With just over two weeks to go until the Craigs Investment Partners Tinman Triathlon roars into life on Sunday December 2, athletes are getting ready to step up to the start line to take part in what is considered the best event to start the triathlon season.
The elite field is taking shape with and has been bolstered by the confirmation two of New Zealand top long distance athletes will be lining up, 2008 Tinman Champion James Bowstead and Graham O'Grady.
Bowstead is extra motivated to race this year after he missed last year's event due to injury.
"The Tinman is a very important race for me, in my eyes its New Zealand's premier non-drafting Olympic distance triathlon so that really motivates me to do well," he said.
"It is also on the legendary Port of Tauranga Half course so it's a great opportunity for me to remind myself of the course which helps my preparation for the Half, which is a key objective this summer."
O'Grady will also be using the Tinman as a build up to the Port of Tauranga Half and with one of strongest swim bike combos in the sport, he will provide a strong challenge to Bowstead and the rest of the elite field.
This event is not only for elite athletes as there is a race for everyone.
Distances covered range from a 750m swim up to a 3.5km swim, a 20km bike to a 40km bike, and the longest running distance is 10km. These distances cater for individual athletes of all levels as well as teams. Popular this year is the Craigs Corporate Challenge, where teammates from the same company can enter together.
Brendan Jeffs from BNZ said over the last few years they have endeavoured to have regular team events and the Tinman Corporate Challenge seemed like a great idea to do an achievable team triathlon.
"Our staff enjoy the challenges ... it does our health and fitness no harm," Jeffs said.
"In addition, we have had a challenge from our good friends at HOBEC to enter the corporate event.
"Among our 10 teams, we have a wide range of competitive spirit and we all intend to fully enjoy the experience and the afternoon post-race."
Jeffs encourages all corporates to team up and get involved. The distances are a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5.5km run.
First time eventer Grant Kedian watched his friend compete last year and was so captivated by the event he signed up as soon as entries opened.
"I loved the energy and was impressed with the event organisation, so I set myself the challenge. I'm feeling really nervous but love the physical challenge as much as the mental challenge.
The Craigs Investment Partners Tinman Triathlon is an event that is available to athletes of all levels. The course takes athletes along the beachfront and around the Mount Maunganui base track.
For information, go to www.tinmantriathlon.co.nz