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Dates and venues for the ever popular Contact Tri Series were released today, with the highlight being a new (warmer) date and joint venture event in Rotorua, the return of Oceania titles at the Wellington Standard Distance Nationals and the introduction of Teams racing at the National Sprint Championships in Kinloch.
The seven event series also visits Whangamata, Christchurch, Wanaka and Takapuna throughout the summer.
Rotorua sees the biggest change, with the traditional early season November event moving back a month to the slightly warmer conditions of December 15, sharing the day and the stunning Blue Lake location with the Rotorua Half Ironman.
Triathlon New Zealand Event Manager Kate Blood says the move should be welcome news to participants looking to kick-start their summer.
"We have for a long time been looking for a move to December, allowing water and air temperatures to warm up a little, making the event more palatable for all participants. The calendar is a very congested one however and this has made any change of dates difficult, at least that was the case until we entered very fruitful discussions with Shane Hookes and his Rotorua Half Ironman event.
"The Contact Tri Series races will now share the day with the Rotorua Half Ironman, leading to what we hope becomes a festival day of triathlon. There will be races for everyone from the children's 1:2:1, the 3:9:3, the sprint race and the Half Ironman. Family and friends of those competing in the Half Ironman will actually be able to see them away in their race, and then take part in a shorter race of their own before welcoming the Half competitors home across the same finish line at the edge of the Blue Lake.”
The combination of the two events has the backing of the Rotorua District Council.
In other news the ever popular Kinloch round of the Contact Tri Series will give competitors another chance to race in the regularly sold out event, with the introduction of Teams racing, for the fast growing discipline of the sport, one that will feature at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Blood says the new format will allow more people to enjoy racing in the idyllic surroundings of Lake Taupo.
"Kinloch is hugely popular, both for the Sprint National titles on the line but also because of the venue and time of year (Waitangi weekend). We have enjoyed great support from the local council and residents to allow competitors the chance to race in the individual events on the Saturday morning with the elites in the late afternoon before many will I'm sure return on the Sunday morning for the Teams racing.
"We are encouraging some regional rivalry with people asked to identify the region they wish to represent, with points earned towards an overall regional Teams title. This is over and above age group and elite team titles that will be up for grabs, with racing sure to be fierce, in particular amongst the elites.”
Wellington will see a return to a full schedule of racing, including the elites chasing Oceania and National standard distance titles after 2012 saw the elites racing at the Oceania Championships in Australia on the same weekend.
Meanwhile established events at Wanaka (the Doddsy challenge), Takapuna (super sprint), Whangamata (New Year celebration) and Christchurch (Pegasus) will once again attract big fields and generate plenty of excitement from the children taking part for the first time in the 1:2:1 to the weekend warriors who just love taking part in the sport of triathlon amongst family, friends and familiar rivals.
The series has mirrored the growth and development of the sport in recent years, with many events reaching capacity. Participants are urged not to be left disappointed and to enter early in some or all events for the upcoming summer, and to get their triathlon buddies, workmates or family members together for the addition of the Teams event in Kinloch.
Entries will go live online in early July at www.triseries.co.nz and will be communicated through the Tri NZ website and social media.
Visit www.half.co.nz for information regarding the half event at Rotorua.
CTS Event Date
Rotorua – in conjunction with Rotorua Half Ironman Saturday 15th Dec 2012
Whangamata – star the New Year in style on the Coromandel Thursday 3rd Jan 2013
Christchurch – amazing flat course at Pegasus township Sunday 13th Jan 2013
Wanaka – the Doddsy Challenge is on again! Friday 18th Jan 2013
Kinloch – National Sprint Champs and teams racing Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd Feb 2013
Takapuna – Super sprint on fully closed course Sunday 17th Feb 2013
Wellington – National & Oceania Standard Distance Champs Saturday 9th March 2013