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Motu Challenge’s 23rd year

Posted at 6:41am Monday 04 Sep, 2017

The Mighty Motu continues to challenge a wide variety of endurance athletes, with the infamous Motu Challenge.

The Multisport challenge, which is now in its 23rd year, will see the old-timer Motu athlete Elina Ussher return to Opotiki in order to try and secure her 10th title at the event.

It includes four events: mountain biking, running, road cycling and kayaking, which cater for most flavours of endurance sport.

The Riverlock Motu 160 makes up the cycling section of the challenge.

Event organiser Mike van der Boom says this particular section is particularly gruelling.

“The Riverlock Motu 160 is unique and arguably the toughest one day cycle race in New Zealand.”

The course sees athletes ride a 65km mountain bike on sealed and gravel roads, from Opotiki to Motu village along the famous Motu Coach Road.

After this, athletes then change to a road bike at the Motu village for the last 90 km ride back to Opotiki through the windy Waioeka Gorge.

Race Director Marty Madsen says that fellow road bikers should not underestimate the mountain bike stage.

“It may not be technical, but the hills will sap every last ounce of your leg strength,” says Marty. “You’ll feel like someone has taken a jack hammer to your legs.”

Athlete Sam Clark.

The Motu Duathlon, which debuted last year, is the next step after the Riverlock Motu 160 and requires athletes to do an additional 17km run.

“Most athletes describe the duathlon as ‘tough beyond imagination’, but many who line up for it use the race as preparation for Ironman events,” says Mike.

The final event is the Blue Light Mini Motu which is an off-road duathlon young athletes.

The event is based in Opotiki and is designed to encourage the next generation of multisport athletes.

Once again organisers of the event have provided generous prizes for this year, with a major cash prize of $10,000.

“For the majority of entrants the prize money is irrelevant and the challenge is the primary reason for taking on the event,” says Mike.

“However, race organisers are thrilled to have some great spot prizes up for grabs like a $4,000 kayak and a $3,000 mountain bike.”

A race record jackpot of $3,000 prize is also up to win. This prize goes to the multisport team that beats the race record by the highest margin.

Marty, who is part of the current record breaking team, says the record is definitely at risk of tumbling according.

“It looks like we’ll have a good flow in the river this year and changes to the event format increase the chances as well.”

For more information about the event or to register, visit the Motu website.


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