Auckland secondary students at low decile schools will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Olympic Games triathlete Hayden Wilde, through financial support from Ports of Auckland Round the Bays.

The iconic Kiwi fun run celebrates 50 years this year, and to mark the milestone it has created a Youth Sports Fund of $50,000 – donating $10,000 for five years to enhance young people’s health and fitness ambitions.

Round the Bays has named Hillary Outdoors as its first recipient and the $10,000 cash boost will be used to offer two low-decile Auckland schools the first step towards the North Island Regionals of the Hillary Challenge, through a two-day training camp for Year 11-13 students. The fund will also cover the cost of entering the North Island Regionals for the two teams of 20. 

“Ports of Auckland Round the Bays brings Kiwis together and has helped fulfill the fitness goals of hundreds of thousands of people, across many generations. So to celebrate the 50th year we wanted to leave a legacy that would be felt in another 50 years,” Henry McLernon, Round the Bays Event Director says.

“Hillary Outdoors is a charitable trust that also aspires to help people achieve their goals and it was a natural choice to be the recipient of our first-ever Youth Sports Fund. That Hillary Outdoors is also celebrating 50 years in 2022 made it even more fitting.”

Two low decile schools will be chosen by Hillary Outdoors, providing 8 competitors and 2 reserves in each team, a weekend bootcamp that covers all facets of the national competition.

It is an event that can be transformational, says Wilde, who earned a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games this year. At age 14, he was a member of the Trident High School team that made the national finals in 2012, and he competed again at Tongariro in 2014.

“Hillary Outdoors cemented my love for racing,” Wilde says. “I hope it spurs on the participants as much as it did me.”

Each regional event sees up to 240 students from Year 11 – 13, competing as a team in running/trekking, mountain biking and rogaining as well as teamwork and problem solving tasks.

“People are empowered to do extraordinary things by growing through adventure and connecting through participation. So we are incredibly grateful to have been chosen to receive this first-ever fund,” Hillary Campbell, Chief Executive of Hillary Outdoors, says.

“All youth, regardless of their finances or ability, should have an equal opportunity to enhance their lives through outdoor education and active recreation,” 

The 50th Round the Bays will be held on March 6, 2022, and it is open to all ages, with people wanting to achieve personal best times through to work teams and walkers in fancy dress. Limited-edition tee shirts, commemorative medals and personalised participant bibs are just some of the ways to celebrate the milestone.

The first Round the Bays had 792 registered participants and is now New Zealand’s largest fun run with tens of thousands of people taking part in the 8.4km course that starts at Ports of Auckland and follows the harbour side through to Vellenoweth Green at St Heliers.

To register go to Round the Bays.

To register your school for the Round the Bays Sports Youth Fund go to Hillary Outdoors.