The Motu Duathlon run alongside the iconic Motu Challenge on 8 October in Opotiki took participants breath away in more ways than one. If riding your mountain bike 65 kilometres along the historic Old Motu Coach Road, running 17 kilometres through the spectacular Whinray Reserve and finally road cycling 90 kilometres along the twisty scenic Waioeka gorge doesn’t take your breath away then the scenery will.
These words from Opotiki Triathlete Jim Houston aptly summarise the new duathlon race within the Motu Challenge. The first ever winners of the event Erin Furness and Mike Wight were enthusiastic about the event. Wright explaining that the event was great preparation for Ironman type events.
Wright won the event in a time of 6 hours 33 minutes and 3 seconds about 19 minutes clear of Whakatane athlete Dean Sisson, with Houston a further 36 minutes behind.
In the women’s race Furness was too strong for Lana Grew and 18 year old Trident High School student Tiahna Brathwaite.
The team’s race was taken out by Gisborne Team The Shaw’s – Johnny Edwards and Peter Blake. The winning mixed team from Whakatane was Wheel’s and Feet made up of Tim Bosworth, Dianne Bulled and Neil Spanake.
Motu Challenge event manager Mike van der Boom was chuffed at the turn out for the demanding event. “It’s a brutal event and all the athletes looked absolutely broken when they finished. Our organising team decided to stage the race after we trialled a short course duathlon last year. One of the entrants Jo Tisch wasn’t satisfied with riding the 65 kilometre mountain bike and running 17 kilometres to finish at Motu village. She thought people would like to complete the whole circuit finishing back at Opotiki along with the multisport and Motu 160 events”. Van der Boom goes on to say “So Jo Tisch is the person to blame really”
The Short Motu Duathlon race was won by Jason Whitelaw in a time of 4 hours 13 minutes while the women’s race was won by Lydia Hale in 4 hours and 20 minutes.
Race organisers believe the duathlon has great potential especially for people training for Ironman. Race director Marty Madsen explains that the event is perfectly timed to fit in with long winter training sessions. “This course will really test you to see whether you have been doing enough mileage”.