All women welcome at friendly triathlon

Start training, girls, the annual Fresh Choice Women's Bike Run Tri is little more than five weeks away.

The triathlon traditionally attracts those women from around the area who have little or no previous experience in the discipline but are keen to give it a go.

Event co-organiser Geoff Hunt said the race was in its 21st year, which was a ''significant milestone for any event''.

He was expecting up to 200 women to descend on Lake Hayes for the Sunday, March 2, race, the only women's race in Queenstown.

He credited the longevity of sponsors with keeping the race alive. Fresh Choice had been a key sponsor for more than 10 years, even providing race packs containing shampoo and other female necessities.

''The event itself is designed to be friendly at all levels of competition,'' Mr Hunt said.

Women could compete in various divisions, such as the triathlon or duathlon or just the 8.1km run around Lake Hayes.

''Any type of equipment and any type of ability'' was encouraged and, with this, he implored women to start training.

''Now is the time to start training, because that would give them just over a month,'' he said.

The triathlon comprises a 300m swim or 2km kayak, a 15-20km bike leg and a 5km run, while those doing the duathlon will complete a 1.5km run, a 15-20km bike leg and a 5km run to the finish line.

Entry fee for all options: Individuals $40 (late entry fee on the day $45); teams $90 (late entry fee on the day $100). Mr Hunt advised women to register before the event at www.southerntraverse.com.