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Course record holder Rhodes sets early pace at Rarotonga Triathlon

Saturday 4 May 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Sports, Triathlon


Course record holder Rhodes sets early pace at Rarotonga Triathlon
Sixty-three competitors took part in the CITC Boiler Swim on Thursday. CITAI/24050381

The stage is set for the 30th Air New Zealand Rarotonga International Triathlon competition which gets underway this afternoon at 1.30pm from the Tikioki Tri site.

Cook Islands Triathlon Association’s week of events started on Thursday with the CITC Boiler Swim. 

The iconic swim looked challenging as competitors looked out from the deck of Trader Jack’s restaurant. The safety crew assessed the conditions and suggested extending the course back into the passage instead of the shorter but more dangerous route heading towards the reef. 

Association president Roland Neururer immediately implemented the changes to ensure the safety of all competitors. 

The traditional warrior greeting was well received by the 63 competitors and the spectators who cheered enthusiastically and the race was underway.   

The swell and chop made for a very difficult swim, and with the extended distance competitors times were slower by around five minutes compared to previous years. 

First out of the water in a time of 15:11 minutes was New Zealander Bryan Rhodes. 

Rhodes holds the course record for the overall Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon which he set in 1998 so it was fantastic to see him back in the race and setting a super pace from the start. 

First female to finish the race was Shelley King, also from New Zealand, in a time of 17:25 mins.

King, who will also compete in the full triathlon today in the 50-59 age group, has travelled with her mother who took part in the first event 30 years ago. 

King says she swims very regularly and doesn’t get nervous about the other competitors – she just does her own race.   

The first local swimmers were 13-year-old Ara Wyatt and Cook Islands Triathlon Association president Neururer who exited the water together. 

Following the swim, the CITC Boiler Swim prize giving and carbo-loading pasta meal was held at The Edgewater Resort and Spa, ahead of what is expected to be a fantastic day today for the Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon. 

Today’s event is at full capacity with over 60 individual entrants who will complete the whole triathlon, and another 45 entering in teams of two or three.

The 30th Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon, an Olympic distance event, consists of a 1.5-kilometre swim, 42km cycle and 10km run.

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands Triathlon would like to express sincere thanks to Roly Rolleston and his team of water safety crew for looking out for all the competitors during the Boiler Swim event.

“The conditions were tough and their work is greatly appreciated.”

Cook Islands Triathlon would also like to thank the naming sponsor CITC for their most generous donation of prizes for all the competitors.

“CITC’s involvement with this event is always very gratefully appreciated.”