Multi-event end to sporting summer

JESSICA MADDOCK IN WANAKA
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013

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The hot weather is forecast to continue in Central Otago but the season will be farewelled this weekend with the Summer Send Off Festival of Sport.

The four-event festival will be held mainly around Wanaka tomorrow and on Sunday.

Sixty people have entered the first event, the Outside Sports Alpine Classic, a gruelling 140km road cycling race from Queenstown to Wanaka and back over the country's highest state highway, the Crown Range road.

Individual riders or teams of two to four can use either road or mountainbikes for the race. The other three events will be held on Sunday. They include a four-hour mountainbike race by individuals or teams on the Dublin Bay track, which runs alongside the Clutha River at Deans Bank.

Wanaka multisport athlete Dougal Allan, who was third in this month's Coast to Coast one-day individual race, is among the entrants.

There will also be a triathlon and a multisport event on Sunday.

Entrants in the Aqua Terra Off-Road Triathlon will swim 1km in Lake Wanaka, cover 28km on mountainbikes over the Hikuai network plus two laps of the Deans Bank track, and finish with a 10km trail run from the race headquarters at the Albert Town camping ground towards lower Albert Town and back.

The Aqua Terra Off-Road Multisport event will involve kayaking 4km from the Outlet boat ramp, where Lake Wanaka flows into the Clutha River, downstream to the Albert Town camping ground and two laps of the Dublin Bay Track, or 28km, on a mountainbike.

Competitors will then kayak 15km from the Albert Town bridge to the Red Bridge in Luggate, before running 14km back to the Albert Town camping ground on a track alongside the Clutha River.

A fifth event - a half marathon and 15km fun run - has been cancelled because of a lack of interest.

Co-organiser Tania Tuck said, so far, 50 people had entered the Sunday events.

These include a group of Italian tourists who are holidaying in the area and have entered the multisport event.

A couple of Mt Aspiring College teams have also entered the mountainbike race.

"That's what we want to encourage - [to] get the youngsters doing it," Tuck said.

The number of entries is down on previous years.

However, entries will be taken on the day.

It was the third year the festival had been held but the format had changed, she said.

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- The Southland Times

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