Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Triathlete returns to cycleway tribute

Jimmy Goddard. Photo / Michael Craig
Jimmy Goddard. Photo / Michael Craig

One of the inspirations behind the idea to construct a national cycleway is back in the country - but disabled British athlete Jimmy Goddard is a bit busy to contemplate riding it just yet.

The former British Army commando is in Auckland to compete in the ITU World Triathlon Series final next weekend.

He was handcycling the length of New Zealand three years ago when he met Auckland real-estate agent Graham Wall.

Wall was so inspired by Goddard's efforts that he lobbied Prime Minister John Key for the creation of the cycleway.

Key agreed and work on the long-term project began in November 2009.

Goddard, who is hoping his good turn for the country will be repaid with a podium finish in the Tri-1 paratriathlon on Labour Day, told the Herald on Sunday he was proud to be one of the reasons behind the cycleway.

The 35-year-old, who was paralysed from the chest down in a 2004 rock-climbing accident, remembered telling Wall how busy New Zealand roads were, both for cars and bikes.

Wall subsequently told him of the cycleway plans but he had since forgotten about it.

"It's pretty cool to know that it's up and running in places. I'd like to come back and cycle it one day.

"It's a great way to see the country and meet people, and you don't have to be an enthusiast to do it."

Goddard is one of almost 4000 registered to take part in the triathlon races or fun-runs, which begin with the Weet-Bix Kids Tryathlon in St Heliers today.

The nine-day event peaks next weekend, with the elite women's race starting at noon on Saturday and the elite men's race at 1pm the following day.

Elite races start and finish at Queen's Wharf and follow a city route that takes in parts of Queen, Albert, Quay, Shortland, Princes, Wakefield and Victoria Sts, as well as Mayoral Drive and Bowen Ave.

There will be a number of road closures on key race days.

More information at auckland.triathlon.org.

- Herald on Sunday

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