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Rotorua will this weekend play host to the opening round of the 2010-11 Contact Tri Series with a host of race distances for all participants from beginners up based at the Blue Lake on Sunday morning on a day that will also feature a 2011 World Duathlon Championships selection race for all age group athletes over the age of 18.
Heeding advice from participants last year, the Contact Tri Series has added a sprint distance event to the Rotorua schedule, providing for an easier race to start the season while still offering the standard distance event with team racing an option for all events further encouraging first timers into the sport.
For the children there is the Contact 1:2:1 (100m swim, 2km bike, 1km run) and for beginners the increasingly popular Contact 3:9:3 (300m swim, 9km bike, 3km run), both of which have already attracted good numbers.
Tri NZ Event Manager Haidee Stratford says the day promises something for everyone in a stunning environment, with team entries welcome across most races throughout the day.
“We have races for all ages and all abilities on Sunday and have offered teh sprint distance for those who want to ease into their season. You could turn up with the whole family and find a race for each and every person, regardless of age or experience in the sport. We are also encouraging team entries – that way you can get together with a couple of friends and give the sport a go within your comfort zones.
“And what a venue to race at, the Blue Lake and surrounding area is just amazing. Participants will swim in the beautiful clear water, ride on the surrounding roads and then run around the lake in pristine bush and forest that borders the lake; it is just inspiring and adds to the experience.”
Rotorua will also play host to a selection race for the 2011 World Duathlon Championships with spots up for grabs in all age group categories from 18 years and over.
Entries are still very much open online and will be taken on the www.triseries.co.nz website until 5pm on Friday 26th November with registration the day before the event at Grant Johnstone Suzuki from 3pm to 5pm.
Amongst those participating will be Rotorua mother of two Kerris Browne, for whom triathlon has become so much more than just a sport. It’s become a way of life.
After being convinced to enter a mud run through work and having a heap of fun, she decided to join the Rotorua City Athletics Club to work on her fitness following 20 years stuck behind a desk. But a knee injury kept flaring up and threatened to end her fun – that was until a few wise words from her mother.
“My mum said ‘you’re really going to have to get into triathlons because once the knees go the running has to fall away and the swimming and biking is so good for you’.”
Kerris was pretty unsure at first but was determined to give it a go. She finished last in her first ever event, an aquathlon, but crossed the line with a smile on her face.
Along the way she’s had to shoulder physical limitations with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and only 50% function in one lung, which sometimes leaves her struggling for air as if she has asthma.
But the one thing that motivates Kerris to battle on is that she doesn’t care if she comes last.
“It’s all about gradual baby steps. It’s like taking a baby and saying ‘here run a marathon’ - forget it. But if you hold a baby up to the couch and say ‘here just one step’ then it becomes achievable,” she says.
“Triathlon isn’t what it looks like, it’s actually for the beginner too and as long as you’re prepared to come last everyone would love to see you. I think everyone out there should do a triathlon but it’s about taking small steps to get to that point.
“Part of my motivation is that I’m never going to be a pro but why not give it a go? I use that motivation to get other people that can physically do better than me to achieve their goals.
“It’s really great to see people who are thinking ‘no I can’t do that’ before an event and then watch them prove they actually can.”
Kerris is the true essence of triathlon in New Zealand and has pledged to keep helping others realise their potential in the sport.
Contact Tri Series Rotorua
Sunday 28 November
Events (team categories available in all distances except 1:2:1 and Duathlon):
Grant Johnstone Suzuki, Saturday 3pm to 5pm
Blue Lake, Sunday 7am
Trophy - Standard Duathlon Selection Race Contact 3:9:3 Contact 1:2:1 Prize-Giving 1:30pm approx
Men and Women 9:30am
Trophy - Standard
Duathlon Selection Race
Prize-Giving 1:30pm approx