Inaugural half marathon honours memory of a humble, brave man
New Plymouth's Nicky Smith is in preparation mode organising the upcoming Cape Egmont Half Marathon.
New Plymouth's Nicky Smith says she's never organised a major event in her life.
Driven by the memory of her good mate Andrew Smith, the mother-of-two turned her idea for a new road-running event to raise money for the Taranaki Cancer Society into a reality.
On July 15, road runners and walkers will converge on the coastal town of Okato to compete in the inaugural The Cape Egmont Half.
Nicky joined the Energy City Harriers a few years back after returning to Taranaki from Auckland and Andrew was among the first to make her feel really welcome.
"We just became really really good mates," Nicky said.
"Andy was a quietly spoken guy. He had a great sense of humour and was an awesome friend."
Nicky lost her dad to cancer in 2014 and then Andrew lost his battle with a brain tumour in December of 2016.
Having lost two people Nicky said she 'just sort of came up with the idea' for the half marathon.
"I sat on it for a quite while thinking I might be a little bit crazy, can I even pull this off?
"One-by-one I sort of broached my friends and said 'well, look, what do you think?
"And they all came on board."
For the past few months Chris Jones, Steve Dickson, Carol Watson, and Glenda Gray, along with Nicky have been organising the new event set to hit the region's half marathon circuit.
Nicky chose the race's scenic route that kicks off from the cul de sac on Main South Rd across from the Okato swing bridge then winds on to Carthew St along Oxford Rd to Wiremu, from there to Newall Rd, then down to Surf Highway 45 to Bayly Rd, finishing at the Cape Egmont Boat Club.
"From growing up on the coast I've seen it's beautiful out there and that's always home to me.
"I am hoping it will become an annual event I'd really love that.
"Anyone and everyone - they all get a medal at the end for participating."
Nicky is preparing for the day to be quite emotional.
"Andy didn't have just one brain surgery, he had two, and between times he'd run marathons and half marathons and was always positive."
Nicky said the quietly spoken man was humble and his inner strength was amazing.
"To this day I take my hat off to him."
Nicky said holding the event on Andrew's birthday felt right, in more ways than one. Being within the running fraternity she didn't want to step on anyone's toes by organising the half marathon to overlap with existing events. July is also part way through harrier season and Nicky said most harriers would be reasonably fit by then.
"Also it's winter and hopefully it's an event where people can think - that's my goal for winter."
For more information contact Nicky Smith 0211473567 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Egmont half marathon in memory of keen runner
13 Jun, 2018 3:00pm
2 minutes to read
Cape Egmont Half Marathon organiser Nicky Smith.
Those participating in the Cape Egmont Half Marathon next month run in memory of a humble man.
New Plymouth mother Nicky Smith is behind the event on July 15 to honour her friend Andrew Smith who died of a brain tumour in 2016.
The event will also raise money for the Taranaki Cancer Society.
Nicky says Andrew was a great bloke who loved running in events and is fondly remembered by many people.
He was a much-loved member of the New Plymouth Walkers and Joggers Group as well as the Energy City Harriers.
"He was just a quiet humble fellow and genuine great bloke."
Nicky joined the Harriers after moving to Taranaki from Auckland and says Andrew was among the first to make her feel welcome.
She says Andrew was a real trooper, having gone through several surgeries to remove tumours.
Throughout this he remained positive and even competed in races after major surgeries. The cancer came back in 2016 and Andrew was told it could not be operated on.
"For me it's about doing something for people who are going through a cancer battle."
Walkers and runners can enter the 21km event by themselves or in a team of two. Starting in Okato on Old South Road near the swing bridge, competitors will then head to Oxford Road, along Saunders, Wiremu and Newall roads and then onto Bayley Road to finish at the lighthouse .
Nicky, who has been organising the event along with a wider committee, says money raised will go towards something practical for the Cancer Society — perhaps some gear to help rehabilitate cancer patients.
She is looking forward to the day, which will bring back a lot of great memories .
"It will be a great event. Andrew would have loved it."
To enter go to www.capeegmonthalf.com