The men stepped aside while women competed in Hawke's Bay's inaugural Iron Maori women's only duathlon. About 200 women braved the wind and descended on Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park on Saturday.

After an energetic aerobics warm-up, women - in teams or on their own - completed the 5km run/walk, 12.5km cycle and 2.5km run/walk.

Iron Maori event organiser Heather Skipworth had her game-face on, too, with this year being the first she could hand over the organisation and actually take part in the event herself. She said she had been trying to participate for years.

"It's pretty hard to hand over the reins of my own baby."

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Lee Grace, who usually helps with other Iron Maori events, pulled off a "fantastic job with all of his merry men to support him", Ms Skipworth said.

Women who topped their age groups were Renee Thorstensen, Carolyn Last, Cath Steiner, Hena Watts, Debbie Mccall and Fae Sidney.

Ms Skipworth said that after this year's success the event would return for again next year.

"We put up a challenge for everyone who participated this year to return again next year with a friend."

A main goal for the event was to encourage women to engage in regular exercise and to celebrate women.

"I think it's quite unique," she said. "Women just do so much and it's to celebrate just them."

A men's race is now on the horizon, too, with a novice race and an elite race in the pipeline.