Fit and healthy family day out

SVEN HERSELMAN
Last updated 15:25 03/10/2012

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There are just a little more than two weeks to go before entries close for the sixth annual Earthcare Environmental Marlborough Kids Duathlon.

The event, which caters for kids as young as six, has grown to become one of the biggest multi-sport events for youngsters in the Marlborough region.

About 400 children aged six to 17 are expected this year, competing over two courses.

Organising committee member Iona Jones said: "The main idea behind the event is to get kids out there and taking part in sport.

"There are no winners and everyone gets a goodie bag and a T-shirt.

"They will also get their names on their race numbers." There will also be a large number of spot prizes being given out, including a brand new mountain bike sponsored by Avantiplus Blenheim and $400 worth of sports gear from Mitchell Sports.

There will also be a prize of two unicycles for the school that enters the most pupils.

"That will be relative to their roll, so it will give all the schools - big and small - a chance to win," Iona said.

"We bought the unicycles with a grant from Bluegrass; we wanted to do something different with the prize this year."

The popularity of the event has resulted in the cut-off age for the youngest competitors being lowered over the years, with the cut-off age now six this year, for the first time.

The duathlon will be held at Brancott Estate, which will offer a great off-road vineyard setting, on November 4.

Racing will take place over two courses. The short course is a 1 kilometre run or walk, 3km bike ride and 1km run, and the long course is a 2km run, 5km bike ride and 1km run to finish.

"There aren't any age categories and the kids can do whichever course they feel they can manage according to their fitness," Iona said.

"There aren't really any multi-sport events like this in our region so it's great to have this one and the kids really enjoy themselves."

She added that schools from around the top of the South Island, such as Nelson, Kaikoura and Picton as well as two schools in Wellington had already entered.

Entries are being restricted to no more than 500 this year, with the event taking place regardless of weather.

More than just a race, the event promises to be a great family day out with food stalls like a sausage sizzle to keep everyone well fed and happy.

For more information visit the website kidsdu.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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