Tuesday, 22 October 2019 14:55

Nothing wrong with this water!

Written by  Staff Reporters
Geoff and Rochelle Spark with irrigation lake in background. Geoff and Rochelle Spark with irrigation lake in background.

A new endurance event is starting in Canterbury courtesy of a dairy farmer’s irrigation lake.

The OxMan will include a variety of events based from the Spark family farm near Oxford.

Farm owners Geoff and Rochelle Spark, at Eyrewell, started building an irrigation lake on their Poyntz Rd property in 2010.

Geoff, a keen triathlete, says they always wanted the lake to double as a recreational area for their family and community.

The lake was also designed to tick environmental boxes: it’s surrounded by riparian planting, increasing biodiversity and habitat for native birds.

At 500m long and 120m wide it is ample for kayaking, water-skiing and swimming.

Oxman event director John Newsom says Canterbury lacks suitable swimming venues but the irrigation lake in North Canterbury is near perfect. It allows for a safe, smooth two lap swim in freshwater direct from the nearby Waimakarari River. 

 “We have issues finding clean, open-water swim venues in Canterbury and equally roads that are quiet enough directly next to these water spaces,” he told Rural News. “This lake and race site tick both these boxes. The triathlon community is excited about this new venue and event.”

The bike course will head towards Oxford, with the long-distance event carrying on completing three loops around Coopers Creek and View Hill before returning to Eyrewell for the final leg. 

“The bike course offers a nice challenge with a gentle grind up to Oxford, a few small bumps around Coopers Creek then a downhill finish. Most importantly the roads are not too busy with traffic,” Newsom said.

The final run leg would be a mix of shingle tracks and sealed roads in and around the race site. 

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