Live Ocean Foundation chosen charity as part of legacy event’s ‘wai’ theme
Southern Cross Round the Bays has added a new element to the iconic event – introducing annual themes that will elevate the uniqueness of the hugely-popular fun run.
Round the Bays 2024, presented by Stuff, will be the first, with the theme “wai” – te reo Māori for water – to acknowledge the unique course that takes in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s harbour waters.
And in keeping with all things wai, Round the Bays 2024 will raise money for a New Zealand charity that works to scale up science, innovation and outreach for a healthy ocean – Live Ocean Foundation, launched four years ago by sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
“The scenic route from the CBD through the bays to St Heliers is our wai, our water. And it is also what has made the course so popular, it’s our why,” Ruth Montgomerie, Stuff Event manager, says. “So we have chosen Live Ocean Foundation to be a charity partner for our 53rd Round the Bays. We are a legacy event that has been around for generations, and Live Ocean wants to protect our waters for future generations. It’s a perfect partnership.” Live Ocean Foundation founder, Peter Burling said the charity is stoked to be chosen as official charity partner: “The platform of sport is a powerful way to bring more people together around important issues, so it’s awesome for Live Ocean to be the official charity partner of this iconic event as we ask people to Run4TheGulf.”
Co-founder Blair Tuke says Live Ocean Foundation partners with New Zealand marine scientists, innovators and communicators to scale up action for a healthy ocean, and 100 percent of the funds raised by team Live Ocean runners will go to project partners doing vital work in the Hauraki Gulf.
“The Waitematā and Hauraki Gulf used to be one of the great coastal ecosystems of the world and it’s heart-breaking to see the state it’s in. We’d love to see people really come around the ambition to reverse this by showing their support as they take part.”
Southern Cross Round the Bays has been instrumental in raising more than $3.32 million in the past 20 years alone, through participant sponsorship – peer-to-peer fundraising – and donations from Stuff. As the official charity Live Ocean Foundation will receive $25,000 in cash plus a $50,000 Stuff media package.
Live Ocean Foundation chief executive Sally Paterson says participants will be helping to shine a spotlight on the need for ocean action in the Hauraki Gulf. “For years thousands of Kiwis have taken part in Round the Bays, set against the stunning backdrop of the Watiematā Harbour in the Hauraki Gulf. Below the waterline it’s a different story, and the theme of this year’s run will help bring vital attention to the urgent need to protect and restore the Gulf.”
Started in 1972, Southern Cross Round the Bays attracts tens of thousands of people from across Auckland, te motu and the globe.
Next year’s event is being held on Sunday, March 3, and participants can choose to do it their way – either being a part of the fun atmosphere and stunning scenery of Tāmaki Drive, or from wherever they are using the Southern Cross Round the Bays virtual app. “We would love people to dress up in a ‘wai’ theme and make this a truly unique Round the Bays,” Montgomerie says. “We’ve been thrilled with the number of entries already – from work teams to social groups and families. We are looking forward to making it a sea of colour.”
While for most participants, Southern Cross Round the Bays is a social event, there is an Elite Category for those who can complete 8.4km in under 36 minutes. Last year’s winner was Jacob Preddy who set a new course record with a time of 24 minutes and 48 seconds.
Southern Cross Round the Bays – Sunday, March 3 2024: Walk, jog or run 8.4km
Tāmaki Drive will become a sea of entertainment and fanfare on Sunday, March 3, 2024, culminating at the finish line at Vellenoweth Green at St Heliers. Or participants can do the virtual app version from anywhere in the world, between March 3 and March 10, 2024.
Join the Movement! Earlybird entries are open until midnight November 30, 2023
Children (5-15) $20
Infant (0-4) $5
Family packages from $95
To enter, head to: roundthebays.co.nz