The original Kapiti Joggers set out from the Paraparaumu Football Club’s clubrooms in 1970

Back row, from the left: David Gee, Alf Fairbairn, Dave Aitchison (obscured), David Hogg (obscured), Ivan Hill, Dave Scrymgeour, Graeme Marsden and Graeme Upson. Front row: Allan McArtney, Jack Webber, Ron Bredenbeck.

Alf Fairbairn was the instigator of the Joggers in 1970, as the Paraparaumu Rugby Club had a few retired players who needed to keep fit. He arranged for Jack Opie to contact Colin Currie of the Wellington Joggers to hold a run from Otaihanga and he would arrange for locals to join the run.

"We ran from Otaihanga to Paraparaumu. Beach and back along Arawhata Rd and Ratanui Rd. Most of our group weren’t able to complete the run - I think Dave Aitchison, Ivan Hill and I were our only finishers. After that run we had weekly jogs from the Paraparaumu Rugby Rooms on Sunday mornings, finishing with tea and biscuits.

We soon gained new members especially from the banks and the Rugby club - Dave Scrymgeour and Graeme Upson were Managers of the BNZ and ANZ respectively, and encouraged staff members to run with us.

It wasn’t long before our runners were running 5 to 10 miles but we had a rule that all had to stay together until half way. After a year or so we had over 20 regulars, but no woman members for 5 years or so, I think they were too shy at that time." Alf Fairbairn

As the numbers expanded, they were joined by members of the Squash Club who originally had their own running group. Many of the people who joined in the 1980s were also harriers and orienteers.

In the early days it was very much a male domain, but gradually a few women began running with the group - the first being Megan Carter. She was later joined by Sally Ashley and Yvonne Sprey, and gradually the female membership expanded.

In the early years the group met at the Domain and used a building which would fail all earthquake standards today, affectionately known as “the Dugout”. It was located on the western edge of today’s car park. There was a shower, and the first person to arrive had the hazardous job of lighting the gas califont before the group took off, otherwise the showers would be cold!

The length of runs varied, but they were usually at least an hour. However, when the group was training for the Fletcher Marathon, or later the Palmerston North Half Marathon, the runners sometimes got as far as Queen Elizabeth Park and Waterfall Road for treks of up to two hours.

Kapiti Joggers at the Fletcher Marathon, 1982

Early on a tradition was established that is still honoured today, namely running to the top of the Maungakotukutuku Hill and back on New Year’s Day. In later years a mid-year run/walk to the top of the hill was added. On occasions, ice creams, fruit juice and even champagne were served to the runners at the summit occasionally by a fairy or Father Christmas! It was a long trek from the Domain to the top of the hill so the refreshments were always gratefully received!

Early Days of the Maungakotukutuku Run

KJW legends Arthur Foote (white top) and Peter Jeromson (red hair) feature at the front.

In the 1980s the Joggers were meeting at the Cricket Pavilion, which meant that after the run people could shower, change and head upstairs for morning tea. The practice soon developed that if someone had done a marathon or half marathon personal best (PB), they would shout morning tea. If Bernie Lake was doing the honours, he would invariably bring along delicious pavlovas which he had made himself. One person who always seemed to be able to sniff out a “shout” was Dave Kingi!

Fund raising took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s involving activities such as selling candy floss at Paraparaumu Beach, painting school buildings and selling raffle tickets. Money was used to pay for some members to compete in the City to Surf event in Sydney in the late 1970s.

Arthur Foote Life Member

Two legends emerged in the 1980s. Local tennis coach, Arthur Foote, was a key figure in the group for decades and as well a providing plenty of encouragement and advice to fellow joggers, he also actively recruited for new members. (Arthur later became the first life member.) Ultra-runner, Peter Jeromson, who also belonged to Kapiti Harriers, was active in providing training advice and wrote marathon programmes for many people undertaking their first attempt on the 42.2km distance, including a large group of attractive women members!

Many members trained for the Fletcher Marathon from the late 1970s and some big contingents – up to twenty – headed north to Rotorua early in May. The group was often joined by Kapiti Harriers. Ann Bould holds the club record for Rotorua Marathon finishes, with 14 to her credit, while Life Member Leo Rakich, completed 13 in the club colours.

In the 1980s the club would regularly hire a bus for the Palmerston North Half Marathon in September. On one occasion the bus was required to bring back the bike which Ken Elphinstone won as a spot prize.

From the 1980s the club ran The Kapiti Joggers Handicapped Half Marafun which started and finished at the Paraparaumu Domain. The course took competitors through Paraparaumu, Paraparaumu Beach, Raumati Beach, Raumati South and back along Rimu Road. It was a popular event in the Wellington area and fields of over 100 were common. Running legends such as Bernie Portenski, Colin Rolfe and Gabrielle O’Rourke were amongst those who had fastest times. Detailed planning and on-the-day organisation were required for the event, and over 40 members and volunteers were involved in handicapping, course layout, marshalling, registration, starts, timing, recording, spot prize collection and catering.

