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Fifth anniversary . . . Whitehorse Big Easy organising committee member Ryan Luckman is looking forward to this year's event. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Five years of the Whitehorse Big Easy will be celebrated with the introduction of medals this year.

The annual Waimate multisport event, to be held on February 28, would have medals for athletes who placed in the top three in the various events, organising committee member Ryan Luckman said.

There will also be 50 souvenir medals available to buy at Victoria Park on the day, to mark the fifth year of the event.

All the popular mountain biking events return this year, with distances of 7km, 13km, 20km and 27km.

“The 13km bike is a really exciting one this year because we’ve incorporated the Twisted Monster, which is a really cool new track up there,” Luckman said.

Running and walking events return too, including 5km, 12km and 18km distances, and there will also be a 1.5km kids’ race.

Teams of two can also enter, with one athlete completing the 27km mountain bike and the other completing the 18km run, or athletes can chose to tackle both in the solo elite event.

Both the team challenge, and solo elite are designed to raise money for charity, and 75% of the funds will go to various groups in Waimate, while 25% goes to an organisation chosen by the athletes.

More than 400 people usually took part in the event, Luckman said, but he believed there could be an increase in numbers this year.

“I think we’ve seen quite a few people since lockdown not being able to do stuff and getting a bit stir crazy.

“I suspect it could even be more this year, for people who are looking for something to get off the couch.

“It’s really one for everyone and everyone’s capabilities.”

Athletes travelled from Canterbury to Invercargill for the event, and most registered already were from outside Waimate, he said.

There was strong community involvement throughout the day, with people dressing up and groups getting involved in the events, he said.

“It’s going to be really fun to see it play out.”

The Big Easy was introduced five years ago after the Rotary Club of Waimate spent years supporting the creation of the mountain bike tracks in the South Canterbury town.

The Big Easy committee wanted to showcase Waimate’s tracks and help make more, he said.

“It’s worked very well.

“We’ve done a new track every year so it gets more and more exciting.”url cloneNike Air Max 90 W nike elite running clothes