New Motu Duathlon great preparation for all endurance athletes

By Motu Challenge

The new Motu duathlon is being hailed as the toughest duathlon in New Zealand and by all accounts the perfect test of winter training for Ironman athletes.

The 2017 event is set for 14 October and organisers expect plenty of Ironman ‘wannabies’ to be on the start line. Roll the clock back a few years to 1994 and the first bunch of hardy multisporters took on the inaugural Motu Challenge. In those days there were few multisport events and not many ‘lead-in’ events for the iconic Coast to Coast. So a bunch of Opotiki locals threw together a course to rival the famous South Island event. The tough event included mountain biking, running, road cycling and kayaking.

Last year the Motu Duathlon was introduced which immediately struck a chord with endurance athletes. The course included all of the toughness from the multisport course but eliminated the kayaking and hence in some athletes eyes made the event even tougher. No longer could athletes simply sit on their butts and drift down the river. Race organisers also believed removing the kayak would open the event up to a wider range of endurance athletes that don’t fancy kayaking.

Race organiser Mike van der Boom believes the only perceived barrier iron-athletes may have about taking on the Motu duathlon is the technical aspect of mountain biking. Van der Boom remarks ‘I suppose the swim-bike-run athletes may be put off by mountain biking but they can be re-assured that the mountain bike course isn’t technical singe track at all. The 65 kilometres is all tarmac and gravel roads and not in the least technical’. Van der Boom does go on to warn athletes that although the mountain bike course isn’t technical it is ‘bloody tough’.

The event starts and finishes in Opotiki and includes a 65km mountain bike stage, a 17 km run and a 90 kilometre road cycle. There is also a short duathlon option which has athletes finishing at the Motu Village transition area.

The first ever winners of the event Erin Furness and Mike Wight were enthusiastic about the event. Wright explaining that the event was great preparation for Ironman type events. Wright won the event in a time of 6 hours 33 minutes and 3 seconds about 19 minutes clear of Whakatane athlete Dean Sisson, with Jim Houston a further 36 minutes behind.

In the women’s race Furness was too strong for Lana Grew and 18 year old Trident High School student Tiahna Brathwaite. Read about the 2016 Motu Duathlon here.

Make sure you add this duathlon to your race calendar. To find out more visit
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