Long ago, the Pouto lighthouse helped captains navigate the dangerous harbour bar. It was a light in the dark, which told them to be ready for the challenge.
Now, this icon of the coastline is set to be a navigation point for a new adventure — a run, walk and cycle challenge set against a backdrop of amazing scenery — and it’s all for a good cause.
The annual Pouto Lighthouse Challenge kicks off on Saturday, February 9, in the cool of the morning at 8.30 am. Competitors will make their way around the rugged headland, which frames the north of the Kaipara harbour mouth. It’s 18 kilometres of sand and seaside, to be tackled either on foot or two wheels by pedal power, starting from the Waikaretu Marae and reaching as far as the lighthouse.
Event organisers expect another stunning year, building on previous successes. While this event is all about fitness and health — getting outdoors with friends and family to enjoy the outdoors — it’s also a fundraiser for the Cancer Society, who do such good work in the community. Event founder, Josephine Nathan, envisioned a way for people to appreciate the wild grandeur of the coast, a way to promote fitness and activity, and a way to bring the community together. All these aims and more have been achieved, with the addition of a big boost for the Cancer society’s assistance to families in need.
This year it’s easy to get involved, both for adults and kids — for whom there is a shorter four-kilometre course as an option. Visit poutolighthousechallenge.co.nz to sign up, and get your bike or running shoes ready for some fun! All of this would not be possible without the kind support of the event’s many local sponsors, or the hospitality of the Waikaretu Marae who are proud to host this event putting their beautiful corner of the Kaipara in the spotlight.