Surf to City organisers mull options

    Thousands of people took part in the Surf to City event last year, which finished in Queens Park in Invercargill. Photo: File

    COVID-19 has hit another important event for Southland’s economy.

    Invercargill’s Surf to City organisers are having discussions about an alternative way to still be able to host this year’s event.

    However, it would not go ahead as planned on March 13, Active Southland communications and marketing manager Nathan Burdon confirmed on Tuesday.

    Mr Burdon said they would not be able to host the event in its usual format as the region was at Red alert under New Zealand’s traffic light settings.

    The Surf to City usually attracts about 3000 walkers, runners, and cyclists every year.

    “We obviously can’t run the event as it is and we are still looking to all options available. We haven’t ruled anything out yet,” he said.

    Organisers would have a meeting this week about the possibility of postponing the event, transforming it into a virtual event or cancelling it.

    A decision was expected to be made this week, he said.

    The ICC Surf to City is a family run, walk or cycle event which starts at Oreti Beach and finishes at Invercargill’s Queens Park. Participants could bike, walk or run 12km, 6km or 3km.

    The changes to this traditional event added another layer of pressure for the region as its premium events like this year’s Burt Munro Challenge, Southern Field Day and Bluff Oyster and Food Festival have already been cancelled.

    Mr Burdon hoped the organisation could find a plan B for the event, while keeping the community safe.