Two Teviot Valley locals are “stoked” to have won at Wanaka’s Red Bull Defiance multisport event.
Kath Kelly, of Roxburgh, and Austin Garden, of Millers Flat, won the mixed team category with an overall time of 14hr 39min.
Although both were experienced athletes, this was the first time they had teamed up for the two-day kayaking, mountain biking and trail running race, Miss Kelly said.
“We went into it with the view in mind to have a good time and finish, and go as hard as we can.”
Training included kayaking on Lake Roxburgh and along the Clutha River from Roxburgh dam to Millers Flat.
“We ended up racing really well together, and the way to do that is to be right beside each other all the time.
“It really is about the team aspect, and getting to the same place quicker,” Miss Kelly said.
Mr Garden had competed in triathlon and long distance running events, but this was the first time competing in the Defiance.
As a sheep, beef and deer farmer, training had to fit around other duties.
“It’s a tough time of the year to train, because I’m on a farm and it is a very busy time.”
“Getting closer to the event we tried to go out most days.”
The event involved “teamwork and helping each other out, so we did a lot together in the last couple of months before the event.”
The landscape was “amazing – we did have to remind each other to take in the scenery, because you can just stare at your feet or your front wheel”, Mr Garden said.
“You do have to look up every now and again and go ‘wow, this is pretty awesome’.”
The summit was “really, really tough” and “quite technical in places”. There were times when bikes had to be carried through rivers and up hills.
“The variation, I suppose, is what I enjoyed. I loved it.”
It was “a bit of a surprise” when he heard they had won.
“I had hoped we would do pretty well. My goal was to be right up there.”