Triathlon: Brown and sons in iconic triathlon


Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula will again see in the New Year with the running of an iconic triathlon event when the Contact Tri Series comes to the popular holiday town on Thursday.

The long-running and popular triathlon has been a part of the national Contact Tri Series now for five years, bringing some of the country's best to town alongside the beginners, age groupers and kids enjoying a taste of a triathlon, many for the first time.

Event director Kate Blood says the atmosphere at Whangamata is always a little different to others around the country.

"There is a relaxed feel about this event, due in no small part to the time of the year but also because of the venue. To swim, bike and run in one of New Zealand's most popular holiday spots is something special.

"The support from the crowds of holidaymakers is special and we often have many first timers or beginners giving the sport a go with mountain bikes, rugby shorts and singlets often the order of the day instead of the lycra and racing bikes."

That is not to say the elites won't be in town. They, too, enjoy a holiday and many spend time on the Coromandel over the New Year and enjoy racing at Whangamata, as individuals or in teams.

Ironman legend Cameron Brown is a former winner and has long been a supporter of the event and will take part again, this time racing alongside son Josh in the Contact 3:9:3 while other son Braeden takes part in a team in the sprint distance race.

"I love the race and venue, it's a true kiwi holiday spot and when the sun is out it's an incredible spot," said Cameron Brown.

"The course is a tough one with the surf in the swim, some good hills on the bike and a soft sand run to end it all.

"Josh wanted to do the 3:9:3 but wanted Dad to do it with him so it was an easy choice and I'll swim with him, bike and hopefully be there at the end for a sprint finish.

"Braeden will do the sprint distance race in a team doing the bike leg with his cousin and mate."

Does this suggest a passing of the baton is happening anytime soon in the Brown family?

"I'm not giving up my day job just yet! Hopefully I can share all my secrets with them and give them some of my knowledge I've learned after twenty five years in the sport.

"I have the Port of Tauranga Half on January 5 then the Auckland 70.3 on January 20 and then Ironman New Zealand on March 3, so I will be busy through summer training and racing but I love it.

"I couldn't imagine going through summer not training for these events."

If the Brown family is an inspiration in any way or perhaps the stunning surroundings are, the Contact Tri Series offers race distances for all who wish to shake off the effects of Christmas and the New Year, with the 3:9:3 (300m swim, 9km bike, 3km run) a popular choice for those with a New Year resolution to live up to.

Entries are still being taken online at www.triseries.co.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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