An outdoors adventure initially thought to be a “one-off” is set to return for its 15th year.
The Coastal Classic, a mountain biking, running and walking event, will be held from Taieri Mouth today.
Event co-ordinator Steve Green, a keen mountain biker, instigated the event because he thought the area was a nice place for mountain bikers to ride.
“The very first one, we just threw out a few flags and pointed everybody in the right direction and said ‘go for it’.
“I think we thought we’d do a one-off and see how we go.”
About 80 people took part and the committee “couldn’t believe we got that many”, he said.
About three years later, walking and running events were added to give people more variety and cater to what they were interested in competing in.
Each year about 370-380 people took part in a range of events.
Mountain bikers can choose between three distances – an “experience” 15km, mid-distance 30km and “tough nuts” 45km.
Runners and walkers can opt for a 5km or 12km course. There is also a 21km run.
Green said a lot had changed since the inaugural event, including the use of electronic timing and steps taken towards health and safety procedures.
One thing that has stayed the same is the use of the money raised – it goes to the Taieri Mouth community, administered by the Taieri Mouth Amenities Society.
Previously, the money has been used to buy a defibrillator, which is at the Taieri Mouth camping ground and has also been used to re-roof the community swimming pool.
The local first response group is also a regular recipient, and the money has been used to help fund its training and new equipment.
Taieri Mouth was “quite a distance” from neighbouring areas, so it was good to have a group of “enthusiastic people down there that do that”, he said.
This year, the funds will go towards picnic tables and upgrading the tennis court.
The events were an “adventure” and often took people to areas around Taieri Mouth they would not have been to otherwise.
The tracks were off-road, on beaches and through farm land.
“It’s a real experience.”