Elina Ussher’s win at the Motu Challenge in Opotiki on Saturday 14 October was her eleventh, making her the undisputed queen of multisport in the New Zealand. Her dominance over the years is unrivalled in endurance sport.
The veteran multisport athlete from Nelson finished the gruelling 65 kilometre mountain bike, 20 kilometre run, 60 kilometre road cycle and 27 kilometre kayak event in a blistering time of 8 hours and 19 minutes. Second place getter Jessica Dean was 44 minutes behind.
The men’s multisport race was won for the second year in a row by Whakatane athlete Daniel Jones. Jones’ time of 7 hours and 36 minutes was 20 minutes quicker than second placed Andrew Sclater and third placed Thomas O’Donnell.
Former Olympic swimmer Moss Burmester who is training for the Coast to Coast finished fifteenth in just under nine hours. Burmester was ribbed after the race for taking a swim on the kayak course when he was tipped out of his racing kayak on one of the grade two rapids on the Waioeka River.
Sixteen year Oliver Thompson completed the event in 8 hours and 21 minutes which was eleven minutes quicker than his 2016 time. Impressive given the river flow was considerably lower this year, slowing kayak times significantly. His fourth place this year was a big jump up from his fifteenth place in 2016. The Trident High School student has a bright future in multisport following the lead of previous students like Hayden Wilde and Daniel Jones.
The Riverlock Motu 160 race which comprises of a 65 kilometre mountain bike and a 90 kilometre road cycle was won by Gisborne athlete Jack McLauglin and Megan Arthur of Hamilton with times of 4 hours 51 minutes and 5 hours 32 minutes respectively. The race this year was incredibly competitive with the men’s race won by a break from the lead group with just 3 kilometres to go.
The Motu Duathlon was won by Olly Shaw from Rotorua in a time of 6 hours and 31 minutes some 29 minutes ahead of rivals Brendan Erskine and Matthew Peploe.
Organisers of the event were pleased with the day claiming the weather this year was the best in event’s twenty-three year history.