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Gisborne’s Olympic Pool often has people coming in saying they would like to swim more often but just need a little “kick in the bum” to get in the pool. The first ever ‘Swim to Mahia’ challenge is just that. August and September is a time when many people start thinking about their personal fitness so this is about challenging participants to swim the 45.5 kilometres to Mahia.
Forget about rough, cold seas and dark shapes lurking under the waves; this challenge will be held in the warmth and safety of the Olympic Pool’s comfortable 27.4 degree pool. Pool staff and participants will work together, tracking progress. A leader board and map will be on display so participants can check their overall progress and compare with friends or family
Swimming 45.5 kilometres - the equivalent distance of swimming from Midway Beach to Mahia Beach – is a challenging but achievable goal for most people says Olympic Pool receptionist Shannon Friday. “It provides motivation at a time of year when motivation can be hard to find. Rather than forcing a direct competition, the ‘Swim to Mahia’ challenge allows each participant to choose their level of commitment. It is about personal motivation, slowly working towards a goal and accomplishing something extraordinary.
“The idea came from a walk that my mom did back home in the USA. Mom and her friends did a virtual walk from my hometown of Atlantic to a nearby city. The format was the same: every day my mom and her friends would walk at the gym and total up their daily distance. At the end, they all went on a shopping trip to the city. The Swim to Mahia challenge is really taken from that; it is a virtual distance challenge with local landmarks as reference points. I think it helps people really put in mind how much they’ve done. They can say, ‘Wow, I’ve already swum to Young Nick’s Head, and it takes me twenty minutes to even drive there!’ It just makes the accomplishment that much more real.”
“It makes a great workplace or sports team challenge. Four staff members at the pools have signed up and it will be exciting to see if we all make it. It’s also great for people who are learning to swim or want to get back into it after a break. That is why I’m doing it. We’ve also had a lot of swimmers coming in who want to up their game and just get a little more serious about their swimming and maybe be a little more consistent with their time in the pool.”
We have had a great response from local businesses. On the Beach will host the prize giving, where we’ll be giving out spot prizes from Outline Health Studios, YMCA, Bikey’s, and iSite which anyone can win. The grand prize is two nights’ stay in a Mahia Peninsula Holiday Home.
For an entry fee of $50 each participant gets two months’ unlimited personal entry to the Olympic a Swim to Mahia Challenge cap, and a chance to win the grand prize: a weekend’s stay in a Mahia Peninsula holiday home. As swimmers work their way to Mahia, they can earn additional entries into the prize pool.