• More newcomers take part in IronMāori triathlon than ever before

More newcomers take part in IronMāori triathlon than ever before

More than 70 per cent of competitors in today's expanded IronMāori were newcomers. 

The event, which has been held in Napier for the past 12 years, saw 1100 people take part in the half and quarter triathlons. 

Founder Heather Skipworth said that with the pandemic causing many events to be cancelled, the make-up of the event was different compared to previous years, with more first-timers, and seasoned athletes taking part. 

However, the majority of participants registered in the final two weeks leading up to the event. About 60 per cent of those registered took part in the quarter event.

Skipworth said she believed the number of newcomers was due to "word of mouth". "I think it's great. I don't know if we all appreciate it as much but word of mouth was really powerful in terms of new people coming and they were just blown away."

"A lot more people that may not have done our event and a few more elite looking athletes came as well but I think they got a different kind of event - that it's all about being together and whanaungatanga and they really enjoyed it." 

The half consisted of a 2km swim, 90km cycle, and 21km run, while the quarter was slightly shorter with a 1km swim, 45km cycle and 10.5km run. 

"It was fantastic and everyone did really well. The water was a little choppy for the swim but participants did really well, particularly considering many hadn't swum in the sea before," she said. The run, on the other hand, proved to be "hot," Skipworth said.

Closing the high-speed zones for the cycle leg, from Marine Parade up to Waitangi Road also made a difference for competitors, Skipworth said. 

She said a number of non-Māori took part. "Ironāori is not just about Māori participants, a lot of non-Māori just gave such good feedback and said 'I'm not Māori but I absolutely love this event' and my reply was 'you're not a Māori but you're an IronMāori'."

"I think we pretty much live in God's own in New Zealand and today felt like part of that with being able to host people from all around the country and just be together." 

When Auckland went into lockdown again in August, organisers were unsure what to do with the upcoming quarter triathlon due to be held in November, but eventually decided to have it on the same day as the half.

"We were thinking of canning both events, and then we thought we will cancel the quarter and then we thought no actually lots really really want to have this just for the whanaungatanga, the environment so we decided to merge both events and its worked out perfect for all the participants. 

Skipworth said postponing the event gave those people who were unsure about big events in the new covid world another month to "feel a bit better" as well as another month to train "because covid did different things to a lot of people". 

"A lot of people work really hard and events are their vice so it was nice to be able to offer them something by way of just getting together and appreciating that we can actually get together given the environment around the world at the moment."