A group of New Zealand triathlon enthusiasts are embarking on new territory in Samoa, initiating and organising the first international triathlon on the island of Savaii in a bid to boost both tourism and triathlon in the region.
Southland Triathlon Club life member Bill Roxburgh, Invercargill triathlon legend Sid Cumming and Christchurch’s Dan McDonald, who co-ordinates some of the biggest triathlon events in the south, are preparing to host the Samoa Triathlon on October 19 in Manase, Savaii.
The course – a third-Ironman distance – will include a 1300m swim in clear, blue seas, a 60km bike ride alongside the ocean before veering through a tropical rainforest all on tar sealed roads, and a 14km run that will pass through some of the villages on the island.
With temperatures expected to be about 30degrees, warm water, a scenic course and value for money, Roxburgh is expecting interest to be high. Leading triathletes including Chris McDonald (winner of four Ironman events) and Penny Hayes (former world U19 triathlon champion) have already confirmed their entries, and the organising trio are expecting plenty more to follow.
“We’ve been talking about setting up an event on Samoa for a long time so we’re really excited about getting it off the ground,” Roxburgh said.
“The event will appeal to all abilities. It is open to teams and individuals and we are running a number of other events as well so the whole family can be involved, including a kids’ aquathon, an open water swim, a fun run and a Round the Island bike ride.”
“We are encouraging people to come over and see Savaii, see the culture and the lifestyle and enjoy a holiday with a fantastic event in the midst of it. There are a huge number of other activities for tourists as well, which we are keen to highlight.”
Roxburgh said, although the organising team was New Zealand-based, logistics had been reasonably easy given his knowledge of the island and his friendship with prominent lawyer Trevor Stevenson, who owns Stevenson’s Resort in Manase, Savaii, where the event will be based.
“We have been very fortunate with the support of the Samoan people. Sponsors have come on board, including OIL Offshore Incorporations, Stevenson’s Resort, High 5 and the Samoan International Finance Advisory. The local school is providing volunteers, the Samoan prime minister has confirmed he will be there and we’re really excited about the whole event.”
The festival programme starts on October 11, when Cumming – one of the country’s top triathlon coaches, having coached five world champions and a youth Olympic gold medallist – will host a four-day training camp prior to the event. Other events will follow, with the highlight being the race proper on October 19.
Organisers have opted to keep entry prices as low as possible, as well as adding as many inclusions as they can. Entry not only includes a well-organised event in a tropical paradise, but an opening cocktail evening and meal, a Fia fia night (cultural night) with invited dignitaries and a meal, a carbo loading party, post-race BBQ, free entry for children in the kids’ aquathon, entry to the Hi 5 open water swim, a race t-shirt and spot prizes.
A donation from the event will be made to the local school, which services children with special needs in Savaii, and competitors are being urged to bring resources over that can be used by the school.
Entries are open online at www.samoatri.com, with early bird pricing now available.
WHAT: Samoa Triathlon
WHERE: Manase, Savaii, Samoa
WHEN: October 19 (festival programme starts October 11 with various events on the programme)
HOW TO ENTER: See www.samoatri.com
WHAT TO DO IN SAVAII
Enjoy and participate in the traditional Samoan culture, meet the friendly people, enjoy the picturesque white sandy beaches, swim in protected lagoons surrounded by lush tropical flora and fauna and, along with competing in the triathlon, enjoy the fantastic activities Savaii has to offer:
• Visit the Salelologa market where you can sample the village experience, feast on tropical fruit and enjoy traditional Samoan fare or purchase traditional Samoan clothing
• Visit the spectacular geyser action at the Taga Blowholes
• Visit scenic sites such as the House of Rocks, Moso’s Giant Footprint or the Canopy Walk
• Enjoy the warm water with spectacular snorkelling
• Swim in the chilled fresh waters of the Mataolealelo at Safune
• Visit Vaisafee, a cold fresh water pool
• Climb the slopes of Mount Matavanu, the origin of the lava flow that covered the Ituatane District between 1905 and 1910
• Swim with the turtles at Satoalepai