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Gearing up for tough challenge

Wednesday 7 September 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Sports, Triathlon

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Gearing up for tough challenge
Cook Islands Triathlon held practice runs with the participating triathletes in preparation for Saturday’s event. CITAI/22090614

The Cook Islands Triathlon Association is gearing up for its mammoth Ariki Adventures Raro Challenge multisport event which will be held this Saturday.

For the second year in a row, teams of two will line up on the start line for what will be a battle not only between themselves, but also personally as they test their mental and physical limits in a massive endurance race.

The race starts at 8am sharp with a 5.7 kilometre Stand Up Paddle Board from Tikioki to Vaimaanga. Competitors then leave the water and head up and over the island on the 8.4km Cross Island Track which they will complete as fast as they can as a run, scramble or walk. Once they arrive on the northern side they head down towards town and into the second transition zone where they will pick up their mountain bikes for the longest part of the day – a 48km mountain bike race which takes in many of the steepest parts of the island, including many off road sections, water intakes and rugged terrain.

It is anticipated that the leaders will cross the finish line at Enua Manea Hall in Tikioki after about five hours with other teams taking up to 10 hours to complete the whole course.

Many competitors from last year’s inaugural event return this year, although the team members have switched around. 

Roland Neururer and Jason Moorfield set the race record last year after finishing the events with a time of 4:44:51 hours. 

This year Neururer is joined by new teammate Matt Wyatt who is competing in the event for the first time, and Moorfield will be racing with his wife Tarina who was on the winning female team from 2021.

All four are very strong athletes which will provide much excitement for onlookers on race day as the battle at the front is expected to be fierce. Other top guns to look for include David Street and Andrew Logan who are also joining forces for the first time and are expected to be very strong contenders for the overall title.

In total 11 teams will be competing in this year’s event.

Cook Islands Triathlon president Roland Neururer explained the team’s element to the race.

“It is important for safety that we have teams of two together all the way. The course covers such a vast area it is impossible to have marshals everywhere, so the teammates must look after each other,” Neururer said.

“At various stages of the course teams must take selfies to show that they have passed through important checkpoints.” 

Throughout the day competitors will be tracked by GPS so that race control will be able to see at any point where all the teams are. As there is no signal coverage over the Cross Island Walk there will be two first aiders stationed along the track should anyone need assistance. 

Neururer said: “The race itself is not for the faint hearted, you need many hours of training to be able to do this. It will be an exciting and really hard day for everyone.”

Cook Islands Triathlon held practice runs with the participating triathletes in preparation for Saturday’s event.

CITAI wishes to thank event sponsor Ariki Adventures for their support, as well as Puaikura Fire Brigade, The Raina Family, Vaima Water and The Bond Store.