It's been a long wait for Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service members Emily Mahon, Francesca Piceno and Olive Pearce, but the trio are excited to be lining up for Saturday’s Dexion Mount Monster.
The annual surf lifesaving endurance race is a great chance for lifeguards to bolster their fitness ahead of a big summer patrolling the beaches.
The grueling event includes a 23km paddle, a 5km run along soft sand and a 1500m swim, before ending with a 6km board paddle home.
Olympic swimmer Lewis Clareburt is just one of the names hoping to make a big impact at the ninth Mount Monster, with surf lifesavers from all over the country set to find out if their fitness is up to the job this summer.
Olympic swimmer Lewis Clareburt will add to the lustre of the ninth Mount Monster on Saturday as surf lifesavers from all over the country finally get to test their summer fitness.
The annual Dexion-sponsored surf lifesaving endurance race takes competitors on a stunning scenic tour of the Mount Maunganui coastline, starting and finishing in front of the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service.
Individual competitors will paddle 23km to Omanu and back, run 5km along the soft sand to Tay Street and back, then back out to the end of Moturiki Island for a jump off the blowhole and subsequent 1500m swim, before bringing things home with a 6km board paddle.
Clareburt, who represents the Lyall Bay club in Wellington, will make his debut at the event in a team also featuring Mount Maunganui stars Andrew Newton and Danny Hart.
The 22-year-old will take the swim leg, fresh from a break following the Tokyo Olympics where he made the finals in both the 200m and 400m medley.
It will be a timely hit-out for most of the 90-strong individual field and the 140-strong team entries, as this is the first major surf lifesaving event to be held this season thanks to Covid-19 disruptions.
Mount Monster organisers have done everything they can to make sure the event is viable, including limiting it to vaccinated competitors only, although Auckland-based athletes were ruled out because of travel restrictions.
That’s means defending women’s champion Rachel Clarke won’t be able to chase a record third title, while injury has also ruled out defending men’s champion Hamish Miller.
It’s left the door wide open for a new pair of winners, with Mount Maunganui’s Jayden Murphy (second last year) and Olive Pearce among the warm favourites, alongside Omanu’s Tanner Baxter, who was third last year.
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