The start team at the 1997 Kapiti Joggers Half Marafun.

Left to Right: David Humfrey, Leo Rakich, Sean Shannon (Secretary for many years), Arthur Foote

It was the late Derek Rivers who created the Perpetual Motion Trophy which is annually awarded to the person considered to have made a major contribution to the KJW in the previous year. (You can only win it once!) Back in the 1990s it was given to the people who had made the biggest fool of themselves in the year gone by!

Perpetual Motion Trophy winners Mary Hadfield and Gail Daniel.

A number of women members such as Vera Manning, Sally Ashley and Pam Childs, were involved in the organisation of the early Kapiti Women’s Triathlons (KWT). Many members have competed in the KWT over the years, most notably Sally Ashley and Ann Bould.

For many years male members marshalled the KWT 5km run. One was policeman, Steve Sargent. On one occasion an angry motorist complained about being held up and threatened to call the police. Steve responded – "I am the police!"

Walkers began to feature in the early 2000s and Pam Childs and John Scott were prominent in encouraging this group. Today the majority of the active Kapiti Joggers and Walkers are walkers. A number of former runners have made the transition to this group.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s membership dropped away, as it did in many sports clubs, but the group survived through the efforts of Secretary John Granville and a small band of regular joggers.

John Granville, Secretary for many years and later treasurer.

There was a 30th anniversary celebration held in 2000 which was well attended. The highlight was a dinner held at Barnacles in Paraparaumu Beach. Then in 2010 a 40th anniversary lunch, paid for by the club, took place at Waikanae. The group had been undergoing a revival in the late 2000s, and the anniversary resulted in a number of former joggers coming back and others joining the walking group.

40th Reunion in 2010

Left to right: Alf Fairbairn, Peter Kennedy, Judy Kennedy, Dave Aitchison and Carol Aitchison

Over the last 10 years, the KJW have varied the venues for runs/walks and the range is now from Otaki to Plimmerton. Regular monthly meeting places include the Paraparaumu Domain, Raumati South and one of three locations in Waikanae. There are also regular trips to the Great Forest at Waitarere (April) and the Wanganui Three Bridges (December) to take part in competitive events. KJW regularly scoop the pool in the older age categories. The Taupo half marathon and the Wellington June events have also been popular in the past.

In recent years there have been no club rooms, however socialising after the Sunday morning exercise has become a regular feature at convenient local cafes. With fewer expenses, the club now shouts members three morning teas a year and a Christmas breakfast, which is held in Raumati Beach. There is also a regular ten pin bowling evening in the winter, as well as a mid-year dinner.

In 2012, the Kapiti United States Marines Trust began holding regular US Memorial Day services in Queen Elizabeth Park in late May. It was suggested to the KJW that they might like to organise a charity run/walk on the previous Sunday. Courses have varied over the years because of weather, but have always been in the spirit of the route march described by Marine Leon Uris in his book Battle Cry. 2019 will mark the eighth event and over the years there have been fields of 150-210 competitors. More than 40 KJW members and other volunteers are involved in the organisation each year. One of the unique attractions of the after-match function is the hot home-made soup!

"In the Footsteps of the Marines" event, 2018

In the late 2010s, KJW has had 40+ financial members and every week they receive an email keeping them up to date with next Sunday’s venue, the programme for the next month or so, and other news. (Former Secretary, Pam Childs, started producing a newsletter in the days before email, and these were regularly delivered to letter boxes round the district. ) In 2019, Jill Hammonds developed the website you are currently reading and this will hopefully attract more members.

Jill Hammonds, Website Editor, receives flowers from President Roger Childs, as a thank you for developing the website.

Life members: the late Arthur Foote, Leo Rakich, Sally Ashley, Pam Childs, John Granville and Roger Childs.

Organisation: From the early days there was a desire to keep the administration informal. So there has never been a committee, except for special events like the Half Marafun and In the Footsteps of the Marines. These days a president, treasurer and a uniform officer are elected at the AGM each February.

Uniforms: There have been club uniforms from the mid 1970s ranging from yellow tee shirts and singlets (one with a tortoise on it – now a collector’s item!) through to the flash royal blue and orange tops of today. Green and white singlets with purple shorts featured in the 1990 and 2000s, as well as lime yellow jackets. There were also socks with the club logo on them. Today there are blue tops, caps and jackets as well as white mesh singlets. Gail Daniel and Mary Hadfield chose the design of the current uniforms.

The Kapiti Joggers about 1997

The current uniform was introduced in 2012

We will remember them: Sadly many former joggers and walkers have passed on and amongst those who were loyal members for many years are Arthur Foote, Ted Lepionka, Vera Manning, Dave Kingi, Maureen Jefferis, Ken Elphinstone, John Corrigan, Derek Rivers, John Scott and Colin Monks.

We are grateful to Alf Fairbairn, Pam and Roger Childs, Murray and Sally Ashley, John Granville and others for their assistance in putting this club history together. If anyone has suggestions or corrections, please send them to pamandroger.childs@gmail.com