By Alison Smith
Throughout two decades of planning, organising and executing Peninsula-wide sporting events, the Spirit of Coromandel Trust trustees have spent their fair share of hours working on sponsorship.
Andy Reid, Keith and Rita Stephenson created three iconic events featuring cycling, mountain biking, adventure racing and trail running - and next year will be their 20th anniversary of running events.
The K2 Road Cycle Classic, ARC Adventure Race and Kauri Run have helped them achieve a vision of helping people feel better and stronger with exercise and challenge in the outdoors.
All of these events have another purpose - to raise funds for their goal to establish an outdoor pursuits centre and bike park on the Coromandel.
They rely almost exclusively on volunteers so that all proceeds can go towards their charitable purpose, and the trio calculate they’ve drawn around 30,000 participants to the Peninsula and planted more than 3,500 kauri trees on behalf of participants taking part in the annual Kauri Run.
Recently they secured two new sponsors - both entrepreneurial kiwi companies who they found by reaching out to their own event participants.
“Our three- year sponsorship with Flight Centre for the K2 Road Cycle Challenge came to an end last year,” explains Spirit of Coromandel Trust trustee Andy Reid. “One of the things that is important for Keith, Rita and I, is that we have sponsors that we feel comfortable with and who we think fit our values and vision,” he says.
To find a new sponsor for K2, Andy emailed his database of competitors to advise they were looking for a sponsor. “I got 10 reply suggestions. One was from a cycling coach, Paul Cadman, who said he thought it would be a good match for an innovative New Zealand company called MitoQ, because their customers are often people with high energy demands such as endurance athletes and working parents.”
The K2 is possibly the toughest one-day cycle challenge in the Southern Hemisphere, a 192km race around the Coromandel. Among last year’s competitors is former Olympic swimmer Moss Burmester, and one-fifth of the entrants are female, making it one of the most popular sporting events for women that’s hosted on the Coromandel.
MitoQ is a Kiwi company selling to around 100 countries. Its healthy ageing and energy support supplements deliver a breakthrough form of the antioxidant CoQ10 directly into your body’s mitochondria (your cells’ power plants), supporting their natural function and health, and it occurred to the Trust that they would ride together nicely.
This week the Trust announced that their 2019 road classic in October will be the MitoQ K2 - a sponsor that Andy says is a great fit.
The K2 also features a Cervelo K1 100km race and a 50km Nicholas Browne Challenge and a new Dirty K, a gravel road course drawing an increasing number of competitors, which is sponsored by the aptly named energyclubnz, an innovative new power company that shares savings on to its customers.
The Trust recently received a grant for $233,874 from the New Zealand Community Trust towards a new bike park in Coromandel Town and it is hoped that this will be completed over the next 3 years. Plans for the new Outdoor Pursuits Centre are also tracking along nicely!