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Orana Wildlife Park Duathlon Goes into the Twilight Zone

17 December 2015

Orana Wildlife Park Duathlon Goes into the Twilight Zone

The fourth event of the Sovereign Tri Series is fast approaching and it’s a wild one – racing through stunning Canterbury countryside and finishing amongst the amazing animals of Orana Wildlife Park in the Christchurch Duathlon but there is a new twist, the 2016 race is positioned in the twilight of a summers evening on January 16.

It’s the second year of the partnership between the Sovereign Tri Series and Orana Wildlife Park and after the successful first event, next January will see the event hosted on a summer Saturday evening, perfect for families.

Racing will get underway at the most civil hour of 4.30pm on a course similar to last year on largely flat, rolling countryside with much of the run in the Park amongst the wildlife.

The later time is also a boost to participants, supporters and families who want to spend some time visiting the park earlier in the day with the much talked about Gorilla enclosure now open.

Orana Wildlife Park Marketing and Visitor Serivces Manager Nathan Hawke encourages people to register for the Duo, but then spend the day in the zoo prior to the race, to check out all the park has to offer.

“It’s been a significant year for Orana Wildlife Park, we have just completed the biggest project in the zoos history – a $6 million Great Ape Centre that is now home to New Zealand’s only gorillas.

“We encourage participants, families and supporters to come and meet our three gorilla boys – Fataki, our 12-year old silverback weighs 190kgs! We will have opportunities to hand feed the majestic giraffes, see our rhino face-to-face, view our Tasmanian Devils and observe Kiwi and a wide range of native fauna.”

Triathlon New Zealand CEO Craig Waugh says the event is a special one for the sport, continuing a strong commitment to host an event in the wider Canterbury region in the post-earthquake era.

“Ever since the earthquakes Tri NZ has worked hard to maintain a presence in the region. We were one of the first sports to do so, to show solidarity with the people of Christchurch and see the need for events to continue to be hosted there, for people to continue to have opportunities to participate in sport and to get back to some sort of a semblance of a ‘normal’ routine.

“For a number of years we were at Pegasus but the growth out there and the need to be closer to the city has seen us move to Orana Wildlife Park, delivering a unique event, one that is all about the beginner and novice as well as the experienced athlete. We have a race for the entire family on January 16 and look forward to seeing the people of Canterbury come out and show their support in return.”

Sovereign Tri Series Event Director Stuart Dwight underlines those sentiments.

“Yes we have a race to suit the guns, but the Orana Wildlife Park Duathlon is not about those with some experience under the race belt. It is about the kids fun run (1km), the short distance Duathlon for mums, dads, grandparents – anyone who can jog or walk a short distance and pedal a bike to the shops and back!

“Those events combined with the location in an iconic Canterbury tourist attraction and the chance to see the new Great Ape Centre adds up to a terrific family day.”

The animals typically move off display from 4.30 in the afternoon but as a special concession for the Sovereign sponsored event, some animals will remain out so that runners can see them as they pass through the Park. The animals on display will include cheetah, waterbuck, rhino, giraffe, zebra, bison and yak. Competitors will also get a glimpse of lions, will hear lemurs and may see monkey and meerkats as they make their way to the finish line inside the Park.


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