Olympian takes aim at winter multisport race


Queenstown Winter Olympian Sarah Murphy isn’t winding into competition mode for Saturday’s Peak 2 Peak. 

Instead, the laid-back 22-year-old biathlete is entering the popular local multisport race for fun and with few expectations. 

“This year my goal is to not get a flat tyre,” she laughs. 

Canadian-born Murphy, who describes herself as a “Caniwi” with a Canadian dad and a Kiwi mum, races in the solo women’s category for the second year in a row. 

Last year she placed fifth with an impressive time of 3hr 26min 45sec, despite getting a flattie on the mountain bike leg. 

Her first time in the race , which involves skiing or snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, running and road cycling, was as part of a 2008 women’s open team. They ended up winning the category. 

Murphy plays down any hope of doing well this year. 

“I think people have this view that Olympians are absolutely amazing people but we are just dedicated people to one discipline. 

“So when you put us into unfamiliar activities we are the same or more hopeless than the average Joe because our muscles are so specific to what we are doing.” 

Murphy was still trying to find a mountain bike and a road bike to compete on earlier this week – not that she’s worried about that: “It’s only an issue if you make it an issue.” 

The 44km race from The Remarkables to Coronet Peak fits nicely into Murphy’s hectic training schedule. 

The full-time adventure tourism management student at Queenstown Resort College juggles four days of school with training six times a week, including spending three days a week at Snow Farm in the Cardrona Valley. 

After finishing 82nd in both the 7.5km sprint and 15km women’s biathlon events – comprising cross-country skiing and target shooting – at the Vancouver Olympics in February, Murphy went on to win the Canadian national champs. 

She’s looking forward to racing amongst hundreds of others when the start gun fires at noon. 

“Peak 2 Peak is appealing because anyone can do it and the vibe of the race is so good.”