Multisport: Prison warden typifies spirit

By Grant Harding


Jim Taotahi has no delusions about his sporting ability.

Among the 54-year-old prison warden's main reasons for competing in triathlon are "to get my weight down", and to share time with his active family. That doesn't mean the Hawke's Bay Multisports Club member doesn't set himself personal goals. Last year it was stepping up from club short-course events to the IronMaori half-ironman.

And it was that achievement, along with improvement at club level, which saw him feted at the club's annual prizegiving alongside world class competitors like Ali Hollington, who finished three hours ahead of him in the IronMaori as first woman home.

Hollington, currently in Europe, is the club's star - her outstanding 2011-12 achievements including qualification for the World Ironman (Kona), Long Distance and Age-Group championships, and winning the 45-49 age-group at the 2011 Challenge Roth Ironman (the Kona of the Challenge series) which earned her "Performance of the Year".

But Jim, named most improved senior or veteran male, typifies the true spirit of the club, supporting its calendar of events since starting in team races "five or six years ago".

"It's just something I enjoy," he said. "I like getting out. You set benchmarks for yourself and try to improve."

As a prison shift worker "time" is always a limiting factor. After struggling for fitness during 2011, Jim admits "everything seemed to be a little bit easier" during the recent season. His major achievement, the IronMaori, was completed in under eight hours.

Club stalwart Jeanette Cooper said: "Jim is a great example of real people giving it a go." Motivation is always at hand as his wife, Karen, is a capable triathlete, recently qualifying in the 50-54 age-group for the World Championships in Auckland in October.

Some of the other award winners will also be there, while Vet 2 Male club champion Brett Mudgway will be in Kona, Hawaii for the World Ironman Championships earlier that month.

The quality of the award winners clearly shows the good health of the sport in Hawke's Bay right through the ranks, with juniors Devon Beckman and Bradley Christison already having taken national titles.

HBMSC development manager Brendon Lodge said: "I hope more Hawke's Bay people come and have a look at our events and realise that anyone can participate."

The awards night featured three-time Coast to Coast winner Emily Miazga as guest speaker.

Hawke's Bay Multisport Club's 2012 Prizegiving

Club Champions:

Junior Male Devon Beckman

Junior Female Molly Shepherd

Senior Male Jeremy Natusch

Senior Female Laura Harris

Veteran 1 Male Glen Yule

Veteran 1 Female Jo Baker

Veteran 2 Male Brett Mudgway

Veteran 2 Female Judy Shepherd

Most Improved

Junior Male Bradley Christison

Junior Female Abigail Hussey

Senior or Veteran Male Jim Taotahi

Senior or Veteran Female Vicki Fuhrer

Special Awards

Performance of the Year Ali Hollington

Volunteer of the Year (adult) Rhoda Lodge

- Hawkes Bay Today

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