The Wahine "tryathlon" in Kaitaia was once again well supported by women of all shapes and ages who all enjoyed a sense of physical achievement, and in many cases, a real sense of triumph upon completing the event.
More than 120 women registered for the seventh triathlon event started by Te Hauora O Te Hiku O Te Ika to encourage people to move from sedentary lifestyles to more active and healthy lifestyles.
Many were first timers, however, with a large number of returnees registering, organisers accommodated them by increasing the distances. So, for the first time this year, there was a third and even longer course to attempt.
The distances were Pohutukawa: 300m swim, 9km bike, 3km walk/run; Totara: 300m swim: 15km bike, 6km walk/run and Kauri: 300m swim, 21km bike, 9km walk/run.
A beautiful sunny day on Saturday made jumping into the town pool at 9am a lot easier.
One group of women, who banded together for moral support over the entire length of the Pohutukawa course, called themselves the "Kuia group of Pukepoto".
After completing the event for the first time, Ritihia Brown was thrilled. "I can't believe I did it," she said.
Kaitaia Hospital nurse Ana Paulose was another first timer.
"I did it for the challenge. I have always really wanted to do something like this. I really enjoyed it. It was a big move for me," she said.
Hannah Harrison added, "It was daunting at first but good."
There were other heart-warming, good news stories. A couple of other women to complete the Pohutukawa course, Charlotte Davis and Horietta Bellass, have both suffered from strokes but still completed the course with the help of their walkers.
Myra Berghan, who turns 83 in January, competing for the first time on the Totara course.
"I enjoyed it. Going up the hill was tough but otherwise it was good ... I would do it again, it was so much fun," she said.
There was a Marae Challenge, with workshops, and the winner was Parapara, who won $300.
Liz Cosford won the Weight Loss Challenge with the biggest loser winning $200. All prizewinners had to have participated in at least four workshops. The runner-up Carmen Hallet won $100 and Sonya Holloway took third with $50.
The first woman across the line was Marna Williams over the Pohutukawa course in under an hour. The Totara course saw Casey Burton over the line in 1 hour 15mins. The Kauri winner was Catherine Semenoff who completed the course in just under two hours.
"We are expecting to see many of our first timers increase their achievements for next year. Something we have seen in the past is first timers go straight into a half Iron man event. Our next up and coming event is Iron Maori in Napier, which consists of a 2 km swim,90km bike and 21km run," event organiser Kahu Thompson said.
"It was a huge event so a huge thanks to our sponsors Cameron and Marcela from Northland Document and Solutions Limited in Whangarei and our support workers who include, CBEC, Fulton Hogan, Far North District Council, Kaitaia Swimming Club, Kaitaia Chiropractic Centre, Whetu Marama, Te Paaparore Marae, Yugoslav Hall and the many volunteers who give their free time. Without them this great event would not be possible," she said.
The next event in the series will be the Tane Tryathlon in March next year. Those interested can contact Kahu Thompson 09 4084024 extn 710.