Geraldine gears up for active weekend

TRACY MILES
Last updated 12:01 06/03/2014
fiona mcquade

New event: Ingrid Hanrahan, Fiona McQuade and Janet Harding of Geraldine, Joanna Adam and Kirsten Hayes take part in a women's duathlon. Ms McQuade is organising the first Every Women's Duathlon of Woodbury.

hayden nelson
TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Hayden Nelson was one of the many competitors in last year's Geraldine Cycle Challenge.

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Geraldine will be busy with bikes and lycra in mid-March with the annual cycle challenge being augmented with a new women's duathlon.

The inaugural Every Women's Duathlon is being held on Saturday, the day before the Geraldine Lions Annual Cycle Challenge.

Organiser Fiona McQuade said the timing was deliberate so that people coming for the cycle challenge could make a weekend of it, with women and girls doing the duathlon or both.

As an entry level duathlon, it was suitable for all women who would like to take on a new challenge.

Every ability, shape and size was welcome. The course can be walked or run and the cycling is on sealed roads and the emphasis is on completing not competing.

Ms McQuade said she had been thinking about kicking off the duathlon for about three years, after a similar women's series which she had participated in ceased running.

With her children attending Woodbury School, she decided the time was right to launch the event as a fundraiser for the school.

With the help of sponsorship from South Canterbury businesses, 100 per cent of the registration fees are able to be donated to the school.

So far 76 entries have been received raising $2300 and she is aiming for 100 and $3500.

As well as coming from South Canterbury, entrants have come from Christchurch and one from Dunedin, with those from further afield tending to be more experienced duathletes.

Many of the Geraldine entrants, however, were novices and one had thanked her for providing a fitness goal to work towards.

There were also retired women who planned to walk and the youngest was a seven-year-old who would be doing it with her mother.

In future years, she plans to scale it up every year or two by adding a men's event as well as events for both men and women, a half marathon and potentially kayaking and mountainbiking legs.

It cost $35 per entry up to the week before the event, but thereafter $40 per entry.

The picturesque course covers 17.5 kilometres through the Woodbury area with the first leg starting from Woodbury Domain being a walk or run over 3.5km, the second leg being a 12.5km bike and the third leg is a 1.5km walk/run.

Registration is at 8.30am with the race starting at 10.30am. Refreshments and a playground will be available at the domain for dads to keep the children entertained during the event which will probably be finished by 12.30-1pm, Ms McQuade said.

There will be spot prizes and everyone will have their time recorded.

See the website everywomens duathlon.co.nz

CYCLING EVENT CHALLENGES ALL

Organisers of the Geraldine Lions Annual Cycle Challenge are expecting 350 to 400 people in this year's event.

With such a sizeable field for all ages and abilities, the challenge, on Sunday, March 16, requires much background support, publicity officer Mark Worden said.

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Along the course, which starts at Orari Racecourse, there will be 30 marshalls from Lions, Geraldine Lionesses and members of the public, overseen by John Burridge.

Following at the rear will be six Lions on quad bikes to ensure that no-one gets left behind.

Mr Burridge will be in mobile-phone contact with the marshalls and will have an emergency response team on call.

This team, led by Lion Jim Hopa, will be based at the Orari race course, and if needed, will be dispatched in four-wheel-drive vehicles. St John will also be in attendance.

In all, about 60 people are needed to ensure a successful, fun day, Mr Worden said.

The challenge is open to all abilities, with an 18 kilometre recreational ride aimed at mums and dads with young children.

Then there is a 32km intermediate ride for the keen amateurs, or the full 56km challenge for the ultra-fit mountain bikers.

Following requests from riders last year, new signs will be set along the tracks at low level to guide riders.

After the race day, high-level, permanent-direction signs will be installed along the tracks.

A barbecue and tea and coffee will be available at the racecourse. Mr Worden said the "world-famous secret-recipe burgers" and a sausage sizzle, along with a cold drink, are included in the entry fee.

Non-entrants can also purchase food and drinks while the riders are out.

The tracks sustained major damage from fallen trees in the storms last September.

But the Lions, local companies and the public have helped clear the track.

"However, as little as four weeks ago a two-kilometre section of single lane track along the river was still blocked," Mr Worden said.

"It was looking doubtful if this could be cleared, but with hard work and determination, volunteers and a local company who loaned a Bobcat and driver cleared a way through."

Mr Worden said Lions was grateful to everyone who helped, and hoped the public would make use of the tracks.

The proceeds of this year's challenge will go to Ronald McDonald House.

Last year, $10,000 was raised for Westpac Rescue Helicopters.

SOUTH CANTERBURY HERALD

- South Canterbury

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