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Annual triathlon brings out local talent

Tuesday 3 May 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Sports, Triathlon


Annual triathlon brings out local talent
The Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon returned in 2022 after a two-year absence. Photo: Al Williams/22040107

The 26th annual Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon took place has been hailed a success.

Cook Islands Triathlon Association (CITA) president Roland Neururer said a wonderful crowd of athletes and spectators gathered for what was once again a fantastic event.  

A team event and an individual race were held at the same time, over the Olympic Distance course which comprised a 1500 metre swim, a 41 kilometre cycle and a 10 km run on Saturday.

Teams of two or three people were in competition with each other, while the individual competitors also competed for gender and age group placings.

Swells in the lagoon were a concern for some of the less strong swimmers, but proved no problem for our local star Darius Allsworth. 

Darius, aged 14, exited the water ahead of everyone in an impressive time of 26:19 to put his team RAD Little Oneroa into a commanding lead. 

Teammate Alyce Edwards enthusiastically took up the challenge and recorded the fastest team cycle of the day and set a new personal best, cycling the 41 km route in 1:07:56, runner Rupene Mataitoga was also flying and recorded the fastest team run with a 10 km time of 43:41. 

Team RAD Little Oneroa finished the whole course in 2:19:17 to take away the team trophy. 

A total of 14 teams entered with Cook Islands teams securing the top three spots, congratulations to Just Doing the Business; Bernie Raffe, Geoff Stoddart and David Street, who came in second in a time of 2:43:49 and to Splash, Flash and Dash; Seychelle Carter, Andrew Whittaker and Andrew Orange who were strong in third place in a time of 2:47:22.

Over in the individuals race the competition at the front was stiff, the first individual out of the water and motivated from her win at the CITC Boiler swim on Thursday was Rebecca Grace, she was closely followed by Brent Knight, Mike Roigard, Roland Neururer, Susan Khoo, Jason Moorfield, Taki Anaru and Trevor Watts.

Focusing on the ladies race, the top three kept a steady formation, with local lady Adrianna Skurosz producing a strong bike leg to move within a minute of second place Susan but not quite having the speed to pass her on the run.  

Our second local lady Lucy McDonald recorded the fastest individual female cycle leg of the day and moved from ninth place to fourth, but it wasn’t enough to put her in the final placings. 

The overall result in the ladies race was first place, Rebecca Grace 2:43:02, second place, Susan Khoo 2:44:40 in third place, and first local lady Adrianna Skurosz in 2:55:37 

In the individual men’s event only about a minute separated the top two men for most of the afternoon, Brent Knight held his lead through the bike leg, but the run strength of Mike Roigard came through and he passed Brent to take the individual men’s title in a time of 2:19:50, followed closely by Knight in 2:20:41 and Roland Neururer in third place, and first local male in 2:37:23. 

Jason Moorfield and Taki Anuru were the second and third placed local males.

With the sun out and the humidity sitting at about 82 per cent, the run was proving challenging for both the visitors and the locals, some of whom were recovering from recent bouts of the Covid-19.   

Weary competitors in both the men’s and women’s races were very grateful to the Girl Guides for manning the water stops and providing essential cold drinks and sponges. 

The competitors kept working hard through the heat and the exhaustion, receiving hard earned finishers medals and nu from Air New Zealand Country Manager Addrienne Hosking-Tinirau.

“The challenge of just completing a race of this length cannot be understated, and congratulations go to all the participants for amazing performances in hot conditions,” Neururer said.

The Cook Islands Triathlon Association wishes to sincerely thank all the marshals on the course on Saturday, many competitors complimented these volunteers who gave clear instructions and much needed encouragement, your kind assistance is so very much appreciated. 

Thank you also to the Girl Guides for manning the drink stations, the Puaikura Volunteer Fire Brigade for offering first aid cover as well as marshalling and event pack down, the Rarotonga Hash House Harriers for refreshments, the Rarotonga Sailing Club and Ariki Adventures for water safety, the Raina Family for use of the land and Enua Manea Hall.

In addition CITAI wishes to thank their most generous sponsors Air New Zealand, Edgewater Resort & Spa, BSP Bank, The Bond Store, Vaima Water, CITC, Ride Rarotonga and Cook Islands Tourism.  Events of this magnitude don’t just happen without many many hours of work, so to all who contributed to the success of the Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon a huge Meitaki Maata and congratulations to all athletes.