Motatapu one of best days of Gower’s life

Paddy Gower used his colleagues as inspiration to create one of the best days of his life.

The journalist was happy to be immersed in Queenstown’s back country during the Motatapu event on Saturday — his first mountainbiking event — after a tough week following the news of Newshub’s axing at the end of June.

"Obviously, I’ve had the most terrible week", Gower said.

"Me and 300 of my friends lost our jobs on Wednesday, so I spent a lot of time thinking about them out there.

"I don’t know whether it was thinking about them, or the scenery, or my quads, but I had tears in my eyes a lot of the time.

"What a way to cap off a crazy week by doing something crazy beautiful. It was absolutely special and one of the best days of my life."

The Motatapu, involving six different biking, running and walking events, produced some epic battles and many athletes defended their titles.

Elite mountainbiker Reef Roberts won the 47km event ahead of Guy Yarrell and Levi Gear.

Elite road racer Sharlotte Lucas was surprised to win the women’s mountainbike event.

"I’m a road cyclist so I was really out of my comfort zone", Lucas said.

"I found the first 30km was uphill so I put a bit of time on the mountainbike girls there and then just survived the downhill.

"It was awesome.

"I needed a challenge as I felt that I’d underperformed at the last road nationals so it’s good to turn it around and go good in something."

Cameron Kerr won the men’s ultra event at Motatapu on Saturday. PHOTO: NEIL KERR / MOTATAPU 2024
Cameron Kerr won the men’s ultra event at Motatapu on Saturday. PHOTO: NEIL KERR / MOTATAPU 2024
Semi-professional mountainbiker Sam Shaw stormed home to win the men’s 56km event in Arrowtown in 2hr 50min and 55sec to back up his title and Maria Laurie won the women’s event on the Coronet Loop.

Scotsman Ross Gollon finished 59sec ahead of well-known Kiwi ultra runner Daniel Jones in the Miners Trail and Ella Smit won the women’s event.

Queenslander Ella McCartney won the women’s trail marathon and described the course as "tough but beautiful".

"I had a bad race two weeks ago and didn’t finish a marathon so I wanted to go out careful today", McCartney said.

Ben Gatting defended the men’s trail marathon title.

Cameron Kerr won the men’s ultra runner event and Crystal Brindle won the women’s event.

More than 150 junior racers also took part in the junior trail run.

— Staff reporter