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Community spirit keeps Round Raro alive

Friday 24 September 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Other Sports, Sports


Community spirit keeps Round Raro alive
Overwhelming local support and generous event sponsorship has meant the annual Round Raro Road Race stays alive with the 44th instalment of the event running this Saturday, September 25. SUPPLIED/21092308

Strengthening community spirit is the main focus behind the Round Rarotonga Road Race running this Saturday.

For the second year in a row the event is purely local - and once again strong community support with over 300 registrations is causing much excitement among work places and social groups and keeping the event alive marking 44-years of running around Raro.

Leading the team spirit charge is Round Rarotonga Road Race loyal sponsor Bank South Pacific who provide both funding and enthusiasm with nearly 40 staff signed up to run, walk and ura their way across the finish line.

BSP country manager David Street and 2020 Round Raro winner is back on the start line again this year – and this time he has some interesting competition including Kiwi visitors happily marooned in paradise.

Twenty hardy men and women will line up at 5.30am to race the 31km course round the island joined by the first runners of the 31k-by-3-member relay category which has attracted eight teams to take on this new and exciting category.

With over 280 runners and walkers taking part in the popular 10km race starting at 7.30am from the Bahai Centre in Muri, its sure to be a colourful and energetic affair.

Further sponsorship through Tourism Cook Islands helps keep the event alive which normally generates the majority of its funding through international registration fees that have exceeded 600 participants in the pre-pandemic era.

Profits generated through the event go towards Athletic Cook Islands junior athletics development normally in the form of sending youth athletes to compete at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships in December.

Sinai Hall in Avarua is race central this weekend and finish line for the Round Raro Road Race.

This area will be closed to traffic from 4am on Saturday morning and ensuring our roads are safe for runners, Cook Islands Police will escort runners around on Saturday morning.

Event heroes, the Cook Islands Girl Guides Association continue their 15 plus years of service for the annual race manning 11 water station stops around the island to keep the runners and walkers hydrated.

Also, on the road to keep an eye on all race athletes is the First Aid team from Cook Islands Red Cross and with top-up vouchers sponsored by Red Cross ensuring organisers have clear lines of communications throughout the event.

If you are heading to the early morning markets on Saturday – please drive safely around athletes who will be running anti-clockwise from Avarua heading west through Arorangi to Takitumu and back to Avarua. 

Event management team from the Turama Pacific Travel Group’s Destination Management Cook Islands (DMCK) department would like to thank the enthusiastic support shown from all sectors of the community from friends’ groups, government and private companies to sports groups who registered for the event.

Unfortunately, a strict cut-off date for registrations have meant some were unable to officially register for the event with focus for management now on delivering a top standard event that has drawn hundreds from across the globe to enjoy running in paradise – the same high standard event being delivered for our pure local event.

To avoid the disappointment of missing out by not registering on time – next year’s Round Rarotonga Road Race date has been tentatively set for Saturday 24 September 2022.

Meanwhile – supporters are welcome to the Sinai Hall race central to cheer on runners and walkers crossing the finish line where there will be a QR scanning device for everyone to tag in.

- Oro Takapini