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If you strolled along Takapuna Beach this Tuesday night, you could be forgiven for thinking you had walked into a rerun of the Halberg Awards ‘beach style’, such is the range of sporting stars and celebrities lining up in the North Shore City Beach Series.
An incredible array of sporting stars past and present will mingle with an equal dose of celebrity talent for the popular event that offers a choice of events in disciplines of paddling, swimming and running.
Leading the way is Ironman favourite Cameron Brown who will line up in the 1.5km swim as a final tune up for Bonita Ironman New Zealand in Taupo on Saturday, when he aims up for his 8th title.
And in a fascinating twist, Kieran Doe, the man tipped as Brown’s biggest challenger in the 25th Anniversary Ironman NZ on Saturday will also be there tomorrow night in what looms as a prequel to the big day in Taupo.
Brown won’t be getting carried away though, the 36 year old has specific reasons for swimming tomorrow, and winning may not be one of them.
“Tomorrow night will be my last ocean swim before Saturday so for me it is more about fine tuning and I am wearing a new wetsuit so it is another chance to get comfortable in that.
“The swim is so important on Ironman day to getting a good start and feeling good about yourself and the long day ahead. Tomorrow night is a nice dress rehearsal at a good event and in good company, it will be fun with a serious element to it.”
But Brown and Doe won’t hog the limelight. They are in good company with an array of 2008 Olympians, leading television actors and the incredible story of Rob Matthews, a man who doesn’t let his blindness get in the way of participating in sport and in particular multi-sport events.
Also racing is:
• Debbie Tanner – 2008 Olympian Triathlete
• Steve Ferguson - will race straight off the NZ Kayaking Championships this past weekend, 2008 Olympian
• Erin Taylor - 2008 Olympian Kayaker
• Katie Pocock - World Cup winner Perth 2009
• Ben Fouhy - doing the swim for Ironman this weekend! 2008 Olympian
• Blind athlete Rob Matthews competing alongside guide Spencer Vickers
• Tania Dalton (Former Silver Fern)
• Kiel McNaughton (plays James ‘Scotty’ Scott on Shortland Street)
• Faye Smythe (plays Tania on Shortland Street)
The North Shore City Beach Series offers three disciplines each Tuesday night over summer, with competitors able to choose each week between an ocean paddle, ocean swim or a beach run.
The series has once again proven hugely popular with locals of all backgrounds with thousands taking part throughout the summer, some chasing the points and prize money but many more for the fun and enjoyment while also getting a little fitter.
Series Director Scott Rice says the summer has seen plenty of highlights but Tuesday night is shaping up as the best of the year.
“We have a lot of fun each week with this event and it has been growing year upon year. This is primarily thanks to everyday Kiwis who want to take part in something a bit different each week of the summer and we get plenty who mix and match the races they take part in from the swim to the run and even the paddle.
“But Tuesday night during Ironman week is always a big one and to have Cameron and Kieran choosing our event for their final tune up is huge, what an honour to have guys of this class taking part.
“Add to them the list of Olympians and stars in all disciplines as well as the amazing story of Rob Matthews and I don’t quite know which way to turn! It will be a great night with a big turnout I’m sure. It’s not often you can say you raced an Ironman legend or Olympian at Takapuna Beach.”