A challenge and a half

Queenstown’s Anthony King, who’s again tackling Motatapu’s 56km Coronet Loop mountain bike event next Saturday, admits he didn’t realise what the challenge involved when signing up for last year’s race.

Having done Motatapu’s 47km mountain bike race from Wānaka to Arrowtown about seven times, the 47-year-old entered the new event simply because he could drive him self to the start-line.

‘‘When I tried to convince other people to do it with me, they all said, ‘have you actually looked at the course?’’’

King says he also found the Motatapu version wasn’t just the standard Coronet Loop — ‘‘you climb all the way up to the Skippers Saddle and then they send you all the way back down to the main road, almost, and you do it again’’.

He’d also been under-trained due to ACL surgery just seven months earlier.

Still, he did manage to finish — in 5 hours 45 minutes.

‘‘It’s an incredibly good challenge, it tests your mental will, and I take it as just a really good opportunity to get into the country and enjoy it.’’

A co-owner of a Motatapu sponsor, Queenstown’s Pak’n Save supermarket, King’s hoping to go a bit faster this year.

‘‘Any time you do these events you wish you’ve done a bit more training, but I’m comfortable I’ll get around and have a good time and take in the scenery on the way.’’

Meanwhile, Arrowtowner Bonnie Pryde, who’ll again tackle the off-road Motatapu marathon along with her partner, Thabit Ayoub, says it was new territory for her last year.

Personal motivation: Bonnie Pryde, right, with her daughter Willa Pearl Ray, 9, and dad Tom Pryde, says entering Motatapu helps her bond with Tom

‘‘I’m a lot more of a walker and a yogi than a runner.’’

However, the 45-year-old also had a personal reason for entering — her father, Tom Pryde, who suffers from dementia, co-founded Motatapu.

‘‘With Tom being how he is, it’s nice to kind of do things to feel connected to him, with his passion being up in those hills.’’

And having done her first Motatapu, Bonnie’s certainly come to appreciate the ‘‘spectacular’’ scenery it’s set in.

This year, she expects to do more walking than running — ‘‘I’ve had a broken big toe for the last couple of months which has really slowed down the training’’.

Motatapu, on March 2, also incorporates the 15km Miners Trail, 52.5km Ultra Run and 4km Junior Trail Run.

It’s once again expected to attract almost 3000 participants — the finish-line for all six races is in Arrowtown’s Wilcox Green.

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