal.
The week’s forecast had Cyclone Gita from the Pacific heading towards New Zealand having caused devastation in Tonga.  Fortunately, the weather turned out to be fine and perfect for this event.  As usual it was a long day for the organisers who started early to set up the course and prepare to receive the entrants for the start of the several races. 
From 1pm tents and gazebos started popping up all around Highbrook Park as corporate team’s participating and sponsors put up their temporary homes in preparation for the event.  By this time the awesome flock of volunteers from near and far away were on-site and very busy.
The massive contribution of these volunteers ranged from setting up the event to helping at the registration desk, to being marshals, handing out water at the water stations, cheering the participants along, manning the BBQ (thanks to ANZ team), handing cold facecloths and drinks (thanks to Waipuna Conference Suites and their team).  One team was dedicated to setting up the water stations in preparation for the soon-to-be thirsty participants as they ran the course and given the length of the course this was a substantial tasking.
For the entrants, the registration process is necessity to get done and out of the way quickly, so the new improved straight-forward registration process was appreciated.  This has been improved a bit more each year the event has been held and opened at 4pm as entrants and their supporters began to arrive.  
The event is all about the wonderful people who come along for the experience and to support the causes. The highlight this year was the large contingent from Flat Bush Primary School in their “Flat Bush Forever” T Shirts.  There were plenty of families which certainly adds to the community feel. 
Also, the new 1km walk which was arranged specially for Healthy Hearts participants from Middlemore. It was so rewarding to see them cross the finish line and the amazing support provided by the Healthy Hearts team of supporters and volunteers.
The proceedings started with MC Jami-Lee Ross who did an awesome job in welcoming the large crowd of participants, volunteers and supporters.  In addition, there were a few special speakers we had lined up to inspire and entertain the crowd including Nelson Balisa – Senior Audiologist at Manukau Super Clinic, Banapa Avatea – Principal Flat Bush Primary School and Pam Tregonning – Middlemore Foundation’s CEO who spoke after the event.
Most importantly there was a student from Flat Bush Primary School to say a special Karakia before the start of the event, which was followed by an energetic warm up by the team from Discipline Performance Gym.  Then they were off … the pictures via the links below show this part better than words ever can.
For most the day was about enjoying themselves and just completing a course suitable to their abilities was reward and achievement enough.  However, for some there was a competitive element, and this is reflected in their times: 
  • 10 km Run - Barry Harrison time 00:43:51 (male)
  • 10km Run - Ashleigh Mullay 00:47:15 (female)
  • 5 km Run - Grant Lincoln 00:20:31 (male)
  • 5 km Run - Leah Anstis 00:24:03 (female)
  • 5 km Walk - Geoff Prebble 00:37:48(male)
  • 5 km Walk - Chantel Greyling 00:37:48 (female)
  • 10 km Run Team Cup – ANZ
  • 5 km Run Team Cup – BNZ
The Fun Run Walk was what most people related to but the second and most important aspect was how the event helped those in the community needing a helping hand. 
Over $27,000 was raised from the event to donate to organisations and charities in the local community, including the following and others to “help Youth prosper”:
  • Middlemore Foundation – to purchase an Audiostar Pro piece of equipment the will enable the testing of ears for thousands of more children a year, which will help them through their journey through life from a precious young age.
  • Flat Bush Primary School – purchase of a 3D printer or similar to help enhance technology at the school.
  • Pillars – donation of a laptop to help Pillars to spread the message to organisations and corporates of the awesome work they are doing with at risk children whose parent/s have gone to prison and helping and supporting them through the challenges they face in their life.
  • Comfort Kids – donation to help the organisation with materials to make comfort packs with all sorts of goods for children at risk and or facing challenging situations in their life.  
Thanks go to the generosity of Waipuna Conference Suites Highbrook the main sponsor and all the other sponsors and all the volunteers and supporters.  A Fun Run Walk like this only succeeds because of the ‘big hearts’ of good people and organisations who value being a part of their community and helping to make it a better one for all.  This includes the Highbrook Rotary team and their many family and friends that supported the club through the journey.  This was a tremendous job for such a small club proving that motivated people can achieve great things.  As the Times Online said, “an extremely well organised event”. Well done to all!
Please check out links below for some awesome photos of the event:
Article by Ravinder Manilal and Sarah Mannion
President and President Elect
Rotary Club of Highbrook
2017-2018 Year