Cook Islands Triathlon Association president Roland Neururer said they have 81 individuals and 20 teams competing in the event today.
Neururer said the turnout will be higher than the numbers recorded in the recent years.
He said this was mainly due to the 25th anniversary of the annual event.
“The silver jubilee celebration is surely one of the main reasons why we have seen a huge increase in the number of competitors and we are very excited with the numbers,” Neururer said.
The competition today starts at 1.30pm with the swim event at the Tikioki Tri Site.
The swim event comprise an irregular shape one lap 1.5 kilometre swim in Tikioki lagoon followed by the cycle leg of 40.7km, covering much of the west side of Rarotonga.
The run leg is out and back, turning right out of the transition area heading firstly towards Muri. The turnaround is at 2.5km (soon after the bridge at “Pacific Resort”) where runners will cross the road and return, continuing their run past the transition area and a further 2.5km to the second turnaround.
At the second turnaround (at the Queen’s Representative offices), runners will again cross the road so they can run on the right, and run 2.5km back to the finish.
“The forecast looks great and we hope it remains like that. It’s little bit windy out there and this will surely affect the cyclists during the competition,” Neururer said.
“The onus will be on the participants to adapt to the conditions during the day on their way to the finish line.”
New Zealand’s Sam Kettle, who won the event last year, is back to defend his title and Neururer says he is the top favourites in the men’s division.
Kettle has represented New Zealand internationally as an elite racer on the ITU circuit and has had a number of impressive races since his early days as a college athlete.
Neururer will lead the local charge in the competition.
In the women’s competition, Rarotonga’s Harriet Browning is one of the favourites alongside New Zealand’s Molly Swanson.
Neururer said there were a number of unknown competitors, especially from New Zealand, who would be putting pressure on the top favourites.
Meanwhile the boiler swim which was supposed to be held on Thursday has been postponed to next week due to rough seas.
The event will now be held on Tuesday at 12.30pm.
Today – 11.30am Transition Opens at Tikioki site, 11.30am-1pm: Race Registration and Numbering, 1:30pm Air New Zealand Rarotonga
Triathlon Race Start (waist deep water) in Tikioki Lagoon, 6pm Race cut off time – marshals will vacate the course
Tomorrow – 4.30pm Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon Prize-giving & dinner at Edgewater Resort & Spa
Monday, May 6 – 8am Ride Rarotonga Mountain Bike Tour – A social mountain bike ride through the more rugged parts of Rarotonga. There will be the occasional “off bike” excursion such as pushing your bike through thickets of tall grasses, streams, etc. with some good, challenging hills to climb, 5pm – Raro Hash House Harriers 4km run/walk venue is in Arorangi beside the main road adjacent to Sunset Resort. Island Feast supplied by Hash Harriers. Highly recommended and with modest cost ($15 per person; children under 10 half price)
Tuesday, May 7 – 3.30pm to 4.30pm Registration and timing chips for paid entrants for the Ride Rarotonga Tour de Raro Cycle Race, 4.45pm Ride Rarotonga Tour de Raro Race Start, 7.30pm. Post Ride Rarotonga Tour de
Raro Cycle Race Wrap-up and BBQ get together at Edgewater Resort & Spa