The severe weather warnings have forced Ironman New Zealand organisers to postpone their event in Taupo for safety reasons.
Tomorrow’s planned Ironman has been postponed with organisers planning a 70.3, or half distance Ironman event on the Sunday.
The advice from the Civil Defence and New Zealand Met Service is that Taupo will be hit by heavy rain, winds gusting to 140kph and near zero wind chill factor.
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â€œIf we proceeded based on the weather information we have received, then we would be putting at serious risk the health and welfare of the athletes, our 2000 volunteers and the public. Accordingly we have agreed to postpone the event on Saturday,â€ said the Event Director, Jane Patterson.
The New Zealand Met Service has forecast improving conditions for Sunday. However the organisers will not know the extent of the damage from the forecasted storm, nor can they be confident they can provide the required medical services, volunteer support, water safety and operational infrastructure for a full distance Ironman.
â€œIn this respect the safety and welfare of our competitors is paramount. We believe we can put on a 70.3 race (half Ironman distance).
â€œIronman have agreed that this will carry all of the benefits as if it were a full distance Ironman in terms of qualifying spots for the Ironman World Championships for age groupers and prizemoney and qualifying points for professionals.â€
Additionally Ironman has offered all athletes an opportunity to compete in another full distance Ironman anywhere in the world this year at a significantly reduced entry.
The plan is to start on Sunday at 7.45am for the professionals and 8am for age groupers with the winner expected by 11am.
With half of the 1600 participants from overseas, this will allow for the award function to continue as scheduled and for both internationals and New Zealand based competitors to meet with their current travel and work commitments.
Ironman New Zealand athletes will also have the opportunity to race an Ironman event of their choice at a discounted price between now and the end of June. Full details will be communicated via email within two weeks.