Erin Furness and Mike Wright, have claimed the first ever winning title at the largely successful inaugural Motu Duathlon in Opotiki last weekend.

Wright won the event in a time of 6 hours 33 minutes and 3 seconds about 19 minutes clear of Whakatane athlete Dean Sisson, with Houston a further 36 minutes behind.

In the women’s race Furness was too strong for Lana Grew and 18 year old Trident High School student Tiahna Brathwaite.

The duathlon included a 65 kilometre bike ride along the historic Old Motu Coach Road, a 17 kilometre run through the Whinray Reserve and a 90 kilometre road cycle along the Waioeka gorge.

Race director Marty Madsen explains that the event is perfectly timed to fit in with long winter training sessions and has great potential especially for people training for Ironman.

“This course will really test you to see whether you have been doing enough mileage,” he says.

Motu Challenge event manager Mike van der Boom says he is please at the turn out at this year’s event.

“It’s a brutal event and all the athletes looked absolutely broken when they finished,” he says.

“Our organising team decided to stage the race after we trialled a short course duathlon last year. One of the entrants Jo Tisch thought people would like to complete the whole circuit,” he says. “So [she] is the person to blame really”

The team’s race was taken out by Gisborne Team The Shaw’s – Johnny Edwards and Peter Blake.

The winning mixed team from Whakatane was Wheel’s and Feet made up of Tim Bosworth, Dianne Bulled and Neil Spanake.

The Short Motu Duathlon race was won by Jason Whitelaw in a time of 4 hours 13 minutes while the women’s race was won by Lydia Hale in 4 hours and 20 minutes.