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Triathlon gears up for 41st Maori Auri Tinman Race

Thursday 13 April 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Sports, Triathlon

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Triathlon gears up for 41st  Maori Auri Tinman Race
In the women’s field defending champion Adrianna Skurosz, right, will be racing hard to beat her daughter Maya Postrzygacz who was triumphant in the recent BSP Women’s Triathlon. SUPPLIED/23041223

The Cook Islands Triathlon Association will be holding their annual Maori Auri Tinman Race for the 41st time this Saturday, April 15, at the Tikioki Tri Site.

The Cook Island Triathlon Association’s National Championship is an event with a long and interesting history which the local triathletes will proudly race, says the association.

Forty 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 the 16th April, 1983 and started in front of the Sailing Club in Muri with a 1200 metre swim. Leaving Muri Lagoon, the competitors then cycled around the island (31 kilometre) 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 round the island.

The winner of that first race was Paul McDonnell in a great time of 2.09.32 hours 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 hrs. Fenny Smith, Lynnsay Francis, Mona Henderson and Bernie Raffe are all previous winners with Kelly Pick breaking the women’s record in 2011 with 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 minutes formed the basis of his 1.49.14-hour race record and was the last of three consecutive wins.

After 10 teams completed the first Tinman, team racing really took off and the late eighties saw huge participation from the community with over 20 teams competing one year. The fastest team time dates back to 1990 when Bret Gibson, Richard Williams, and Tim Martin set a cracker time of 1.47.12.

Cook Islands Triathlon said: “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 is looking for his 13th consecutive win, however he will face stiff competition on the day from Jason Moorfield who has been consistent in his training for this race. 

In the women’s field defending champion Adrianna Skurosz will be racing hard to beat her daughter Maya Postrzygacz who was triumphant in the recent BSP Women’s Triathlon, however the distance on Saturday is more than twice as far so will be much more demanding. 

Also racing will be Mike Carr who is on the start line for the 35th time as well as a number of other regular triathletes, all testing themselves over this endurance event.

“Teams are a great way to participate in the sport of triathlon and the committee are delighted to see entries from seasoned and aspiring triathletes.

“If you would like to be part of the fun and race as an individual or team, entries can be made up until Friday at 2pm through the website www.rarotri.com.”

The race starts at 2pm on Saturday, the Triathlon Association kindly requests drivers to please take extra care and be aware of the cyclists on our roads.

The cycle route will be one clockwise lap of the island starting from Enua Manea Hall in Tikioki, the cyclists will be on the road from 2.30pm.

“The Triathlon Association is very grateful to the Raina Family for the use of their land and to The Bond Store for their generous donation of prizes for our winning triathletes.”