Reimagined Surf to City a great success

Fernworth Whare Pa pupils celebrate the start of their Your Surf to City, Your Way adventure on Friday. Photo: Active Southland

IT may have looked a bit different, but this year’s reimagined Your Surf to City, Your Way had hundreds of people walking, biking, or running to the finish line “their way”.

While Covid-19 restrictions forced Active Southland to rethink how it offered this year’s Surf to City, a commitment to helping the community find ways to be active regardless of the pandemic prompted some outside-the-square thinking, and Your Surf to City, Your Way was born.

Active Southland chief executive Brendon McDermott said the organisation wanted to be able to offer people something flexible that could make them happy, get them active with their friends or family, and provide a sense of achievement.

The response from the public had been fantastic, he said.

“We’ve had some terrific feedback. People have been really appreciative of being able to get out and have some fun. They really valued the flexibility of being able to choose when and how they did it, and of course, it has helped that the weather has been pretty great in the past week or so too.”

The reimagined Surf to City included the usual Invercargill City Council 12km, ILT 6km, and
Rothbury 3km options, but two finish lines were included – a south-bound track ending on the estuary walkway, and a northern track on the Waihopai walkway.

People were given the option of completing as much or as little of the distances as they liked, and in any active way they liked, during nine days.

“We’ve had people running, walking, biking, scootering. We’ve had school groups, senior walking groups, families, work colleagues. It’s been fantastic to see so many people enjoying being active together,” McDermott said.

All Fernworth Whare Pa pupils completed either the 3km or the 6km distance on Friday, along with pupils from Aurora College.

Fernworth Whare Pa teacher Claire Kelliher said being able to do the Surf to City on a school day made it a perfect opportunity to get the pupils active.

“We are always looking for ways to make our children more active and give them experiences that they may not do. Our kids loved it, some were very tired and the walk was a challenge for them, but all staff and children had a great day, we will definitely do it again.”

Completing the walk also provided a huge sense of achievement for the pupils, she said.

“The children had a sense of achievement of completing quite a long walk, a lot of children were encouraging each other, (and) the older children were a great help to the little kids.”

Other participants said they had been unaware some of the walking tracks existed and they had enjoyed trying something new, while others said it was great being able to stay active in an environment where so many other events were being cancelled.