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Big triathlon event looms

Saturday 17 April 2010 | Published in Regional

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The ‘big one’ is just around the corner – that’s the Air New Zealand Rarotonga International Triathlon race.

The race will be held on May 1 from the Ngatangiia field and all local athletes must register and pay entry fee by Thursday, April 22 to triathlon organisers Len Edwards, Geoff Stoddart or Jennie George.

The international triathlon is not for the faint hearted and includes a 1500m swim around the Muri lagoon, a 41km bike around the island plus a circuit of hospital hill and a final 10km run through Takitumu village.

The 2009 international triathlon saw over 100 competitors tackle the course with gun Kiwi triathlete John White defending his 2008 title and shaving a minute and 14 seconds off his 2008 race time to set a blistering time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 50 seconds.

Local athlete Geoff Stoddart was the first local across the finish line to come fourth overall in a time 2:16:33. In the women’s race, Kelly Pick became only the second local woman to win the international triathlon in its 15 years in the Cook Islands.

Pick out-sprinted fellow local triathlete Vanessa Palmer in the final 300m of the run leg to not only win by a mere 15 seconds ahead of Palmer but to also set a new women’s race record – two minutes faster than the previous record held by Serena Hunter.

And this year’s race is expected to be another gritty battle as all three of these women athletes are expected to put their bodies on the line again this year. The final day for registering as an individual or team and paying your entry fee is Thursday, April 22. - MW