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42 years strong: Maori Auri Tinman Race celebrates rich legacy

Saturday 13 April 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Sports, Triathlon

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42 years strong: Maori Auri Tinman Race celebrates rich legacy
Roland Neururer and Adrianna Skurosz retained the Cook Islands Triathlon Association Annual Maori Auri Tinman competition in 2023. CITAI/23041810

Cook Island Triathlon Association will be holding their annual Maori Auri Tinman Race for the 42nd time this afternoon.

Association president Roland Neururer says this is an event with a long and interesting history which our local triathletes will proudly race. 

“Forty-two years ago, Sir Tom Davis and Sir Geoffrey Henry were swapping the Prime Ministership, Sir Robert Muldoon was the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Rugby World Cup was still four years away, Australia was about to win the America’s Cup and nine individuals and nine teams competed in the first ever Tinman Triathlon,” Neururer said.

The first Tinman race was held on the 16th April, 1983 and started in front of the Sailing Club in Muri with a 1200 metres swim. Leaving Muri Lagoon, the competitors then cycled around the island before running 10 kilometres from the Sailing Club into town and finishing at the Banana Court with a well-earned drink.

Reports of the race in the Cook Islands News mentioned the surprising interest in the race by the large number of spectators who lined the course and cheered the athletes all-round the island.

The winner of that first race was Paul McDonnell in a great time of 2.09.32 hours with Don Carlaw and Dave Hickson three minutes behind him. Other competitors in the first Tinman were Brett Porter (2.20.32), Nooroa Robati (2.36.06), Tim Murray (2.46.27) and teams from Foodland, Fisheries, Apex and National Bank. 

The first female competitors entered the race in 1985 with Rangi Ngaata going on to be the first female winner in 2.40.29.  Fenny Smith, Lynnsay Francis, Mona Henderson and Bernie Raffe are all previous winners with Kelly Pick breaking the women’s record in 2011 with a time of 1.53.43. 

The fastest time was set in 1990 by the then 20-year-old Bernard Wind, whose staggering cycle time of 48.34 minutes formed the basis of his 1.49.14-hour race record and was the last of three consecutive wins.

After 10 teams completed the first Tinman, team racing really took off and the late eighties saw huge participation from the community with over 20 teams competing one year.  The fastest team time dates back to 1990 when Bret Gibson, Richard Williams, and Tim Martin set a cracker time of 1.47.12.

Neururer said: “This year the numbers are a good in both individual and team categories, athletes will appreciate your cheers and encouragement just as much as those back in the 80s”

“Teams are a great way to participate in the sport of triathlon, and the committee of the triathlon association encourage you to have a chat with them at any time if you are keen to be a team member at any of their events.”

  Cook Island Triathlon would like to thank the sponsors, BSP and The Bond Store for their generous donation and the Raina Family for their land use.

Race Statistics – Number of wins

Male: Roland Neururer 13, Geoff Stoddart 5, Mike Carr 3: Female: Serena Francis/Hunter 7, Vanessa Palmer/Woodger 5, Adrianna Skurosz 5, Kelly Pick 3.