Biggest field yet for schools’ triathlon

Sports gala . . . There were brilliant conditions and a great turnout at this year’s Clutha primary and intermediate schools’ triathlon at Centennial Park, Balclutha. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

This year’s Clutha primary and intermediate schools’ triathlon was the biggest so far, organisers say, after 270 participants from 18 schools gathered at Balclutha’s Centennial Park on Tuesday last week.

The event was postponed in April due to Covid›19, but as the nation appears to be springing out of pandemic restrictions, Sport Clutha’s regional co› ordinator Craig Gordon said participation was up 5% on 2021 with an especially positive increase in the teams competition.

The three›discipline event consisted of a 2km run, 4km cycle and 100m swim for years 5›6, and 3km run, 6km cycle and 150m swim for years 7›8.

Spirits were high throughout the gala›style occasion and scores of adult supporters joined the crowd, watching in ideal conditions as dedicated youngsters put a serious effort into their races.

Some close battles came down to good code transition to get just seconds ahead of the opposition.

Notable achievers included Harry and Travis Winterbourne (years 5 and 6 respectively), of Heriot School, whose fast finishes even bested the teams in their age groups.

The top three teams and top six individuals qualified for the Otago primary triathlon championships on November 10 in Owaka, which Gordon described as a safe, clean course and ideal opportunity for the Catlins town to showcase its new swimming pool.

‘‘We love holding the triathlon. From the many children trying it for the first time to those who know it and are trying to go faster, it’s great to see them pushing themselves and the enjoyment they get from the event,’’ Gordon said.

‘‘We had around 30volunteers and marshals. It’s inspiring to have the community assisting their hard›working young athletes and Sport Otago on the day.’’