The 27th annual Triple Peaks Challenge was raced in hot conditions in Hawke’s Bay on Saturday. With a slightly longer course of 47.8 km the event was never going to be easy, but the high temperature certainly added to the days challenge. With some unfortunate clashes of event dates the numbers of competitors was down slightly, but the day still attracted over 500 competitors to the event with some internationals also discovering this Iconic event.
The event that is an important fixture to the local community has a special feel with unique things like the local churches providing a hospitality tent and lots of activities for spectators to do. The event has great partnership with the Kiwi Adventure Trust and World Vision to positively impact communities local and global.
‘I believe that the 2015 event will be remembered as the year we opened a new chapter of the event with what will be a great co-authoring of the triple Peaks Challenges future story’ Race Director David Tait said. It is also fair to say that the day will be remembered as ‘that year that the world discovered the event’ with a huge increase in international competitors. The most noticeable international entry was that of Yanqiao Yun from China who turned up as the registration team were packing up on Friday night and asked about the event, Mr Tait said ‘He turned up and said How big is the Cup? I told him the cup was not that big, but it was an amazing race unlike anything you have done with two river crossing and three large mountains it.
I also told Yanqiao that the cup is called the possum cup as it has a possum in it, which is a fluffy round creature when in trees and a flat hard object when on roads’ Mr Yun decided to enter and consequently smashed all previous records finishing the event in 3:49:29 with Graham Butcher (Masterton) in second finishing in a time that in previous years would have won the race with a time of 04:35:03. Mr Yun said that the race was very beautiful and well-marked and marshalled and he took it easy for the first hill as he did not want to get lost but then decided to push it a bit harder as he felt he wasn’t going to get loose his way. Mr Yun like most athletes enjoyed the river crossing and he had a little swim in the deep water.
The weather forecasts of the 2015 event were very different to those of 2014. The previous years event was threatened by a cyclone and in the interest of competitor safety the race was modified to allow for a race to still be held but competitor well-being not be compromised.
The 2015 event was very hot and many competitors found the conditions challenging and one competitor was winched off the Te Mata Peak Section by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter. Apart from the competitor needing evacuating due to a heat related condition there were very few other injuries or issues. ‘I was very impressed at the way competitors and supporters helped each other, with many stories of comradery and I have thanked a couple of people for their acts of kindness. At the end of the day an event is made or broken by those involved in it and we have some great people out there’ Mr Tait said.
The Mountain bike race was fast with low grass lengths and firm ground, Gary Hall finished just ahead of Luke Osborne (Hastings NZ) in a time of 2:48:08 and 2:49:17 respectively with Dan Warren (Hastings NZ) in third in 5:56:17. In the Solo Te Mata Traverse (12km run) former Olympic cyclist Michele Rennie (Gisborne NZ) finished first ahead of some competitive male runners in a time of 1:04:14 with Matthew Betesta (Hastings NZ)12 seconds behind and Samuel Young (Alaska) in third 35 seconds back. The Teams race was interesting with Crocs And Socks in first in 4:20:15, Rivers to Ranges in second in 4:20:15 and Team Peak Plumbing in third. In the Teams mountain bike there was theme with two Wheely Tired teams entering the race with Wheely Tire finishing 1st and Wheely Tired Two in second, Back Institute Trail Blazers were third.
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