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Street and Raymond triumph in Cook Islands Triathlon Ariki Adventures Raro Challenge

Wednesday 18 October 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Athletics, Sports, Triathlon


Street and Raymond triumph in Cook Islands Triathlon Ariki Adventures Raro Challenge
David Street and Gabe Raymond won the Cook Islands Triathlon Ariki Adventures Raro Challenge, finishing in a time of 5:01:20 hours on Saturday. CITAI/ 23101731

The weather on Saturday was just perfect for the Cook Islands Triathlon Ariki Adventures Raro Challenge which was being held for the third consecutive year.

Ten teams of two people lined up on the beach in front of Enua Manea Hall and at 8am prompt the epic day started.

A favourable current and brisk tailwind combined to give fast paddling conditions for the 5.7 kilometre Stand Up Paddle Board section of the race. Onlookers saw the majority of the field head out towards the reef, with just Mike Carr taking his own line, staying closer to the shore, a move which proved advantageous for him giving him an excellent start to the race.

Visibility in the lagoon was perfect and competitors reported paddling past turtles and rays on their boards. Most competitors were very close together throughout the entire Sup course.

The battle between all male teams David Street with Gabe Raymond and mix team of Roland Neururer with Adrianna Skurosz was already proving exciting, with both teams exiting the water at the same time. With a very quick transition Roland and Adrianna headed out onto the run leg first, followed closely by David and Gabe.

From the water the teams headed inland, up to the Waterfall and commenced the Cross Island Track for a run or scramble across the island. They lead quickly changed, Roland and Adrianna were quickly hunted down by David and Gabe who are both very strong runners.

Transition managers waited for news of who would exit the bush first. It was David and Gabe who rounded the corner first with a 7-minute lead over second placed Roland and Adrianna.

Teams left the Avatiu Valley transition area straight into one of the steepest hills of the day, the first of a number of gruelling ascents. The route took competitors up arduous climbs in Avatiu, behind Tereora College, near Highland Paradise, in Rutaki, Takitumu and Avana. The day was not without its drama and the Highland Paradise descent proved very tricky.

Casualty of the day was Nick Shalder, who was not able to finish the race due some sickness, Alun Dodd’s derailer broke half into his race, but with some outside help, he was still able to finish the race. Punchers was reported by Andrew Menzies, but he was able to fix his bike but lost a lot of time. Avana water intake also proved slippery and by this time the very weary teams had been racing for over 4 hours, but luckily, nobody crashed this year. This was a first as well!

After a massive day in the heat and with a punishing course it was a hugely exciting finish, the GPS live tracking showed the first two teams racing within a few kilometres of each other. 

The overall winners of the race were David Street and Gabe Raymond finishing in a time of 5:01:20 hours followed by Roland Neururer and Adrianna Skurosz in a time of 5:13:23.

CITAI president Neururer would like to congratulate the winners and all the athletes who took part. 

“This is truly a unique race which tests both physical and mental toughness, to complete this is an outstanding achievement and one which should not be taken lightly. Everyone who has finished this course has undertaken something very special.”

CITAI wishes to thank Ariki Adventures for their very generous sponsorship of the race for the third consecutive year, and supporting sponsors The Bond Store, Vaima Water, Ride Rarotonga, and the Raina Family for the use of the land at Enua Manea Hall.


Full results