Powering across a Grand Traverse
A Porirua multisport event got a dose of star power with Olympian Mahe Drysdale proving his sporting prowess beyond the water.
The two-time Olympic single sculls gold medallist took on not one, but two events, in the annual Porirua Grand Traverse held on Sunday morning.
Drysdale, alongside teammates, Porirua Mayor Mike Tana and Kiwi mountain running champion Dougal Thorburn, came second in the multisport team event with a time of just over five hours 20 minutes.
Instead of enjoying a well deserved rest after the main event, Drysdale joined his wife Juliette and 11-week-old son Boston in a 7.5km fun run/walk.
He took to social media soon after the event, sharing a photo of himself with his son complete with four Olympic medals and, next to them, NZ rowing great Richard Joyce.
‘‘Fun weekend at the Porirua Grand Traverse. Great to share some time with one of the all time legends of New Zealand Rowing Dick Joyce - gold in 1968 and 1972 in the four and the eight.’’
Established in 2006, the multifaceted race around Mana’s iconic hills, forests, coastlines and waterways has become an annual highlight.
Now in its 12th year, the race drew more than 800 participants, including defending champion Daniel Jones who once again took out the men’s title.
‘‘It’s great that high profile athletes like Mahe are keen to be involved in grass roots sport,’’ event manager Michael Jacques said.
‘‘It’s a chance for weekend warriors to kayak or run alongside an Olympic gold medallist.
‘‘And families can bring the kids along for a pic with one of New Zealand’s biggest sporting successes.
‘‘They can even try out a rowing erg to see how they rank alongside the best in the world.’’
Reigning Coast to Coast twoday champion Kathryn Bunckenberg was victorious in the women’s event, taking the title from her twin sister Lizzy who chose to only race in a women’s team this year.
Overall, organisers were pleased with the event and happy to have daylight savings on their side this year.
Windy conditions did little to deter the hundreds of entrants from taking part in the Porirua-based event.