Posted By QEII National Trust | June 19, 2023

Island Hills Station has one of the largest QEII open space covenants in Canterbury. Just an hour and a half from Christchurch and 20 minutes from the historic Hurunui Hotel, the station hosts guests on a private tramping trail and is home to species such as kea (Threatened – Nationally Endangered) and kārearea (At Risk – Recovering).

To support their conservation efforts inside the covenant and the wider Mandamus Preservation Reserve, the Island Hills Station team hosted a fundraiser trail running event.

Named after the highest point on the property, Mt Skedaddle (1,704 m), the Skedaddle trail run took place on 29 April for the first time. Runners could choose from four options: 42 km, 30 km, 15 km and a kids’ 4-km course.

The Island Hills Station covenant was established in 1992 and protects 600 hectares of land, providing a sanctuary for 16 Threatened and At-Risk native plant species and many native bird species. To ensure these species can thrive, the Island Hills Station team work hard to control pests such as possums, stoats, rats, deer and pigs, using traps, bait stations and hunting.

The race raised over $5,000 for purchasing traps, which will help to ensure Island Hills Station remains a sanctuary for native species. “The event allows us to get some money together to do the pest and weed control needed in the covenant,” said Station owner, Dan Shand.

On-farm tourism operator Shaun Monk says, “The station isn’t normally open to the public and visitors have to pay to use the walking tracks, so it was a great chance for people to experience a new trail run while contributing towards a good cause.”

QEII regional rep for North Canterbury, Miles Giller, was a smiling face at the race village and was pleased to support the event. “The race did a great job at raising awareness of the values that covenants like Island Hills Station protect and showcasing what their team is doing. We put together an information hub, with big posters explaining the covenant values, what is being protected, and why pest and weed control are so important. Plus, we had some lollies, to give people the boost they need to finish the run.”

Skedaddle “run for nature” was put together by the Island Hills Station team alongside Christchurch planning specialists Event Goals, led by Rich Negus, Kate Brand and Shaun Monk – a dream team for organising a trail running race.

The race drew in over 400 entrants and a few hundred supporters on-site throughout the weekend, reflecting the growing popularity of the sport in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The event engaged the local community, with around 60 volunteers coming to help. The local Amuri Area School junior students crafted inspirational signs to go around the course and bookmarks for runners to take home. Over $10,000 worth of local prizes and in-kind contributions were donated and they were able to make a $5,600 donation to Civil Defence, Red Cross and sports doctors in recognition of their support for the race.

“The inaugural event was such a runaway success; we’ve already decided to host the run again next April. We reckon it will be bigger and better and hopefully the Skedaddle run will become a must-do on the New Zealand trail running calendar,” said Shaun.

The next Skedaddle trail run will take place on Saturday 27 April 2024. Entries will open on 1 August 2023.

Images sourced from Skedaddle Facebook page.