Peak to peak, in a jiffy


Perfect conditions made for quick times for Saturday’s Peak to Peak multisport race in Queenstown.

More than 350 people took part in the 23rd edition of the 44km race from the top of The Remarkables ski area to the Coronet Peak skifield base building.

The men’s race was won by defending champion Hamish Fleming, of Queenstown, in 2hr 11min 19sec, while four-time winner Joanna Williams, of Wanaka, was the fastest woman home — despite competing in the veterans’ division — in a time of 2hr 31min 33sec.

Organiser Geoff Hunt says the fine day, good snow at The Remarkables skifield and the extended seal on the access road contributed to Fleming’s “bloody” fast time.

Christchurch’s Flavio Vianna finished second, four minutes behind Fleming, while early pacesetter Eryn Cutler, of Queenstown, came third.

Fleming said he was not concerned when he was passed by four team competitors in the running leg.

Instead, he was worried about the gap between him and Vianna, and when his support crew told him the Christchurch athlete was only 100m behind at the bike transition, he got some “extra incentive to put in a really hard effort” on the first part of the climb up the Coronet Peak road.

That was the reaction Fleming’s crew wanted, but in fact Vianna was almost six minutes behind.

The race’s course required competitors to ski or snowboard down The Remarkables’ Homeward Bound run before jumping on mountain bikes for the 17km leg down the access road.

That was followed by a 7km paddle on Lake Wakatipu from Frankton Beach to Queenstown Bay, a 9km run to Arthurs Point and a 9km cycle up to the Coronet Peak base building.

The second woman home, and the winner of the open women’s division, was Floortje Grimmet, of Wanaka, while Queenstown athletes Natalie Jakobs and Rosie Hill took the next two places.

In the veteran men’s section, Alexandra’s Shaun Portegys pipped Queenstown-based multi-sport legend Steve Gurney by 36 seconds.

In the teams section, Dunedin-based defending champions Valley Strength and Conditioning defended their title, veterans team entrant Avantiplus Dunedin was second and Queenstown’s Proactive Physio was third.

The junior school team section was won by St Joseph’s School’s 7 Torpedos, while the high school section was won by Dunstan High School’s Dislexic Moments.

Otago Daily Times