Triple Peaks has enjoyed a long and successful history, ensuring it is firmly established as an iconic event for the region.
In 1989, the inaugural Triple Peaks event was launched.
A Havelock North based GP, Stuart Foote, is the original organiser of the Triple Peaks Challenge, over 33 years ago.
Dr Foote belonged to the Dawnbreakers, a group of runners who adopted the name over three decades ago to enable them to compete in endurance events around the country. Members of the group included Dr Stuart Foote, Steve Drake, Paul McIntosh, Rodney Sudfelt, Peter Bailey, Mike van Workum, Malcolm Eves, Les Cunningham and Dave Perry. The men ran at dawn for many years and in the mid-1980s they collectively came up with the name Dawnbreakers.
Mike van Workum, who was an original member of the Dawnbreakers, comments that the event was quite different in the early days.
”We used to run six days a week in preparation for marathons.’’
“In the mid to late 80s marathons were the thing, triathlons had not started then, but we preferred to run up hills rather than the flats – that was the advent of running over the peak.”
He said the initial idea of holding the event was to encourage people to get off the couch and enjoy the countryside, and the event soon expanded beyond Te Mata Peak to include Mt Erin and Mt Kahuranaki as well.
He said, being before the advent of the internet, the promotion of the event was through running clubs around the country.
“We weren’t sure how it was to be taken on by the running public and I can’t remember how many starters we had that first year, maybe about 80 doing the whole course and 100 or more as teams. “Even in the early days people came from all over, although mainly the North Island.”
“It was never a race, it was always just a challenge - the only person you were racing against was yourself.”
The Dawn Breakers organised the Peaks Challenge for years, then Steve Drake took over for three years before Bridget Robertshawe took the baton for three years. In 2007, David Tait took over the reins as the new Race Director, in conjunction with the Kiwi Adventure Trust.
30 years after the first Triple Peaks, in 2018, the event took a new direction, with organisers Richard Mills and Emma Buttle, representing the Bennelong Mountain Bike Club (BMC).
The 2022 edition farewelled Emma Buttle and welcomed Steve and Rachael Nicholls on to the organising committee.
In 2023 the event was cancelled as Cyclone Gabrielle sadly devastated the Hawke's Bay, including the Te Mata Park and surrounding area. Richard Mills and Steve and Rachael Nicholls stepped back from the organising committee and the baton was again handed over – this time to Ivar Hopman of SuperVision Sports, who will bring you a Two Peak event in 2024.