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by Claire Allison

Opihi College is filling a gap in the local multisport calendar with a new fundraiser.

The college, in conjunction with the Timaru Triathlon Club, is organising two duathlons to raise funds, and if successful, will make them an annual event.

Physical education head of faculty Stuart Grace said the idea had been around for a couple of years.

“We’d been thinking about how we could organise a duathlon as a fundraiser, and the club hadn’t run one in the area for a few years, so we had discussions.

“Our school is one of the few schools in South Canterbury you can easily run a duathlon from. We’ve got about a 1km circuit of the grounds, and on the peripheries of Temuka, we’ve got quiet roads, and we can have a 10.8km circular left-turn only route, which is really important for traffic management.”

Mr Grace said funds raised from the event would be split between the club and the school, which would aim to invest proceeds in outdoor education activities, the Year 7 camp, and – if enough was raised – new sports uniforms.

With the main aim being to encourage participation, organisers had worked to keep entry fees low: individuals and teams one race for $30, two races for $50, students (as individuals or teams) $15 for one race or $25 to enter both races.

“When we discussed partnering with the triathlon club, we wanted a low price – we didn’t want costs to be a barrier. As a school, we have a responsibility to try to get people active, and the more people we can get, the greater the revenue, and the more we will be able to do with the money raised.”

Organisers hoped the reduced price to enter both events would encourage competitors to compete in both.

Mr Grace said one option long-term could be for the event to become an Aoraki schools sports event.

Opihi College staff and pupils would be involved with marshalling, and the school hoped parents would also come on board to help.

“We’re hoping a lot of families will get behind the event by either taking part or helping with the running of the event.”

The duathlons will be held on August 12 and September 2, starting at 10.30am. Enter at The Frontrunner or online at www.scpacers.co.nz.