Manawatū’s great day at Hutt Valley athletics and triathlon success

Manawatū’s great day at athletics and triathlon success

Writtten by Ryan Smith – Special Olympics Manawatū Athlete

Special Olympics Manawatū went to Hutt Valley’s Tier One athletics event to start 2021 off with a bang on the road to the 2021 National Summer Games in Hamilton. Past World Games athletes were at the event including myself, Braden Kendall, Matthew Westwood and Stephanie Davies.

The day was filled with some great performances despite some scorching heatwaves, I was happy to be in good form in the 800m and 1500m runs, Braden and Matthew showed some speedy performances in the 100m and 200m as always. But the 4x100m Relays were the highlight, where Manawatū finished on top showing incredible teamwork and true sportsmanship staying true to the spirit of Special Olympics. 

Just being able to get out there is a highlight after our dreadful lockdown, it’s testament to how hard the athletes work as well as the time our coaches, Catherine and Murray Reid, and Ian Westwood put into it, without whom we wouldn’t be here. A big shoutout to Wellington and Hutt Valley for putting the event together and thank you for having us. 

Swim, bike, run: Maxine Parker on taking the triathlon challenge 

On the 31st of January Special Olympics Rotorua swimming coach Maxine Parker got together a team of keen tri-athletes for the Tikitapu Taster Triathlon at the Blue Lake Multisport Festival. 

The self-named “Team Tri-Hards” included: 

?‍♀️ Swimmer Nikayla Wood, Swim-Able NZ and Achilles Athlete, accompanied by support swimmer Maxine Parker and kayaker ?‍♂️ Sheree Briggs. 

? Cyclist John Grey, Jogging the Powerpoles member and 1st time triathlon participant. 

? Runner Bailey Conlon, Special Olympics Rotorua and Paralympics athlete. 

Nikayla, with support from Maxine and Sheree, started the triathlon by swimming 400m in the Tikitapu lake. 

“The water was rough and choppy, but she was determined to keep going and churned her way through the waves“ Maxine says. 

When Nikayla finished, John took off on his 8km bike ride. Despite the heat of the sun he maintained a quick pace and was happy with his performance as Maxine observed – 

“When John returned from biking he was very tired but very pleased with his accomplishment.” 

Finally, it was Bailey’s chance to run, and run he did Maxine says – 

“With big smiles all around Bailey charged off to do the 3km off-road run and returned with enough energy to sprint across the sand to the finish line.” 

Maxine is very proud of the team and their achievement saying – 

“We are a team of all abilities, we pushed ourselves, supported each other and achieved together with a time of 1 hour and 3 minutes.” 


March 2021 Fanletter

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