Wellington Scoop

Drysdale will be starring in Porirua’s Grand Traverse

Press Release – Porirua Grand Traverse
Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale will be the feature of Sunday’s Porirua Grand Traverse.

Established in 2006, the multi-faceted race around Mana’s iconic hills, forests, coastlines and waterways has become an annual highlight.

The popular multi-sport event boasts something for everyone from weekend runners and walkers to schools and skilled endurance enthusiasts. Based at Whitireia Polytechnic campus, the event involves a 10k kayak, 25k mountain bike and 18k mountain run, either solo or in teams. There is also the 7.5k Arena Fitness Fun Run/Walk.

This year’s event is expected to attract more than 800 starters, included double Olympic gold medal rower, Mahe Drysdale. The 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion will kayak in a multisport team with Porirua Mayor, Mike Tana, and New Zealand mountain running champion Dougal Thorburn. He will then jump into the 7.5k Arena Fitness Fun Run/Walk with wife Juliette.

“It’s great that high profile athletes like Mahe are keen to be involved in grass roots sport,” says event manager, Michael Jacques.

“It’s a chance for weekend warriors to kayak or run alongside an Olympic gold medallist, which is a rare thing. And families can bring the kids along for a pic with one of New Zealand’s biggest sporting successes. They can even try out a rowing erg to see how they rank alongside the best in the world.”

Every year some 500 people take in the Arena Fitness Fun Run/Walk and more than 800 are in involved in the overall event, and past winners have included multisport world champions Richard and Elina Ussher.

Defending champion, Daniel Jones, is lining up for the feature men’s multisport race again. Defending women’s champion, Lizzy Bunckenberg is racing in a women’s team this year. But her twin sister Kathryn is flying the family flag in the individual race, and as the reigning Coast to Coast two-day champion she is tipped to keep the title under the same roof.

While the annual event attracts some of the country’s best athletes, event manager Michael Jacques, says, “First and foremost the Porirua Grand Traverse is a great community occasion.”

“We started this event to showcase Porirua’s awesome outdoors, and to get locals experiencing their own backyard more. It’s so cool that Mayor, Mike Tana, has set himself the challenge of taking on the mountain bike ride, because it’s a great example to the community.

“Likewise, we challenge local schools to get their kids active and they have really got behind the event with Tawa Intermediate, in particular, entering more than 100 kids and staff.”

“With a fun run, multisport and duathlon races, paddling races, mountain biking, mountain running… the Porirua Grand Traverse really is an event for everyone. Our motto is “All ages, all abilities, all amazing.”

Late entries for the 2017 Porirua Grand Traverse can be made on Saturday at Whitireia Polytech between 1:00pm and 4:00pm. Racing starts from Whitireia Polytech in Porirua at 8am on Sunday. Full information at: www.pgt.org.nz.

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