As one of Christchurch’s favourite 10k races, the Governor’s Bay to Lyttelton race has been a showcase event and an annual focus on The Methodist Harrier Club calendar.
In 1962, the Governors Bay to Lyttelton Handicap Road Race was held for the first time. The Methodist Harrier Club was the organiser of it then – and still is. It wasn’t long before it became the most popular race on the winter programme, with the entries peaking in 1985 at 597.
The first across the line in 1962, was B McLean of Rovers who ran 32.14. The distance of the race then, was 6 miles, a little less than the 10kms that it is today. Fastest time in that first race was set by J.K. MacDonald from the Olympic Club, when he did 29.14.
2011 saw the 50th running of the event, and to mark this occasion, medals were presented to every finisher. A year later, Clive Moon of the Port Hills Club, competed in the race – the first and only blind runner to do so.
Over the years, entries have fallen away quite markedly, reflecting the trend, generally, with cross country and road running, but a new approach last year, in 2017, and an injection of fresh enthusiasm saw entries rise again. Sponsorship was obtained for the first time, and flowers were presented to all the runners, courtesy of Aromaunga Baxters Flowers – a lovely gesture indeed. It would seem that the future of the race is assured for some years to come.
Bruce McCallum was the race organiser for more than 30 years, until his retirement from the race director’s position four years ago. Bruce with a team of around 40 helpers was responsible for the smooth running of the event.
Aromaunga – Baxters Flowers prove that floral displays take things one step further to make any event stand out. Their flowers have made this an iconic event to be remembered with the flower bouquets a definite highlight of the event. The Baxters grow what they sell, so they are the freshest cut-flower specialists in Christchurch.
This race has been part of the Methodist Harrier Club’s history and grown to become an iconic race for the club. The club was established in 1928 and now fosters runners, joggers and race walkers of all ages and ability – not necessarily those with a Methodist background. See more about the club here
Athletics Canterbury is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most established regional athletic organisations. The winter series of races work under the title of Canterbury Running, to collaborate and aid all local athletic clubs running events in Christchurch.