Not even being wheelchair bound could keep 7-year-old Hunter Lyford from competing in yesterday's annual Weet-Bix Tryathlon at Frimley Park in Hastings.

The Taradale Primary student broke his foot three weeks before the race and was "gutted" he wasn't going to be able to take part.

He begged his mother Stacy Lyford to push him around the course and she thought "why not?"

She didn't stop once.


"It was a bit of a challenge on all terrains, I'm knackered now but it's made his day so it's all worth it."

The pair planned to celebrate tonight with a special dinner.

A record setting 1505 children participated in the event which was changed to a run, bike, run after a vomiting outbreak at the Aquatic Centre the day before.

Ice blocks, medals and high-fives awaited the children as they huffed and puffed their way across the finish line in the scorching Hawke's Bay heat. They then had their photo taken proudly holding their medals.

General manager of distribution for Sanitarium, Peter Levett, said seeing the smiles and sense of satisfaction on the faces of the children made it all worthwhile.

"We are delighted with the numbers, they are increasing year on year so it's sensational."

He said the event went very smoothly.

"There was a disappointment obviously with the pool but that's life and health comes first. The kids are still as enthusiastic as ever."

A total of 182 volunteers were on hand to encourage and marshal the children around the course.

"The community get right behind these regional events, we love it," Mr Levett said.

Professional triathlete Amelia Watkinson was at the finish line to hand out medals and congratulate competitors. She said she enjoyed seeing the kids push themselves and having a great time.

"It's such a good opportunity for kids to work hard or just have fun with friends, it's a great way for kids to get involved ion the sport without it being too serious or daunting for them."

Oscar Elise, 9, from Parkvale School said it was "really tough" and he was now "really sore". "The hardest part was the end run, I went hard."

Lucknow students Molly Simon and Brianna Williams, both 9, were 'so happy' with how the race went. The two did plenty of training leading up to their third Weet Bix Tryathlon.

"It's the best we've done," Molly said.