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Adair Craik thinks North Otago multisport’s biggest day is one of the special dates on the sporting calendar.

The annual Oamaru triathlon/duathlon and associated South Island secondary schools championships will again bring hundreds of keen multisporters to the town on Sunday.

They will swim, cycle and run in and around the Oamaru Harbour, which will be turned into a seething mass of colourful lycra for a couple of hours.

Organiser Craik expects anywhere from 200 to 250 entries – roughly on par with previous years – for the event.

She said one of the big appeals of the day was the setting, which was ideal for spectators as well as competitors.

“It’s very cool because you can watch pretty much the whole race standing in the same spot.

“From an individual competitor point of view, you can basically watch anyone. You can see how everyone else is doing, and you can see how you’re doing.

“It’s just a really fast and fun event. You’ve got great visibility the whole race. You can see people running and cycling, and the swim is quick and easy for most people.

“It’s a beautiful setting. People just love coming to it. Younger kids can play in the playground, and grandparents can grab a coffee before the action starts.”

The Oamaru Multisport Club has had excellent turnouts at its regular Wednesday night events leading up to Sunday’s big race.

The Oamaru triathlon/duathlon is for individuals or teams, and also includes a recreational section.

Competitors in the triathlon swim 300m in the harbour, cycle 20km on the Humber St course, and run 5km around the waterfront, while the duathlon features a 2km run, a 20km cycle and a 5km run.

The South Island secondary schools event includes races at under-19, under-16 and under-14 levels.

Craik said the talented Staufenberg brothers, Janus and Julius, of Wanaka, were ones to watch in the schools race, while Hayden Williams would lead local hopes inthe full triathlon.

“There will be a few local identities but also some young superstars from around the South Island.

“This is a race that covers a broad spectrum. We want everyone to come and be part of it.”

The race is followed next Thursday by the Kiwikids Tryathlon for primary and intermediate school pupils.

It will be held at Oamaru Intermediate School at 4pm.