The Columbia Peak to Pub continues to attract record numbers of New Zealand’s top multisports athletes and enthusiastic amateurs looking for an alpine challenge with a difference.
And this year New Zealand multisport legend Steve Gurney, the man behind the course design, has added some new elements designed to challenge, motivate and inspire.
The fun and exhilarating triathlon will start high on the slopes of Mt Hutt on October 15 with a mass start run to skis or snowboard, followed by a giant slalom style race through gates down to the base area.
Competitors then launch into a heart-stopping 19km bike ride down the Mt Hutt access road where individual racers or teams transition to an 11km run to finish outside the iconic Blue Pub in the centre of Methven.
Past Peak to Pub winner and oft-times winner of the legendary Coast to Coast, Gurney said he was committed to keeping the event fresh and exciting for competitors.
“Even though I no longer compete in the Peak to Pub I love being involved and pulling together a fantastic course and event,” he said.
“This event is for individuals and teams of three, and we’re already seeing a lot of teams enter this year.”
Mr Gurney said the Peak to Pub was a real “thinkers” race and competitors need to be aware while racing.
“The race is now famous for its canal swim that’s part way through the run leg. People choose to either swim the canal or run the long way round, and memories of the day when snow was falling and people were jumping in that canal will stick with me forever.
“I’m not the only one still talking about it!”
There are course changes for competitors to look forward to in the 2011 event in both the mountain bike and running stages.
“We’ve made some variations to the mountain bike leg, but people won’t need any different equipment or a different bike, it’s more of a route choice,” he said.
“And hallelujah, we’ve finally found an off-road course for runners and it’s a wee ripper. I love it.
“When I did my first ‘recce’ of the running course I realised it was perfect for Coast to Coast training but don’t be scared, it’s only a tiny taste of the Coast to Coast terrain and not too difficult.”
Mr Gurney said course changes would add a few minutes to the course length and were “stunning” for those walking or jogging and taking in the social aspect of the race.
“I enjoy seeing social people entering the race but people need to remember that they really do need to train for this event.”
Due to the popularity of the event, he recommended people enter soon.
“There’s a cut off for numbers for safety reasons, so numbers are limited. I suggest people get their entries in quick smart.”
Spectators are also welcome to take in the action on the mountain or the running leg, and are encouraged to watch the first competitors arrive at the finish line in Methven any time from 3pm, followed by a prize giving later in the day.
Mr Gurney said spectators in Methven should prepare themselves for a surprise on the day. The first competitors should arrive from Mt Hutt anytime from 3pm based on no start delay followed by a prize giving at the pub later.