Organisers of the Pat Farry Trust Fun Run / Walk held in Rotorua on Saturday 16 March are thrilled that local support has resulted in the event doubling in size and participation since its first outing in 2012. The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Fun Run/Walk is held in association with the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network’s (NZRGPN) annual conference which was in Rotorua, 13-17 March this year.

Of the 180 entrants, more than half came from Rotorua and the wider Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions while the other entrants had come from all over New Zealand for the conference. In 2012, the event’s inaugural year, there were 70 participants.

Led by Lady Kuia Morrison more than 180 runners and walkers, old and young, local and visitor turned out for the 2013 Pat Farry Trust Fun Run Walk credit Dee Duncan

Rotorua as well as national and regional business backed the event resulting in the sponsor and supporter base growing from seven in 2012 to 17 in 2013. Primary sponsor Southern Cross Primary Care was joined by Rotorua businesses the Lone Star Rotorua, QE Health, Te Puia, Skyline Rotorua, The Outdoorsman, Waikuta Massage Clinic, Revive and Restore Massage (Taupo), The Breeze, Events & Venues Rotorua, Sports Bay of Plenty and Advocate Print.

Mayor Kevin Winters and Lady Kuia Morrison joined the 2.5km walk and 5 km run. Lady Kuia a passionate walker and inspirer of others to ‘put your health first’ entered the event’s largest team. In welcoming the participants, Mayor Kevin Winters, a dairy farmer before taking public office, commented on the value of the rural General Practitioner and other rural healthcare services to rural communities.

Dr Aniva Lawrence from Northland brought together a team of colleagues - credit Dee Duncan

Sue Farry from the Pat Farry Trust thanked both the NZRGPN conference and the local community for their support saying ”we came to Rotorua as unknowns and you have embraced us”.

“Your support of this event and the work of the Pat Farry Trust will ultimately contribute to the quality of rural health services in all regions of New Zealand.”

The annual Fun Run/Walk aims to increase awareness about the value of rural general practice and the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust’s work while bringing health care professionals and their communities together in a healthy way for a good cause”, said John Farry, chairman of the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust.

A Father and son team competing in their first ever Fun Run complete it together - credit Dee Duncan

The event faces the challenge that it is in a different location annually and heavily reliant upon participation by conference goers and building relationships with the local community. Another challenge is having no control on the date. The Pat Farry Trust Fun Run / Walk was one of many outdoor offerings in Rotorua this weekend.

Organiser Sarah Swale said that the Trust awaits word on where the conference and therefore the Pat Farry Trust Fun Run / Walk will be in 2014. However, it is highly likely that the event will return to Rotorua in the future.

A team of 10 Rural Women NZ members competed, some entering such an event for the first time. credit Dee Duncan

“Thank you for all your support Rotorua. We leave Rotorua thrilled that the 2013 Pat Farry Trust Fun Run / Walk was a success and looking forward to returning in the future,” said Ms Swale.