Toby's trainer wheels come off as kids 'tri' their best

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 12:00 24/03/2014

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Healthier lifestyles were within grasp at the Sport Manawatu Whanau Tri, where hundreds of people ran, biked and swam to improve their wellbeing.

The event, held at the Lido Aquatic Centre in Palmerston North on Sunday, saw about 810 people pre-register or turn up on the day to participate in the annual event.

Three different triathlon lengths were available, as well as a duathlon and a tamariki tri for children.

Last year, 622 people took part, with entrants ranging from 4 to 84 years old.

Ren Ratima, from Palmerston North, signed up for the Whanau Tri yesterday as a "last-minute thing".

"I took part because it was something to keep my fitness up and to help me train for the IronMaori in November," she said. "It was really good, an awesome event.

"There were a lot of kids out there doing the long event."

Randi Heihei, from Levin, pre-registered for the event with his two grandsons after taking part in the 10-week training programme by Sport Manawatu.

"We all want to get fitter and healthier," he said. "I think we ran very well, we might have been way down the line finishing but we won for ourselves.

"The mokopuna said well done to me, and that they loved it and wanted to come back next year."

Sport Manawatu acting chief executive Kelly Johnson had a nervous wait while her own children took part.

"My boys, Quin, who is 7, and Toby, who is 5, loved competing in the tamariki tri and they gave it their all," she said. "We literally just took Toby's trainer wheels off last week so I was a little nervous how he would go but he did amazing.

"It's a great entry level event to build their confidence."

Ms Johnson said it was quite an emotional event, with so many people taking part and supporting others.

"The event was a great success, proving that no matter your age, ability or fitness level, you can get out there and be active, and most importantly have fun doing it," she said. "We hope that this is just the start of everyone's journey and we look forward to seeing them out and active in their communities on a regular basis."

Programme director Estelle Speirs she was humbled to see "everyone stick around and cheer on, not only their family and friends, but complete strangers".

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- Manawatu Standard

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