A significant international off-road sporting event, featuring elite athletes and people simply wanting to give it a go, will take place in Kāpiti early next year.

The XTERRA Wellington Festival, in both Queen Elizabeth Park and Whareroa Farm, is on February 1.

It will feature a range of off-road running, mountain biking and triathlon events.

"I'm pretty excited about it," said event director Bengy Barsanti, who lives in Paraparaumu.

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"We've got some good enthusiasm building around it.

"We are keen to see people attend from all over the country and the world."

Power couple Sam Osborne and Samantha Kingsford as well as Lewis Ryan, all from Rotorua, will be taking part in the long triathlon.

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Sam is a two-time Asia Pacific tour champion, Pan American champion and was third in the world championships. Samantha won the Pan America tour this year.

We thought it would be a great place for an off-road triathlon

Lewis won XTERRA Taiwan last year but has been out with injury this year but is using the Kāpiti-based event as his comeback race.

Another attraction is that the event is the first XTERRA event on the 2020 Asia Pacific tour.

"This has garnered some attention from the professional athletes at the recent Maui world championships."

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Competitors in the triathlon also get the chance to qualify for the XTERRA World Cup in Maui, Hawaii.

"The age grades go up in every five years so everyone who wins their age grade will qualify for a spot in Maui."

There's also a $10,000 prize purse for the professional athletes who go on the world tour for XTERRA. Bengy said the event had something for everyone.

"It's a good fun course but it's a challenging course.

"It's about people just getting into the outdoors.

"The majority of our field will be made up of people wanting to take on the challenge and enjoy XTERRA for what it is — a family and lifestyle."

A view from Whareroa Farm down to Queen Elizabeth Park.
A view from Whareroa Farm down to Queen Elizabeth Park.

The range of XTERRA Wellington Festival off-road events include:

* Trail run over 6km, 14km or 21km distances.

* A 31km mountain bike.

* A duathlon covering 31km on mountain bike followed by 10km run.

* Short triathlon — 0.5km run, 14km mountain bike and 6km run.

* Long triathlon — 1km swim, 31km mountain bike and 10km run.

Many people and organisations were working together to make the event a success.

"We have had great support from all our sponsors in particular local sponsors Tuatara, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, HMC Kāpiti and New Zealand sponsors Bivouac Outdoors, Inov8, Camelback, Barefoot Webdesign, Ministry of Swimming and Tineli."

Bengy was in Whareroa Farm one day with his business partner when they looked back and saw the sea and the link up to the farm.

"We thought it would be a great place for an off-road triathlon.

"It's a unique piece of land and is pretty special to everyone up here on the coast.

"And there's not many places where you can link the sea to a mountain race without going over any major roads which can have a serious impact on an event.

"We started talking to the global HQ and they were keen to have something else on.

"The rest is almost history."

Full info www.xterrawellingtonfestival.co.nz