Weekend warriors and professional athletes unite for annual Macpac Motatapu Off-Road Sporting Event

Thousands of competitors from all over the world will take to the South Island High Country with vigour as the twelfth annual Macpac Motatapu Off-Road Sporting Event roars into action this weekend Saturday 5 March 2016.

Owned by the Queenstown Trails Trust (QTT), and managed by internationally-renowned sports event company Lagardère Unlimited Oceania, the Motatapu heads into its twelfth year with some race tweaks and a new naming sponsor.

Honouring its heritage as a “bucket-list event”, the Macpac Motatapu includes an eclectic mix of weekend warriors, amateur athletes and professionals all inspired to tackle the course and achieve personal glory.

From the eldest competitor, John Falconer 83 from Gore, to the course record holder and Olympic contender, Kate Fluker of Queenstown, the event enables people of all ages and fitness levels to take part.

Winding its way through Motatapu, Soho and Glencoe Stations, the event starts at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka, culminating in an exciting, fun and adrenalin-fuelled finish line at Wilcox Green, Arrowtown.

The event is the major fundraiser for the QTT with funds generated from the event going towards the on-going maintenance and expansion of the trail network.

Competitors this year come from as far away as Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, USA, UK, and Singapore as well as Australia, Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and closer to home from Arrowtown, Cromwell, Alexandra, Wanaka and Queenstown.

Lagardère Unlimited Oceania CEO Dave Beeche said the Macpac Motatapu Event was “always fun and inspiring” and was a big drawcard for people to visit the region.

“Every year we’re extremely moved reading the inspiring stories from the competitors who overcome emotional and physical barriers to take part in this iconic event,” said Mr Beeche.

“From losing 100kg and getting fit enough to take part to overcoming cancer or serious injuries after a motor accident, each of the competitors has a special story to tell.

“Taking part in this “bucket-list” event is a rare chance for weekend warriors to compete alongside some of New Zealand’s best athletes. This is what makes the Motatapu so unique” he added.

“Many compete in groups, marking special occasions such as stag do’s, turning the big 4-0, or just bringing friends together for a weekend away to compete. This year we have 57 ladies from running groups all over Australia coming to compete together, which demonstrates the appeal the Motatapu holds,” said Mr Beeche.

“Of course we’re all hoping for good weather this Saturday and some great on course action for race day. Who knows, there may even be some course records broken if conditions are right.”

“We encourage friends, family, locals and visitors to come out in force and support all competitors at the start or finish line. The Motatapu is known for its lively and supportive finish line and there are lots of local food and drinks tents and entertainment to keep everyone entertained, though seeing the smiles on the competitors is entertainment enough.”

For the first time in the event’s history, family, friends and supporters will be able to keep up with competitors live via the newly-launched Motatapu event App. Available to download free from Apple and Android stores, the new App enables supporters to track individual athletes on course, find out about the course and final results. It also has a feed to the event Facebook page where images and timings will be posted throughout race day.

Competitors – Ones to watch on race day

Women’s course record holder Kate Fluker crosses the finish line in 2015

Women’s course record holder Kate Fluker crosses the finish line in 2015

Fifth time Motatapu entrant, Queenstown’s own Kate Fluker, holds the women’s course record at a time of 2:08:31. Gunning for Olympic selection this year, Fluker is keen to beat her own record and is aiming for sub two hours. The Motatapu is where it all started for Fluker who took up the sport just five years ago, with the Motatapu being her first race.

Anton Cooper is the current NZ Mountain Bike World Champion and took out the Motatapu Junior course record in 2011 with a time of 1:48:43. Taking a break from Motatapu last year as he was racing overseas, Cooper wants to beat the overall course record held by Dirk Peters since 2013, with a time of 1:47:53.

John Falconer from Gore is this year’s oldest competitor at 83. Last year John walked the marathon event and this year he’s taking part in the new Miner’s Trail race.

Rotorua’s Olly Shaw, 24, came second in last year’s XTERRA UDC Triathlon behind Wanaka’s Dougal Allen. Shaw overcame a hip injury and battled the harsh conditions to cross the line in second place.

This year he’s feeling “pretty good and confident” in taking the first place crown.

“I’m confident in where I am with my training for the Motatapu and looking to take the first place spot. You never know how others are going to go or what the course conditions will be like but I am feeling good,” said Shaw.

Wellington’s Olivier Lacoua is competing in the Motatapu for the first time as part of his challenge to run 100 Marathons before 2020, fundraising $26,200 for the Red Cross.

As previous years have proven though, the nature of the Motatapu event means it’s anyone’s win on race day.

Fast Facts about 2016 Macpac Motatapu

The start times have been pushed back for the MTB (9:00am) and XTERRA Tri (8:30am) to allow a wee bit more of a sleep-in in the morning… and improve traffic flows into Glendhu Bay.

A new Miners Trail Course has been unveiled this year featuring New Chums Gully and all its mining history – competitors now get to run/walk the old water races that fed the gold mines. The Miners Trail will revert to an earlier start time of 8:30am.

The wave starts for the MTB have been tweaked to help alleviate congestion on the course and athletes will start in waves according to expected ride time.

The Marathon course put in place for 2015 will remain. Please note, it does not have a loop start as in previous years, it’s straight up the road and through the stunning Motatapu valley all the way to Arrowtown. The start time remains post the MTB at 11:00am so riders aren’t trying to pass in the last 10km.

For more information please contact:
Naomi Lindsay
021 942 502
naomilindsay@yahoo.co.uk

Women’s course record holder Kate Fluker crosses the finish line in 2015

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