By CASS MARRETT
It’s full steam ahead for Kingston’s Race the Train this Saturday, when runners will try to beat a slowed-down Kingston Flyer.
Organiser Adrian Bailey says the event ran successfully in 2012 and 2013, but hasn’t run since.
‘‘Sadly, the owner of the train at the time here in Kingston passed away in early ‘14, and the train was out of action for many years,’’ Bailey says.
‘‘When I knew it was going to be back in action, I thought, ‘hey, let’s see if there’s any interest [in the race]’, and fortunately, there was.’’
This year, in addition to the original 5km and 12km races, a 24km ‘‘out and back’’ course has been added so runners can race the train from Kingston to Fairlight and back again.
He’s ‘‘quietly confident’’ there’ll be a good turnout, including locals and runners from Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.
But planning events in today’s climate is challenging, and entries will be available on the day, he says.
‘‘We’ve seen so many times over the last few years when events have been on the cards or rescheduled, and then all of a sudden, something happens … it’s gotten to the stage now where basically people are so reluctant to enter events, regardless of how unique or novel or whatever appeal they have.’’
It’s an event close to home for Bailey, originally from North Wales, where his running club has been hosting the original Race the Train for about 40 years.
The last one he ran in Wales, before coming to New Zealand, he won.
‘‘I was overwhelmed, I was over the moon, I mean, it’s an event that I wanted to win for many years and tried.
‘‘For me to be coming to NZ a couple of months later, it was something I was really stoked to be able to achieve.’’
But you won’t see him running the trail this Saturday as he’ll have his hands full working behind the scenes.
‘‘Nowadays I get just as much of a kick [out of other] people’s achievements.’’