The iconic Round The Bridges took place in Hamilton on Sunday, November 13. More than 6000 runners, walkers and wheelchair users participated in the annual fun run, which included 12km, 6km and 2km events.
Among them were Hamilton City Hawks runner, Jai Davies-Campbell, and Waikato Wheelchair basketballer, Maioro Barton. Fitness Journal caught up with them to get their take on the event.
This was 25-year old Jai’s first attempt at Round the Bridges, since he last did the 2km back in Intermediate school. He finished an impressive third in the highly-competitive 12km ‘legends race’ behind, Jonny McKee and John Mering, who were first and second respectively.
Why did you decide to do Round the Bridges?
It was kind of an internal competition between my flat mate, Tim Stewart, and a friend, John Mering. We really wanted to have a hit out between us three, and the losers would have to supply the other guy with a box of beers. Just a bit of fun. Unfortunately Tim pulled out before the race because he has had some hip injuries. John and I battled it out for what felt like an eternity, but really it was only the first half. He pulled away and got me by about 30 seconds in the end.
What training did you do to prepare for the race?
The generic training we are doing at the moment is probably between two and three runs a week. It is not that great. There would be a speed session, an endurance session, and then a tempo. Just three easy sessions, but it is enough for my body to recover.
What were your expectations going into the race?
I really wanted to go top five. I think that is always a good goal to have, especially if you are at a level where you should be competitive. And then the main goal was just to beat John and Tim, but that wasn’t to be. I didn’t really have a time in mind, because I had never run that course before. But I look forward to beating my time next year convincingly.
What do you think of the course?
The course was outstanding. I don’t think we have too many road runs like that. It has a good combination of undulation and sharp, short, steep hills, especially along the river. There is a lot to think about. It is not boring. It reminds me more of a cross-country on a road. That’s what it feels like, and I love that.
At this year’s Round The Bridges Maioro took a significant 10-minutes off his 2014 time. He completed the 6km hilly course in his wheelchair in 44-minutes. Next time he wants to go one better and break 40-minutes.
Why did you decide to do Round The Bridges?
I had been speaking with the organisers of the event to try implement strategies to make it more accessible for wheelchair users, to allow them to do the whole rou te independently. They suggested that I do the 6km to see what they had implemented for wheelchair users. Next year some further changes will hopefully be in place, as options for both wheelchair users and parents pushing prams.
How did you prepare for the event?
Well I’ve not long finished the New Zealand Wheelchair Basketball Season, which I do a lot of cardio for wheeling myself around the streets of Cambridge and on the basketball court, so I still had a pretty decent fitness base from that. I just maintained it by continuing going to the gym and doing high rep circuits, as well as the occasional cardio session along the streets of Cambridge where I live.
What were the highlights of the event for you?
Being able to take part in an inclusive event with my friends and the community is always great. The support of other people competing was great, and the encouragement from spectators along Victoria Street towards the finish line was amazing. When I was feeling tired their cheers helped me dig deep to finish strong.
From the organiser’s perspective
There were several high points on the day for Round The Bridges event manager, Amanda Till:
“We loved this year’s event… the whole day was spectacular, even the sun came out for event day! There were so many wonderful highlights, from receiving the highest number of online registrations we’ve ever had and record numbers in the 2km Kids Challenge, to small details like getting kids names and schools printed onto their race numbers.
“It was so great being able to witness the special finish line moments – the joy, the exhaustion and celebrations. These moments are the true highlights of the event.”