Over 100 children will line up this Sunday(October 23) alongside the adult competitors for the first race of Cromwell’s long-running five-event series.
The Cromwell Half Marathon, 10km and Teams Relay has attracted close to 250 entries and more were expected on the day, organiser Terry Davis of Highland Events said yesterday.
“It’s great to see so many kids taking part again in the relay section, there seems to be a lot of very sport-orientated kids in this town.”
Starting at 10am, the event kicks off the Bike It Now! Cromwell Summer Series which has been running for over twenty years.
Second is the Bannockburn Gutbuster mountain bike race on November 26. Mr Davis said this would have a new team relay section to allow people who were perhaps not “super fit” to take part in the iconic 75km event through the Nevis Valley.
“The solo ride is very scenic but it’s a good honest effort, really only suitable for fit riders that are firmly in the ‘keen as mustard’ category. The relay will be perfect for a group of friends to mix a bit of four wheel driving and mountain-biking and share the rigours of the Gutbuster”.
Highland Events were contracted by the Cromwell & Districts Promotion Group earlier this year to run the two events.
Veteran athlete and sports administrator Bill Godsall has taken on the running of the last three events in the series, the XS Storage Cromwell Bannockburn Mountain Bike Classic on 30 December, Golden Gate Lake Dunstan Triathlon on January 2 and Lake Dunstan Cycle Challenge on January 8.
The Bannockburn event now has four categories with something suitable for all abilities and ages, Mr Godsall said. A new 56km adventure mountain bike course had been added this year to challenge more experienced riders.
Registrations for this Sunday’s Half Marathon and 10km begin at 8.30am at the Cromwell Sports Club on Barry Avenue and motorists are asked to watch out for runners around the streets until about 12.30pm. Barry Avenue will be closed to traffic from 9.50am to 10.10am as the race begins.
“We would love to have lots of spectators come out and give all the kids – and adults - some encouragement during the race and come and join us at the prize-giving at 1pm”, Mr Davis said.
Judges Annemarie Hope-Cross and Eric Schusser had the unenviable task of choosing our winners. Thank-you to everyone that entered, there was a huge range of styles but all showed various aspects of what is special about our region. We will be sharing more of the photos over the coming weeks.
It was Chris Jones' image(above) of a starry sky that won the judges' hearts for first prize. Chris is a regular visitor to Cromwell, has family here and took the photo while on holiday in Bannockburn.
"We felt this was technically well done, with good use of lines leading to the home, well processed and a lovely expression of a star lit evening," Annemarie said.
Chris is looking forward to his 45 minute helicopter flight with Heliview Flights on his next visit.
Second prize winner Peter Hoskin grew up in Omakau and now lives in Auckland but regularly visits family here. Melanie Keele, whose image came third, lives with her family - the subjects of her image - in Cromwell. The pair will receive hampers from Jones Orchard and Ritchies Gully Store. Melanie's two daughters, Amber and Jasmine, very much enjoy spending time around the lakeshore, she said. The family's love of the area was certainly captured in her image.
Highly commended were fellow Cromwell residents Mary McKenzie and Sam McIntosh. Sam's image of the Cromwell Heritage Precinct was taken on an iPhone.
The competition, organised by the Cromwell & Districts Promotion Group, attracted 28 entries, all of a high standard.
Native flora in olive greens and browns, lichen-covered rocks, cruising Karearea and the odd rabbit inhabit the steep mountainsides above Tarras Vineyards.
Owner Hayden Johnston has a passion for this rugged and difficult place…the dramatic canyons, the eye-wateringly beautiful vistas. A passion, it turns out, that has caused him a few sleepless nights of late. The former-chartered accountant recently hatched a plan to create a unique wine tasting and function venue high on this hill, to allow others to experience what has so inspired him.
At Cromwell’s swish motor racing and tourist facility, Highlands Motorsports Park, a resource consent issue had caused the closure of a popular restaurant adjacent to the park entry.
“I was having a coffee with Luke the Scottish manager there at The Nose and he said the place was closing and the building was going to be dismantled. Before I finished my coffee I had decided I was going to move it and that I had just the spot,” Hayden said.
Two spots emerged as the plan developed, the other being at Earnscleugh near Clyde. As the logistics of moving the monster became clear, a narrow bridge across the Clutha River ruled that one out.
Now that the two day transportation operation, possibly New Zealand’s largest and trickiest, is behind him, Hayden can safely say it was meant to be. The building’s curved roof and perfectly matching colours have allowed it to blend remarkably well into its surroundings. Even the locals say they really have to know where to look to spot it on its high perch, surrounded by nature’s landscaping.
“I don’t think I could have paid an architect to design a better building for this site. I’m very aware of the environment, we are right next to a DoC site here but it’s very suitable and just blends in.”
At 16.7m(four lanes) wide and 22m long, road signs had to be pulled out and traffic cleared as it made its carefully orchestrated way up the highway. Remote controlled steering, hydraulically-tilting wheels and the impressive skills - and courage - of the Fulton Hogan transportation crew allowed Hayden’s idea to become a reality.
The interior fittings and appliances later arrived by shipping container and all is quickly being reconstructed by a team of builders who have probably the most scenic smoko spot in the country.
Food and Wine at Altitude
Originally from Dunedin and of Ngai Tahu descent, Hayden moved from crunching numbers into the wine industry in 2002. Tarras Vineyards, once part of Bendigo Station, sits on a terrace above the river valley. It’s a fairly small block at 3.5ha and is an organically managed, boutique, hands-on operation.
“On very good years, only when I think it’s going to be worthy of a gold medal, we make a single vineyard Pinot Noir here called The Canyon. Every time, it has won multiple Gold Medals. The 2009 vintage won the international Pinot Noir trophy at Decanter Asia Wine Awards… judged better than the regional winner from Burgundy in France.”
In addition the vineyard sources fruit from other growers for Alexandra-based, French winemaker Antony Worch to create Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris blends. These are eventually sent to fine dining restaurants and retail outlets throughout Australia and Asia. Tarras Vineyards also produces a complex Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough.
Hayden looks forward to being able to host wine industry colleagues for tastings at the new venue which will be called Tarras Vineyards The Canyon.
“We can start to have fun with it, invite our customers over and have wine events here. I have an idea to have lovely big double-glazed cedar doors opening up at the front to take in the views.”
Never short on ideas, Hayden also plans to add a mezzanine floor to the building and open the whole floor space up to allow large groups of people to be catered for. Four hundred square metres should do it for the weddings and big functions he has in mind.
Then there’s the celebrity chef idea…cooking demonstrations in a fully commercial kitchen with groups of guests.
A second chunk of building, a movie theatre which is thankfully much smaller – will be on its way up the hill once its platform has been prepared. This will sit behind the main building and be accessed down a natural pathway between huge rocky outcrops.
The plan is to be operational by late summer, Hayden says, and the builders are not mucking around. Already the layout is taking shape in the opened up interior only a few short weeks after the building arrived.
“We’re not starting from scratch, we’re just reassembling.”