Bumper duathlon expected

Race director Jane Patterson addresses participants before last year's Sparc REAL Women's Duathlon at Millbrook, near Arrowtown. Photo by James Beech.
Race director Jane Patterson addresses participants before last year's Sparc REAL Women's Duathlon at Millbrook, near Arrowtown. Photo by James Beech.
More than 1000 women are expected at Millbrook later this month to take part in the Sparc REAL Women's Duathlon Series, a non-competitive event designed to encourage all women to experience the benefits of "REAL" - regular exercise, active lives.

The Queenstown duathlon will be held on March 21, with a Christchurch event the following Sunday.

The events involve walking or running and cycling.

Event director Jane Patterson said it was the fourth season for the duathlons, which South Island women turned into "bumper celebratory events".

"More than 1000 women enter each South Island duathlon with many women doing both - travelling for a girls' weekend away.

"We have women coming from Invercargill in the south to Nelson in the north and they have picnics with bubbles to celebrate after they finish.

"One of the features that make the REAL duathlons so popular is they are welcoming, [with a] `we're all women in this together' atmosphere.

"They are not races - all women entering the duathlons are winners for the achievement of crossing the finish line."

Ms Patterson said the distance was achievable for most levels of fitness, regardless of whether they chose to walk, run or jog or do a combination of all three.

They could also do the whole course as individuals, or as part of a relay team sharing the 3.5km run/walk, 10km bike and 1.5km walk/run to finish.

She said the Queenstown duathlon always had a feeling of luxury about it, being held at the Millbrook Resort with the stunning scenery of the Remarkables.

The on-foot sections would take women round the perimeter of the golf course and the bike section was on the flat road outside the resort.

• The Queenstown REAL Women's Duathlon begins at 9am on March 21.

• Visit realduathlon.co.nz for entry forms and further details. Keep up to date with Queenstown Times reporter Joanne Carroll's training before the event - her first duathlon - with her column every Monday in the Queenstown Times.