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Posted: May 8, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Cycling: Queen's Birthday mountain bike race steps up a gear

Entries are now open for New Zealand's most scenic adventure mountain bike race

The eighth annual Run 79 Lake Tekapo Mountain Bike Pursuit, to be held in Lake Tekapo on Sunday 31 May (Queen's Birthday weekend), is touted as 'a great day out' for riders of all abilities.

Individuals or teams of two can either put pedal to the metal for the 90km race, or just enjoy a ride through some of New Zealand's most stunning scenery.

The course is classed as easy to moderate, with gentle undulations and no major hill climbs. The terrain is mostly shingle roads but includes the occasional 4WD farm track and a couple of river crossings renowned for their freezing temperatures. The course takes between three and eight hours to complete depending on rider ability. A new record of 2 hours 59 minutes was set last year by Gordon McCauley.

The race is the brainchild of husband and wife team Peter and Margaret Munro of MTB Pursuits. The Tekapo residents share a passion for adventure sports and getting outdoors to explore New Zealand's beautiful scenery. Both have previously competed in the notorious Coast to Coast and are competent cyclists, runners and kayakers.

Race numbers are capped at 1000 and team/half-course rider numbers are capped at 120 so the pair are urging competitors to enter now to avoid disappointment.

Margaret adds that she's "delighted" with the longstanding support they have received from the Tekapo community since the event's inception in 2002.

"We're really lucky that our local community have embraced it -- everyone's excited about getting involved. There are some great prizes up for grabs thanks to our sponsors and local businesses."

Naming rights sponsor Run 79 and race organiser MTB Pursuits are putting up $3,000 prize money which will be split equally between the winning individual male and female riders.

Howes Cycles Timaru is donating two major spot prizes, a Men's Avanti Montari and a Women's Avanti Montari mountain bike, which will be drawn at Sunday evening's prizegiving. Competitors must be present to be in to win.

Other major spot prizes include accommodation packages from many of the Lake Tekapo providers, an Air Safaris flight, a guided Ball Pass trek from Alpine Recreation, a printer from Konica Minolta, and Ground Effect and Icebreaker clothing. A range of smaller prizes will be handed out at the finish line along with a can of Speight's to celebrate a job well done.

Local groups also use the event as a means to raise funds. Between 2.30pm and 6pm the Lake Tekapo Lions Club will provide post-race sustenance -- a cup of hot soup, BBQ sausages and salad, and tea and coffee -- for just $15. In the evening, staff and parents of the Lake Tekapo school will man the bar to help raise money for the school.

"Pretty much everyone in Tekapo is connected with the race in some way," says Margaret.

Entries are limited and close on 25 May 2009. Limited late entries may be accepted with a late fee. Entry fees cost $170 per adult team, $140 for a junior/school team, $85 per adult, and $70 per youth. Riders must be over 14 years old.

Further information and entry forms are available at

Photos: 1) Godley River Bed crossing, 2) Lilybank Road on the way back to Tekapo

More about Peter and Margaret Munro
Pete and Marg have considerable knowledge of the surrounding areas, having resided in Lake Tekapo for 3½ years and Fairlie for 18 years prior to that.

Marg is mother to four children, now grown-up and living away from home, and is currently is manager of Earth and Sky, Lake Tekapo. In the past she has competed in numerous multi-sport events around the region but now spends time organising events locally. She and Peter run three mountain bike events in total and this year created a new mountain run event on Mt Edward, Lake Tekapo.

Peter is a local Community Board member and qualified teacher specialising in outdoor pursuits at Fairlie’s Mackenzie College. As a fully qualified canoe, kayak and bush instructor and outdoor leader, as well as an experienced multi-sport competitor, he possesses great skills and knowledge of both a wide range of sporting activities and the New Zealand outdoors.

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