The KWT mantra sums up what the event is all about: –“Inspire, Motivate, Participate”
Encouraging participation and enjoyment
By Roger Childs
The Kapiti Women’s Triathlon (KWT) promotes participation for women and girls, with options suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. We consider everyone who makes the start line is a winner. –Former New Zealand elite triathlete, Evelyn Williamson.
As the website puts it: “The emphasis of the event is on a friendly, affordable, non-competitive atmosphere. There’s something for everyone with a range of event options available. In fact there are nine different combinations for individuals, as well as teams events.” (go to: http://www.kwt.org.nz/)
An event with plenty of history
The KWT has been running for 38 years and more than 15,000 women and girls having taken part during this time. It has also involved many community groups, sports clubs, businesses and other organisations.
The event was the brainchild of well known local sporting and environmental personality, Jan Nisbet. At the time she was Recreation Programmer for the Council and responsible for encouraging people to get out and exercise. Having done a couple of triathlons herself where very few women participated, Jan decided to set the wheels in motion for a Raumati-based events specifically for females.
The Kapiti experience was the first women-only triathlon in the North Island. In November 1983 there were 299 participants in the inaugural KWT.
The competitors —
–ran about 5km: on the sand from Raumati Beach to the S bends, then via Tahi St to the tracks round the south end of the airport and on to Weka Park.
–cycled about 10km: down Raumati Road, and along Rimu Road, Kapiti Road , Marine Parade, Wharemauku Road, Matatua Road and back to Weka Park.
–ran about 200m to Raumati Pool.
–swam about 300m in the pool where officials valiantly tried to felt mark competitors arms as they completed every two laps!
–ran back to Weka Park to the finish.
A legend was born
The event was a fantastic success and plenty of community groups were delighted to be involved. The Kapiti Joggers did the run marshalling and the local Cycling Club monitored the biking section.
There was a party atmosphere at Weka Park following the event, and tired finishers were able to relax and picnic on the grass with their families, and enjoy the prize giving and spot prize draw. An iconic event was born. Over the years there have been many modifications and course changes. However, in Evelyn Williamson’s words: “It’s come a wee way, but is still really a simple event at heart.”
There have been a few accidents and incidents, such as when an errant marshal sent the cyclists down to the State Highway instead of along Rimu Road! However, there have been thousands of very satisfied customers who keep coming back.
The swim is now in the sea off Raumati Beach and the headquarters are in Marine Gardens. The bike course is also a lot safer now with the riders cycling up to the north end of Manly Street in Paraparaumu Beach and back.
And the run takes advantage of safe tracks along the Wharemauku Stream, and starts and finishes at Marine Gardens.