Five years on since IronMāori began, it has now grown to seven events on the national calendar including across the ditch. It’s been life changing for many, who put in hours of training.
But for Trina Tamati training means travelling back to New Zealand from Sydney every week.
With IronMāori tickets selling out in less than 10 minutes, this sporty trio were some of the 2500 to get their hands on some.
Training is a juggling game for Trina, the events manager for the NRL, who travels back to New Zealand from Sydney every week, and when she can, she makes it down to train with her dad Mike and Uncle Kevin in Hawke’s Bay.
The brothers, now both in their 60s, have done every individual event since it began in 2009. Kevin, a former Kiwi from the mid-1980s, takes that same grit from the game to the circuit.
Within this family affair comes a competitive edge, all aiming to cross the finish line – with the fastest time.
The IronMāori competition has been running for over 10 years now and it’s getting bigger and better. Organisers say that today is a warm up quarter-marathon for the half-IronMāori set for next month here in Napier.
Tame Iti is registered in the half-IronMāori, but was approached at the last minute to fill in the cyclist’s position for another team, which gave him the chance to check out the course for next month.
Tame believes, “it’s good to see how the road is, and to see the landmarks of Kahungunu in Hastings.”
The IronMāori journey is seen as a milestone for many Māori in proven determination to better their health and living.
Dave Makea had to borrow a bike from his brother when he first entered Iron Maori. Five years later, 40kg lighter and armed with a bike of his own, as well as the attitude to conquer anything, the Hawke’s Bay man is determined to complete the IronMaori Half Ironman this morning.
He will endure the mentally, physically and emotionally challenging event, along with hundreds more expected to compete in the 2km-swim, 90km-cycle and 21.1km run.
Mr Makea said his triathlon journey began with some life-threatening news.
“It started back in 2009, when my doctor told me I wasn’t going to make it to 2010. It was a wake-up call.”
The 51 year old Napier Port worker has carried on ever since he started in 2010.
His first Ironman in that same year took him 10 and-a-half-hours to finish, but over the years he has gradually gotten better.
From the 2013 Ironman, where he didn’t finish in the time allocated, yet still completed it, to this year where he has participated in numerous events already, Mr Makea has gained knowledge and experience he wouldn’t otherwise have picked up.
“I’m going to do it, because I can. That’s the attitude I have to have otherwise I will become a couch potato again.”
His exercise regime keeps him motivated, despite severe pain in his knees.
“During the winter season, I’m at the gym and at the pools, swimming. In the summer, I swim at Pandora Pond and cycle, either with my brother, wife or by myself.”
The enthusiastic sportsman is looking at completing this years event in under 9 hours, but would be over the moon with anything better. In the day leading up to the big event, he was planning to go for a short run, bike and swim to keep the momentum going.
As for advice for people in a similar situation to what he was in, Mr Makea said they need to start doing something.
“You need to get off your butt and so something, do anything. When you start, you need to pick yourself up, even when you are in a rut.”
Meanwhile Te Ururoa Flavell, the Maori Development Minister and Maori Party co-leader, will also be taking part in the event for the fourth time.
“It is an inspirational Maori event which encourages everyone, particularly our people to give it a go,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter about a person’s age or level of fitness it is about participation.I love it. I enjoy the whanau atmosphere of IronMaori. It is Whanau Ora in action.”