Mayors ready to race On your bike . . . lining up at Ranfurly on 24th February 2002 were Otago mayors (from left) Sukhi Turner, Alan McLay, Malcolm Macpherson and Juno Hayes (Clive Geddes missing)

After an article by ODT reporter Steve Hepburn

Waitaki mayor Alan McLay certainly liked the idea of the mayoral bike ride on the Otago Central Rail Trail challenge duathlon.

Mr McLay was to ride with the four other Otago mayors in the second day of the duathlon to promote the push-play programme, designed by Sport Otago. But Mr Mclay went one step further and teamed up with Sport Otago active living and events co-ordinator Matt Chisholm to do the entire duathlon. This led to a bike ride for the Waitaki district mayor of more than 120km while Mr Chisholm looked after the running.

The trek was not helped by a flat tyre near the end of the 37km stage between Alexandra and Lauder on Saturday, forcing Mr McLay to call on all his energies for the final 10.4km.

But his weary bones recovered on Saturday night and he lined up with three other mayors on Sunday. Queenstown mayor Clive Geddes was unable to make the event because of a family illness. Clutha mayor Juno Hayes, Central Otago mayor Malcolm Macpherson and Dunedin mayor Sukhi Turner all fronted alongside Mr Mclay for an initial bike ride of 21km from Ranfurly to Daisy Bank.

Though all the mayors said training had been going well, they confirmed the race was non-competitive. The emphasis was on participation and doing exercise, to promote the push-play programme, they said.

All four mayors seemed to get off to a good start in Ranfurly, although Clutha mayor Juno Hayes struggled to get his feet on the pedals properly. Mr Hayes was relieved to see the wind was behind them at the start.

"We've got a head wind except it's behind us," he warned.

All the mayors made it to Daisy Bank with no problems and Mr McLay successfully finished with Mr Chisholm in the middle of the field.

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