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Father and Son Set for Traithlon Debut in Rotorua

17th November 2009

Todd and Nicola Wakerley are just your ordinary every day Kiwis “ or so they appear on the surface. Scratch a little deeper and a story of family bonding and great role modeling emerges as Todd and son Sam contemplate their first triathlon.

Todd is in training for his first triathlon this weekend at the Contact Tri Series in Rotorua but he's not alone. Todd's 7 year old son Sam will also be taking his first steps into the fastest growing sport in New Zealand when he races in the children™s Contact 1:2:1 race at the Blue Lake on Sunday morning.

Sam's motivation is easy to understand, he is a 7 year old boy who wants to be doing what his dad is doing, so he is going to give triathlon a go and share the experience of a first race with Dad, what could be better for a 7 year old boy?

Todd says the short distance and swim in shallow water made the decision easy for him and for Sam.

"He's a little bit nervous but he knows there is no surf in the lake so should be fine, it is more the cold he is worried about. The distance is ideal though (100m swim in shallow water, 2km flat bike and 1km run) and makes it a whole lot easier, something for Sam to try without going mental on training. He thinks he'll be okay and so do we."

Dad though has more than one reason to be motivated on Sunday. The Plant Manager with Intertruck Distributors in Tauranga explains.

"I simply started trying to get fit, having realized a few months back that I am not doing that sitting at a desk all day. So I started swimming about the middle of this year and while in the process talked a mate of mine Simon Wheatley into doing the same thing.

"Pretty soon though we realized that without a goal, we would soon get bored so we decided on a triathlon, originally aiming at the Tinman next month. But I saw the ad for the Contact Tri Series in Rotorua and decided this was a better option for a first timer to get the feel of the sport and I'll then move on to the full Tinman while Simon is going to do the sprint distance."

Fitness is not the only motivator for Todd though. Sam is one of three children to Todd and wife Nicola and both Jemma (four and a half) and Matthew (two and a half) have Cystic Fibrosis. And it so happens that Cystic Fibrosis is a charity partner to Ironman NZ, with participants able to raise funds and awareness for the charity as they themselves take on the Ironman in March.

"With Jemma and Matthew being CF kids we were made aware of the association with Ironman and have been hooked up with an absolute legend in Peter Tinholt, he is the kids buddy. So I am kind of getting into triathlon through a need to get fit and the sport quite frankly looks kind of cool but also I want to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and the work they do."

Todd is going further than that though as he also looks to raise funds for the charity via the website fundraise online. Todd has his own page there and is hoping that through his participation in the sport, others will feel inclined to donate.

The bottom line though for Todd is to send the right message to his kids, to set the best example he can for his family.

"I am determined to do the right thing and make sure the atmosphere in our family is one where fitness is seen as worthwhile and a great thing for the family to do together and we have decided Triathlon is a great sport for us at the moment. Jemma, Matthew and Nicola will be there on Sunday cheering me and Sam on, it'll be great."

Nicola too is training but without a specific event in mind yet, perhaps something in the New Year.

You can visit Todd's fundraising page at http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz under Todd Wakerley

Contact Tri Series

Rotorua, Blue Lake

Sunday 22nd November

Start Times:


Men 8:00am

Women 8:05am


Contact Trophy

Men 9:30am

Women 9:35am



Boys and Girls 1pm

Participants in the 1:2:1 must be at least 6 years of age on race day and no older than 11

For further information please visit http://www.triathlon.org.nz


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