It's autumn, but stay off the sofa

PETER GIBBS
Last updated 12:00 11/04/2014

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The start of autumn possibly marks the annual peak in the fitness of the average body.

We've had all summer to be out and active and as the days grow shorter we'll be more inclined to skip that run or bike ride in favour of cowering on the couch.

Don't let that happen yet - there's a lot of exercising still to be done. Even if you're not a finely tuned athlete, there are many events to enjoy coming up.

On Sunday it's the City2Saxton Run, Roll and Stroll. Running or strolling are easy to figure out. The roll option is for those on small wheels - skateboards, roller blades, skates, wheelchairs or mobility scooters (not bikes though).

The event starts at Victory Community Centre and gives you a tour of the fine shared pathways between Nelson and Richmond.

You can drive and park at Saxton Field and jump on the free bus to the start line. The bus leaves at 8.15am.

Following the pre-event formalities and warmup, the first section is the slight incline up the Railway Reserve to Beatsons Rd, then down to Whakatu Drive.

Some interesting engineering features take you across the overbridge and through the tunnel to come out by the World of WearableArt complex.

Cross Quarantine Rd and continue on the walkway to Monaco. Onward past the Honest Lawyer on the walkway until you turn off behind Bunnings and take the tunnel that leads to the finish at Saxton Field, where you can take a break and enjoy the post-race festivities.

Last year around 300 people took part and numbers seem likely to rise this year. If you left your car at the start line, another bus will take you back after the event, but remember to bring a bit of cash in case you're tempted at the finish line.

That event is a bit dear to my heart, as I was involved in setting it up last year and will be helping out again on Sunday.

You can find out more and put in your entry at sporttasman.org.nz.

Another mass-participation event I've been even more involved in is the Shoe Clinic Mountainbike Duathlon Series at Rabbit Island, starting in two weeks, on Sunday, April 27, and continuing at fortnightly intervals through May.

This year's series will be the tenth. It's organised by the Nelson Triathlon Club.

The very thought of triathlon can be intimidating, with thoughts of finely tuned competitors going from wetsuits to hi-tech bikes before sprinting off on the run at impossibly high speeds.

Triathlons aren't really like that and this duathlon series is even more not like that.

When I dreamed up the series in 2005, the aim was for the events to be accessible to people of all ages and abilities and for technology not to be an issue.

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There are two distance options at each of the three races. The shorter involves competitors running or walking 2km through the forest, then jumping on their bikes and riding 9km on a variety of terrain.

The rides are interesting and at least one point most people will get off for a hill, but it is not difficult or impossible for riders of any ability.

On completion of the bike ride, there's another 2km run before competitors give in to the smell of fish and sausages cooking on the free barbecue.

More adventurous competitors will take on the full course, twice as far as the short option, with two laps of each discipline, passing through the transition area of Conifer Park on each circuit.

There'll be a familiarisation ride over the course at 10am on Sunday, April 20, so you can see what lies ahead (at low speed).

In the meantime, check out the race website by following the link at nelsontriclub.co.nz.

- Nelson

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