The opening Ashburton Duathlon race of 2018 attracted a smaller field than usual on Sunday and organisers are hoping for better when race two rolls around next month.
Around 70 people lined up at the starting line at the Ashburton Showgrounds, which was the smallest field in the event’s history, organiser John Moore said.
But, there was no question as to the future of the event, which was first raced by Moore’s CJM’s Events in 2006.
“While our numbers weren’t big, hopefully the second race will be,” Moore said.
“We don’t want to lose it because it was the first event we ever did, and we’ve actually done more than 90 events now.”
He put the drop down to a clash with the popular Hanmer Half Marathon, and he was confident that numbers would pick up again for their second race on June 10, with some of the sport’s big names potentially using it as part of their build-up to the world championships on the Gold Coast.
And that was what made events like the Ashburton Duathlon so special – you could have top New Zealand athletes racing alongside novices and kids, Moore said.
The two-race Ashburton Duathlon used to be a four-race Ashburton Duathlon Series, but a couple of years ago they decided to drop it from the four races to the two, and moved it from its original home at the Ashburton Racecourse to the Ashburton Showgrounds.
Long and short course options were contested, with the short course consisting of a 2.5km run, 10km bike and 1.25km run, and the long course being the 5km run, a 20km bike and a 2.5km run.
The run legs were now at the showgrounds, while the bike leg took competitors out Seafield Road to the Ashburton Airport and back.
People could race as individuals or as teams, and Moore said the event was popular with families.
Anyone wanting to enter the second race can enter on the Ashburton Duathlon website.