Beach racing starts summer series

Emmy Marshall (5) is followed by her twin sister Lulu and cousin Benji May (5)  during  the...
Emmy Marshall (5) is followed by her twin sister Lulu and cousin Benji May (5) during the Clutha Country Summer Series race at Kaka Point yesterday. Photo by Hamish MacLean.
Balclutha has been included for the first time in Sport Clutha's Clutha Country Summer Series.

In the past, the event was held in Tapanui, but this year organisers decided a run, bike, swim at the Balclutha Centennial Swimming Pool would close the 2015 series instead of a race at the West Otago town.

The duathlon, triathlon and recreational run and walk series began at Kaka Point at the weekend, with crowds filling the beach as participants aged 5 and up competed in the first of four races taking place every Sunday until February 15.

Sport Clutha co-ordinator Mitch McRae - an elite athlete who this month qualified to go to the September 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships in Chicago - said he participated just to have a fun day out.

''The whole idea is to get the whole family along. There's an event for everyone,'' he said. It was designed as a day for ''a picnic at the beach or a picnic at the park'', he said.

''It's designed to suit everyone, from beginner up. It's just to get people interested in the sport.''

Heidi Marshall, of Balclutha, called the day brilliant.

She shouted encouragement to her three children and their two cousins as all five completed the course yesterday. Mrs Marshall said the children would compete in at least three of the four races.

Milton and Balclutha were definites, but they might not make it to Lawrence.

She said the family day out atmosphere of the races made it fun for the children, who were asking for ice cream after they completed the course.

Sydney Marshall (8) ran the duathlon - a run, bike and run along the beach - and said this, her third year on the course, might have been the slowest.

''Definitely the running'' was the hardest, she said, as temperatures climbed to the mid-20s.

The next day of racing is at Milton on February 1, then Lawrence on February 8, and Balclutha on February 15.


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