Festival of multisport in town

Braden Currie won the 2016 Port of Tauranga Half.

What does a grueling half marathon, a 5km scenic run and a quick 400m dash have in common?

They’re all part of a three-day multisport festival in Mount Maunganui on January 6-8.

The third edition of the Mount Festival of Multisport will transform the iconic beachside location into a sporting hub, with a sports-filled schedule planned across three days.

The 2017 Port of Tauranga Half Marathon headlines the festival, which includes events for people of all ages and abilities such as the Under Armour Mount Run and Jetts Dash for Cash.

Festival director Wendy Boyce is looking to create a festival of events and activities which the public can watch, enjoy or participate in at “one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations”.

“The Mount Festival of Multisport has something for everyone, from the elite fields in the Port of Tauranga Half, to the Under Armour Mount Run and Jetts Dash for Cash; and for those who just want to soak in some sunshine and sport, there is Beach Volleyball on the main beach.”

Another iconic summer sport on the festival programme is the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Champs on Mount Main Beach. There’ll also be some established community events including The Big Little Markets and the Night Owl Cinema.

Wendy says the 2017 Port of Tauranga Half has assembled NZ’s top long distance triathletes for the men’s and women’s race on Saturday, January 7.

“The event doubles as the NZ long distance championships, with current champion Braden Currie looking to defend his title against a host of NZ long distance triathlon legends.

“To retain his NZ crown, Currie will need to beat 10-time winner Cameron Brown, 2013 winner Graham O’Grady, 2016 runner-up Mark Bowstead and rising star Matt Franklin.”

The women’s field in the 2017 Port of Tauranga Half also includes defending champ Amelia Rose Watkinson, 2011 runner up Anna Cleaver and 2015 third place-getter Julia Grant.

The Mount Festival of Multisport begins on Friday, January 6, alongside The Street Food Union from 5pm-9pm in Coronation Park.

On Saturday, January 7, the programme features the Port of Tauranga Half Marathon starting at 6.15am, followed by the Under Armour Mount Run, NZ Beach Volleyball Champs and the Jetts Dash for Cash.

Saturday concludes on Mount Drury with the Port of Tauranga Half prizegiving, followed by the Night Owl Cinema screening of ‘Eddie the Eagle’ at 8.30pm.

The Under Armour Mount Run starts and finishes on Pilot Bay and takes in the picturesque Mount Maunganui. The 5km distance takes runners around the base of Mauao, while the 9km event has runners heading around and up the Mount.

Elite and enthusiastic athletes make a 400m dash down Pilot Bay for The Jetts Dash for Cash at 3.30pm.

The NZ Beach Volleyball Championship features NZ’s top players, plus international teams from Japan and Germany. The tournament is scheduled across the weekend with finals on Sunday afternoon.

For more information, visit: www.mountfestival.kiwi