Sovereign series heads to Christchurch for unique ‘walk in the park’

02/04/2015 by Steve Knowles

The final event in the Sovereign Tri Series takes place on Saturday April 11 and the venue is quite fitting for a race that takes place right in the middle of the school holidays as competitors and spectators converge on Orana Wildlife Park on McLeans Island in Christchurch.

The Sovereign Christchurch Duathlon gives competitors a variety of race distances, from beginners (with the ability to jog or walk the run sections) to mid-distance and on to the standard distance. The event is also the primary selection race for the New Zealand age group Duathlon team to the World Championships in Adelaide, providing further incentive for those ‘serious’ age groupers to be on the start line.

But the biggest incentive may well be the unique nature of the event, with participants racing through the zoo, in front of the animal enclosures, finishing inside the park for a prize giving that will include some great prizes of experiences in Orana Wildlife Park and special feeding experiences for participants

Triathlon New Zealand CEO Craig Waugh says the sport has long been intent on maintaining a presence in post-earthquake Christchurch, with the series being hosted at Pegasus in recent years but now moving to a new and exciting location in a Duathlon format.

“We know how important it is for Christchurch people to continue to have events of this nature to serve as a goal to encourage people to stay fit and healthy and to maintain their health and wellbeing. Physical activity and goal setting of this nature can act as a great diversion and assist in managing stress levels through what has been a difficult time for the community.

“More than anything though, the Sovereign Duathlon at Orana Wildlife Park is going to be a fun event, one for everyone to either participate in or watch and support. Team events offer the chance for families, workmates and friends to give it a go. You don’t need a fancy bike, just a safe two wheels and a pair of good jogging or walking shoes and you can be involved. The venue also acts as a reminder of the great tourism operators in the region and encourages locals and visitors alike to get out and enjoy what the city has to offer.”

Events get underway from right outside the main gates from 7:30am on Saturday morning, with competitors looping through the park before finishing at the far end of the park, having jogged, run or walked past various animal enclosures including the Rhino’s, Giraffes and the soon to be opened Great Ape Centre (apes may be of a more ‘human variety in a suit’ on race day!). All events are on flat roads and paths that will make the day an easy one for beginners and a fast one for those intent on speed.

Racing will conclude just after midday, with all participants gathering for a prize giving that will include spot prizes of special feeding and interaction with the animal experiences, including some that are not available to the public, essentially offering ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities exclusive to the Sovereign Duathlon participants.

Participants entry fee into Orana Wildlife Park is covered in the entry fee, with a special 50% discount entry for accompanying family and friends there to support them in the event. With the racing concluding at lunchtime, this is the perfect chance for participants to enjoy their afternoon in the park with family and supporters and to visit the animal enclosures at their leisure with special feeding opportunities through the afternoon that will be limited to those there supporting the Sovereign Duathlon.

It is also the final chance for competitors in the Sovereign Tri Series to be in the draw to win a brand new Suzuki Swift, with all entries in the Sovereign Christchurch Duathlon going in the draw, with the Suzuki being given away at prize giving on the day.