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Annual Tinman celebrates 39 years

Monday 16 May 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Sports, Triathlon

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Annual Tinman celebrates 39 years
Adrianna Skurosz and Roland Neururer raise their trophies for the Tin Man triathlon in 2020. They are the top bet for the title in this year’s competition to be held today. Photo: Supplied/20061401

Cook Island Triathlon Association celebrates 39 years of the annual Maori Auri Tinman Race today.

This is an event with a long and interesting history which our local triathletes proudly compete in.   

Thirty-nine 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. 

The first Tinman Race was held on April 16, 1983 and started in front of the Sailing Club at Muri with a 1200 metre 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 around the island.\

The winner of that first race was Paul McDonnell in a great time of 2.09.32, 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 in 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 formed the basis of his 1.49.14 race record and was the last of three consecutive wins.

After ten teams completed the first Tinman, team racing took off, and the late 1980s saw huge participation from the community with up to 20 teams competing at the event.

The fastest team time dates back to 1990 when Bret Gibson, Richard Williams, and Tim Martin set a cracker time of 1.47.12.

 This year the numbers are a little lower than in those early days, but none-the-less the athletes will appreciate your cheers and encouragement, just as much as those back in the 80s. 

Roland Neururer and Adrianna Skurosz are the favourites for the top spots, having recently both triumphed in the Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon two weeks ago, which was held over a slightly longer distance. 

  They are the domestic unbeaten first male and female, so if you see them, or any other athletes on the road, give them a cheer.

   In the teams race it will be interesting to see who the entrants are as some teams have changed from their make up two weeks ago. 

  Teams are a great way to participate in the sport of triathlon, and the Cook Islands Triathlon Association committee encourages people to have a chat with them at any time if they are keen to be a team member at any of their events.

Race Statistics – Number of wins

Male – Roland Neururer 11, Geoff Stoddart 5; Female – Serena Francis/Hunter 7, Vanessa Palmer/Woodger 5, Kelly Pick 3, Adrianna Skurosz 3.