Oxman fundraiser for Farmstrong
Entrants into the Oxman triathlon in Canterbury this December are raising funds for rural wellbeing initiative Farmstrong.
The event has another rural theme – it’s taking place on Geoff Spark’s farm near Oxford, about 45 minutes west of Christchurch.
Geoff operates a couple of dairy units and a beef farm there but has also turned it into something of a sports hub for his local community.
‘There’s always plenty going on,’ he laughs. But clearly not quite enough because Geoff always had a hankering to turn his 5.5-hectare irrigation storage lake into a course suitable for water sports – swimming, kayaking, and boating. He even built a small house adjacent to the lake as a base for activities.
When Canterbury Triathalon organisers got in touch looking for a new venue to run an event, Geoff put his hand up to support. A half iron man with 30 athletes last December proved a success and feedback from athletes was positive. ‘They loved the course,’ he says.
On 15 December over 250 athletes will return to compete in the main Oxman event – a 1.8 k swim, a 90k bike ride around rural Oxford and a 21k run.
As well as raising funds for Farmstrong, the event is also proving a great drawcard for locals to get off-farm and participate.
‘I’m keen to promote it to the farming community and get local farmers and their families involved. There are races for every fitness level that are doable by everyone,’ says Geoff.
‘I’ve been farming for 20 years and I always loved the Farmstrong motto, live well to farm well. That’s been my experience. If you’ve got your life in balance – your family, your fitness and your mental wellbeing – then your farming’s going to go well too. It’s really great to get local farmers together to support that idea.’
‘The beauty of triathlon is that you’ve got a goal to aim at. We’ve got a local bike-riding group of 6 to 8 local farmers and we’ve been taking ‘bite-sized steps’ towards competing in the race. It’s a lot of fun. This is just a good, positive farming story.’
All Oxman competitors who use the promo code ‘Farmstrong’ when they enter will donate 20% of their race fee to Farmstrong.