Southlanders involved in Samoa Triathlon

Last updated 05:00 01/05/2014

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Two New Zealand triathlon enthusiasts are back on board organising the annual Samoa Triathlon.

Southland Triathlon Club life member Bill Roxburgh and Invercargill triathlon legend Sid Cumming are preparing to host their second triathlon in Manase, on the island of Savaii, in a bid to boost both tourism and triathlon in the region.

Roxburgh, who will be the event director, was delighted with how the inaugural event went last year. It attracted more than 60 competitors and their supporters, and he believed more triathletes would take part this year as word of the event spread around the world.

He already had a contingent of around 20 athletes from Cromwell, where he lived, confirmed to take part this year.

New Zealand Travel Brokers had come on board this year to help arrange travel packages, and the event was also being heavily promoted throughout New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

Roxburgh knew the island of Savaii well and was good friends with prominent lawyer Trevor Stevenson, who owns Stevenson's Resort in Manase, where the event will be based.

The course includes a 1300m swim in clear, blue seas, a 60km bike ride alongside the ocean before veering through a tropical rainforest, all on tar-sealed roads, and a 14km run that will pass through some of the villages on the island.

"The course is very unique, which is what will attract a lot of the competitors. We also had lots of feedback from the participants last year, who couldn't believe how friendly the local people were," Roxburgh said.

Other events on offer include a fun run, an open-water swim, the Mt Matavanu crater run - which is a 6km run up the volcano and a 6km run down through a tropical rainforest - and a children's aquathon.

Roxburgh believed it was important to get the island's children, most of whom would not have taken part in that sort of event before, involved in the children's event.

The festival starts on October 4, when Cumming - one of the country's top triathlon coaches, having coached five world champions and a youth Olympic gold medallist - will host a training camp before the event.

The other events will follow, with the highlight being the main race on October 11.

Organisers have kept entry prices as low as possible, as well as adding some extra events. Entry not only includes a well-organised event in a tropical paradise but a fiafia (cultural) night, a carbo-loading party, post-race barbecue, free entry for children in the kids' aquathon, entry to the Hi 5 open-water swim, a race T-shirt and spot prizes.

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Entries are open online now at samoatri.com with early bird pricing now available. More information about the triathlon is also available on the website.

What: Samoa Triathlon
Where: Manase, Savaii, Samoa
When: October 11 (festival programme starts on October 4 with various events)
How to enter: See samoatri.com

- The Southland Times

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