Maunga Mission multisport race sure to challenge

Eight-time Maunga Mission competitor Patrick Foley (left) and son Jack Foley (right) will race 72km by bike, foot and surf-ski when they compete in the Maunga Mission on May 26.

Conquering mountains is both a figurative and literal reality of taking on the Maunga Mission in Cambridge later this month.

In addition to conquering the goals and challenges of taking part in a multisport race, participants will need to quite literally reach the top of Maungatautari Mountain during the event on May 26, making their way up and over the summit from the southern side before paddling 10km down Lake Karapiro to the finish line.

“If you’re a good mountain runner you usually do pretty well,” said Patrick Foley, an eight-time competitor in the “Full Maunga” segment of the Maunga Mission.

“It’s a love hate thing with the mountain, but it probably is the best bit,” he laughed.

“It’s definitely the part you can enjoy and hate the most,” added Patrick’s son Jack, 16, who will be competing in the Full Maunga for the second time this year. “It’s quite rewarding. Coming off the mountain is definitely the best feeling of the Mission.”

The Full Maunga challenges participants to cycle 32km from Lamb St in Leamington to Tari Rd, Arapuni, where the “Over the Mountain” run begins in Sanctuary Mountain’s southern enclosure. 15km later participants will exit on the other side, through a farm neighbouring the Hicks Rd farm which closed to the public in December. From there they cycle another 15km to the Horahora Domain, paddling the final 10km to the finish line at The Boatshed Kayaks.

The father-son pair advised newcomers to the event this year to “just enjoy getting across the mountain” and be sure to make the time to train in the lead up to the event.

“The training needs to be smarter training,” explained Jack, who has been balancing the commitments of being a Year 13 International Baccalaureate student with the reality of training four to six hours each week.

“And if there’s a chance to do two different sports at once, like kayaking and cycling, that’s worth a lot more than doing them individually, so doing races like that can be really valuable.”

Next weekend he’s doing just that, taking part in the Waihi Nugget on May 11.

Having already placed first amongst school-age competitors in last year’s Full Maunga Mission, this year Jack’s focus will be on his own personal best, hoping to finish the event within five hours.

“Last year the reward was just finishing!” he said. “Now that I’ve got more perspective of the whole thing and how it all works, I can be a bit more comfortable setting specific goals.

“Doing the race last year I figured doing the race within five hours could be doable. So I’ve got about half an hour or 40 minutes to shave off.”

For Patrick, getting under five hours would be nice, he said, “but to be fair just finishing it would be good,” he laughed. “I’m actually hoping Jack beats me!

“My first time doing the mission I managed to do four hours, 20 minutes, but I’m just getting older and slower and he’s starting to catch up. He hasn’t beat me in a multisport race yet, but it’s coming, and this would be a good place to do it.”

Rest assured, the Full Maunga isn’t the only option for participants in the Maunga Mission. The “Mini” Maunga requires the same 15km over-the-mountain pass with only a 6km cycle and 1.5km paddle, and the ‘Liquid Stixx’ adventure race is the same as the Mini Maunga but also starts with a 32km cycle up to the mountain. The Fun Run option gives participants the chance to walk or run the mountain pass only, and “King” or “Queen” of the Mountain are the competitive equivalent, racing their way over the mountain. Team options are also available.

$10 from every entry will go towards Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. To find out more about the event visit www.theboatshed.net.nz/maungatautari/.

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