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Challenge not for faint-hearted

Wednesday 21 July 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Other Sports, Sports

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Challenge not for faint-hearted
Tamsyn Chambers who will be partnering with Serena Hunter in this weekend’s Ariki Adventures Challenge. Picture: BCI (Creators Hype)/21072007

The biggest mental and physical challenge Rarotonga has ever seen will take place in the form of the first ever Ariki Adventures Challenge this Saturday.

Sixteen teams of two will take to the startline at Tikioki on the day. The course, not designed for the faint of heart, will see participants kick off at 8am with a 5.8 kilometre Stand Up Paddle (SUP) from Tikioki down to the Sheraton. Participants will then pull on the running shoes for a 7.4km run up through the bush and across the island, emerging in town on the other side only to hop on their mountain bikes and rage through a tough 48km course up hills and through bush valleys, water intakes, river crossings and back roads all the way back around the island to the finish line at Enua Manea Hall, Tikioki.

The race is expected to take experienced top guns a rough 5.5 hours to complete with 10 hours being the cutoff time.

“We’ve been super excited organising this fantastic event,” said Cook Islands Triathlon president Roland Neururer. 

Neururer, who recently won his 10th Tinman title, together with fellow triathletes,  has been running three weekly training sessions for the past few weeks to help teams prepare for the event, including weekly stand up paddle sessions, mountain bike rides tackling the various sections of the course, and across island runs. 

One of the tougher training sessions took place two weeks ago with a cross island run followed by 26km of the mountain bike course. 

“Not everyone was smiling at the end of that one,” Neurerer said in jest. “I think people realised they need to have everything dialled in for this one, including nutrition on race day.”

The teams of two will work together over the course, and are required to take selfies at certain points of the mountain bike course to verify they have passed through. The course is too long to have marshalls tracking competitors, however there will be aid stations on the route.

Competitors will also have tracking systems which can be viewed online. “It is definitely not a race for the faint-hearted,” said Neururer. “Everyone was warned, you must undertake the training for this event, it will be a mental and physical challenge,” he said.

Julie Tamariki of Ariki Adventures, the major sponsor of the event, agreed with Neururer. “We are stoked that so many people have stepped up to the challenge, given it is not something you can just turn up to, and it has taken some commitment in training, and we are proud to sponsor it and hope to continue to do so and attract overseas entries next year.” 

Cook Islands Triathlon Association (CITAI) also wishes to thank the supporting sponsor The Bond Store, and wishes all the competitors the very best this weekend.                

  • Serena Hunter/CITAI

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