Chch Duathlon a hit amongst Orana Park Wildlife



A unique event was enjoyed by all who took part in the final round of the Sovereign Tri Series at the Christchurch Duathlon at Orana Wildlife Park today, as even the weather seemed to recognize the importance of the occasion with showers clearing to a largely fine if cool day.

With participants running through Orana Wildlife Park past curious animals watching from their enclosures, this was an event that presented plenty of photo opportunities, as well as plenty of fun for family and friends out to support those taking part – and to enjoy their surroundings post-race.

Rebecca Elliott (Wellington) and Nick Rennie (Christchurch) took the honours in the Standard Distance event, winning comfortably over the 10km run, 40km bike and 5km run distance in a race that carried primary selection status for the Age Group World Championships in Adelaide.

Elliott was delighted to end her season on such a strong note.


Nick Rennie wins the men’s race. 

The Wildlife were up close during the run home.

Credit: Sovereign Tri Series/Kevin Clarke

“It was very cold on the bike, my fingers just about froze by the end of it but there was no win and overall it was quite nice, I really enjoyed the course. I wanted to finish my season on a good note and I was pretty happy with how it ended, in particular the runs were good. It was cool to run through the park, something really special, apparently I have a photo of me running with the giraffes in the background which is really nice.”

Elliott won by just under two minutes from Kristine Reid and Martina Fellmann.

Rennie too was pleased with his performance as he won by almost four minutes from Sam Bell.

“The conditions were a little testing at times, the cold on the bike and a couple of slippery patches on the run with the rain from overnight but I managed to negotiate my way around the course and get to the line safely so yeah, I am pleased with my performance and to take the win on such a different course, surrounded by the wildlife.”


Rebecca Elliott wins the women’s race.

The sprint distance (5km run, 20km bike, 2.5km run) Sovereign Duathlon was taken out by Kaitlyn Price and Jake Jackson-Grammer (Dunedin). Price had made the trip over from Australia where she now lives to try and book her spot on the New Zealand team for the World Champs and was delighted to have done just that in fine fashion.

The day proved a delight though for all of the 300 participants across the variety of race distances as the early morning showers gave way to a largely clear and good day for taking part in the event that for the first time was hosted by Orana Wildlife Park. Overcast skies were balanced out by the calm conditions.

Amongst those to race were Ed Jones who took out the Paratri class and was thrilled to be racing in his home town. One of the biggest cheers was reserved for 81 year old Ray Bennett (Christchurch). A former World Championships triathlon medalist, Bennett finished the standard distance in a little over four hours, coming home to a great ovation from spectators and supporters down the finish chute.

The day just got better for so many participants too, with prize giving including various animal encounter experiences courtesy of Orana Wildlife Park, with some lucky to be chosen to take part in Lion, Tiger and Lemur feeding encounters, getting even closer to some of the wildlife that just hours earlier they had been running past through the Zoo on the way to the finish line.

One of the biggest cheers was for a participant who wasn’t even there, with Peter Ritchie (Wanaka) taking out the spot prize for the brand new Suzuki Swift. With a winner drawn from each of the Sovereign Tri Series events through the summer, Peter won a nerve rattling draw to be the final name called out, hearing it all play out live down the phone line.


Sovereign Duathlon Christchurch

Standard Distance (10km run, 40km bike, 5km run)
1 Nick Rennie, Christchurch, 1:55:47
2 Sam Bell, Rangiora, 1:59:28
3 Daniel Smith, Christchurch, 2:01:53

1 Rebecca Elliott, Wellington, 2:15:56
2 Kristine Reid, Auckland, 2:17:47
3 Martina Fellmann, Timaru, 2:21:06


Sprint Distance (5km run, 20km bike, 2.5km run)
Jake Jackson-Grammer, Dunedin, 59:35

1 Kaitlyn Price, Queensland, 1:10:10


Full results will be posted to