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Contact 3:9:3 Ready For Launch In Rotorua

12th November 2008


Contact 3:9:3 Ready For Launch In Rotorua!


The first ever Contact 3:9:3 triathlon is now just over a week away from its November 23rd debut in the Contact Tri Series with Rotorua’s Blue Lake set to host the first of a new race designed for the novice or nervous athlete with Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters amongst the starters.

Tri NZ Event Manager Richard Sceats says the organization has high hopes for the Contact 3:9:3 given its obvious appeal to the wider New Zealand population with a 300m swim, 9km bike ride and 3km run to finish.

“In some ways we are victims of our own success with the profile of our elite athletes sometimes creating the wrong impression with grass roots New Zealand.

“Beneath the level of the Docherty’s, Gemmell’s, Warriner’s and Hewitt’s of this world there is a whole community of social or participation based athletes and events. Indeed the sport is renowned for its camaraderie and community spirit, our job is to introduce this to a wider audience.

“The Contact 3:9:3 sets out to achieve this with an achievable race distance, easy course layout and little or no need for lycra! This is the race where you turn up with your mountain bike and rugby shorts and feel a part of the triathlon community!”

Taking advantage of the teams option available in the race are local radio identities from Classic Hits and a team from the council, with General Manager of The Radio Network Rotorua Aaran Gillions admitting to some pre race rivalry.

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“We are looking forward to the event and welcome the challenge from the council, anything that can motivate people to get active and healthy has got to be good for our community.”

Sarah van der Kley will swim for the Classic Hits team, Luke Valentine will bike and journalist James Williams will bring them home with the 3km run. Gillions says experience amongst the trio is a little thin on the ground.

“Basically there is no experience of triathlons in the team but I am sure determination and a sense of fun will overcome this on the day.

“Sarah has had no experience at all in this or a great deal of sport generally but has taken to her preparation superbly. She has been involved with the local club over last few weeks, taking advantage of their coaching sessions.

“Luke is the same boat but is confident he will handle the 9km bike ride on the little preparation he has found time to do. James meanwhile is without question the athlete amongst us, thanks largely to his gym membership!”

Gillions himself is competing as an individual in the Contact 3:9:3, calling the race the perfect way to introduce himself to another season of racing in which he hopes to complete a couple of standard distance races.

The council team meanwhile is led by Mayor Kevin Winters but has great guidance from local Tri Club member Emily Pritchard. Pritchard is using the event as a way back into the sport after the recent birth of her son while the third member of the team Martin Croft is a little more nervous about his role.

“Without doubt the Mayor is the star of the team and I expect that he and Emily will hand me a decent lead for the run, one I’m sure I can hold on to. Kevin is a keen mountain biker so will cope with the 9km ride with ease and Emily will breeze through the 300m swim.

“I am two years into my recovery from a knee operation but I’m sure I can cope with the 3km run without issue. My go used to be rugby until the knee operation curtailed my involvement but this is a great event and a great way to breathe some air into the lungs in a great social environment.”

Croft might be the least credentialed of his team but he is quick to give the Classic Hits crew a quiet sledge.

“We will clean up; I have no doubt of that. They are no chance against our class with Emily’s experience and the Mayor’s speed on the bike, we will be fine.”

Contact Tri Series

Blue Lake, Rotorua

November 23rd 2008



Contact U19 – selection race for 2009 Australian Youth Olympics

750m swim (1 lap), 20km cycle (2 laps) out to the buried village. 5km (1lap)

Contact Trophy

1500m Swim (2 laps), 40km Cycle (5 laps) hilly, 11km run two 5.5km laps around the blue lake

Contact 3:9:3

300m swim (close to the shore), 9km cycle (flat course to buried village), 3km run (flat 1 lap)


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