They have caught the adventure racing bug at Taradale High School.
This past Queen’s Birthday weekend a team of 44 Taradale High School students travelled to the Blue Lake Reserve to compete in the annual 3D Rotorua Multisport Festival.
The mixed team of year 9 to 13 students competed in the 30km New Zealand Secondary School Multisport Championships (kayaking, mountain biking and trail running), as well as shorter running and duathlon races.
There were 38 athletes entered in boys and girls U16 and U19 categories in the NZSS Multisport race, with competitors from schools in the Bay of Plenty, North Harbour, Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Taupo, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington and Canterbury represented.
Taradale HS athletes won four categories, with Greer Findlay winning the 5.5km run, Ben Smyth winning the Duathlon and Ben Wilson and Matt Adams winning the respective U14 and U19 NZSS Multisport divisions. Sophie Hogan and Jaimee Wilson also finished second and third in the Girls U19 race.
U19 winner Matt Adams was returning from last year and was pleased with his race.
“I did this event last year and I was second in the U16 race, but last year I crashed on the bike leg and my time was over 10 minutes faster this time,” said year 12 student Matt.
Matt was third across the line, with U16 division athletes filling three of the first four places overall.
Whakatane High School U16 athletes, Hayden Sisson and Ari Goodman were first and second overall and Matt’s U16 and year 11 Taradale HS teammate Campbell Gray was fourth.
The 30 km race consisted of a 5 km paddle, a 20 km mountain bike ride and then a 5 km trail run home to the finish.
Conditions were fine and cold, but the tracks were soft and muddy following recent rain.
Matt is mostly a runner – and the longer the better.
“I train mostly for running and have done half marathons and did a full marathon in Waihi last year.
“But in this event just gone the mountain biking is much longer it is where you can make the most gains. On Sunday my best leg was the bike. For example, I was three minutes behind teammate Campbell Gray on the kayak but I caught up to him on the bike. We raced into transition together but I held him off on the run.”
In February, Matt and good friend Jack Graney (didn’t compete at the 3D in Rotorua) competed in the Coast to Coast, the famous race that traverses on side of the South Island to the other.
“Jack and I competed in the tandem category, which means we have to stick together for the whole race. We did heaps of training for that and it was great fun.”
Matt’s goal is to enter the Coast to Coast in 2021 as an individual.
The Taradale High School’s adventure racing team’s next race together is the North Island 6-hour Hillary Challenge race in Rotorua/Taupo on 23 June. “These are the Hillary Challenge qualifiers, and the team comprises four boys and four girls.”
Last year the team didn’t enter the Hillary Challenge qualifiers so making the Hillary Challenge Finals is a goal for the team to aspire for. The combined New Plymouth BHS/GHS team won this year’s national event.
There are some strong rivalries amongst Hawke’s Bay schools such as Taradale HS, Havelock North High School and Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools in all the multisport, adventure racing and orienteering events and one or more is invariably prominent.
Like all adventure racing schools, students from several sporting backgrounds come together to form Taradale HS’s team.
“We train three mornings a week together, but personally I did a lot of kayaking and running on my own. I like to train in the mountains if I can, so a couple of weeks before the event I did my long 21km run in the Kaweka Ranges.”
Taradale High School 3D Multisport Festival results:
NZSS Multisport Championships
1st U19 Matt Adams
1st U14 Ben Wilson
2nd U19 Sophie Hogan
3rd U19 Jaimee Wilson
3rd U16 Campbell Gray
1st Greer Findlay
2nd Grace Hogan
3rd Ella Hogan
2nd Sean Findlay
1st Ben Smyth
2nd Finn Durrant
3rd Dom Collins
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