Triathlon: Classic end in store to series

By Peter White


The third and deciding race in the Eves Triathlon Series takes place on Sunday morning at Mount Maunganui in the Coronation Classic. The race will finish at Coronation Park and puts the seal on an outstanding summer series which for the first time has been incorporated under one banner.

Team Shorebreak Inc Aquatic Sports and Triathlon Club decided to take three events and combined them into one series, beginning with the Surfbreaker on December 27, followed by the Pilot Bay Classic on January 28 and and Sunday's Coronation Classic.

Organiser Sheryl McLay is expecting excellent entry numbers with athletes from all over the Bay of Plenty and Waikato to arrive at Mount Maunganui.

"We have had 130 to 150 enter races one and two and we will exceed that for the Eves Coronation Classic," said McLay.

"We are looking forward to the events growing in the next couple of years and filling the gaps especially for the new and more social triathlete. The events are targeted at the beginner triathlete, the social triathlete as well as those looking for a racing challenge. We have also included an under-12 category to encourage the young ones.

"These events combine the long standing UCan2 programme and the Eves Surfbreaker. Overall age group medals will be awarded to those who have done all three races. Each event includes a Sprint Distance Triathlon (750m swim, 16-20km cycle and 5-6km Run), a Super Sprint (half of a Sprint), and a duathlon for the non-swimmers. A team option is offered in the Sprint distance. Each event uses the local geography to have its own unique course."

The bike leg of Sunday's Coronation Classic is set in the industrial area of Totara Street and the transition area and finish are in Coronation Park.

McLay says there are many fine athletes in action with two standout performers favoured to take out the men and women's titles. "Michael Pugh is the leading contender having won both race one and race two, and is also leading the Masters overall. Likewise Sarah Backler in the women's also won the first two races and she is also leading the open women's overall, followed closely by Terri Mann.

"Luana Cox, Debbie Clark and Jo Tisch are fighting out the Masters Women, while Mark Anderson is leading the Open men from Greg Thompson and Kevin Symes."

Typically, there will be a wide range of ages competing, from young beginners to the likes of Nan McKenzie (71), who will race the Sprint distance.

She recommends getting into triathlons for everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.

"The good thing about triathlons is you have the three different disciplines, that suit everyone. I like to say I have jogged my way through the decades but I didn't start swimming or biking until in my 60s. You are not just pounding your joints, which older runners tend to do, and you have the upper body fitness with your swimming, and aerobic fitness by getting your heart rate up and maintaining it.

"It is also fun because you have all these young people around and they are all so supportive. I think Sheryl [McLay] is a very community minded person as well as trying to get young swimmers and triathletes trained up, and she has offered all of us of different levels the chance to keep doing what we like to do, for fun and general well being for our health, or helping those who are more serious about it to achieve their goals."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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