On a perfect day, that was the backdrop for the very first Manono Island Swim + Run event. There have been many swims to and from Manono, but never a run.
The run is the continuation of the Samoa Events Run Series, and the swim is helping push out the boundaries for local open water swimmers in preparation for the international swim season to come. In the end it was a thoroughly perfect double event.
The seven swimmers all finished the race with a smile on their face. For six of them it was their first swim to Manono from the mainland.
Over the years, I have swam with many swimmers to Manono to fulfil their dream of touching land after swimming 3.7kms in Open water. I have done a few on my own, and many a times, I have turned around and swam straight back. It is the swim here: Open, free, challenging and safe.
All those aspects were in play yesterday. When you first stand at the Manono wharf looking at the island it looks so close that you can almost touch it. It gives the swimmer a slightly misleading sense for the swim to come.
For the first 1km in the smooth of the leeward part of the mainland that sense a very easy swim stays with you. Then the challenge emerges.
The current of the day starts to take over. The closer you are to the island the more prescribed the current becomes, and its either sweeping right or sweeping left. Yesterday, it was sweeping right to left across the face of Manono.
There were some big curves in the end in some of those individual lines. But it was all safe and a great yarn was told by everyone of their swim at the end.
The crossing was won by young Durant Webster of Tanifa o le Vai. His time of 1hr 18mins was 10 seconds ahead of Ty Feekings. The two made a break for it together early on, and stayed together to the finish.
Alex Montoro was second, followed by ANZ CEO Bernie Poort. Bernie was the only one of yesterday’s group to have swum to Manono before. He is relishing being back from Tonga and being able to inject himself into the local open swimming programme.
The two ladies, Aleka Freijah and Kat Riley swam together and were the next to finish. Stuart Brown is slowly getting back into swimming and was last to finish in 1hr 55mins. He had a great swim.
Next, the swimmers joined the rest of the group for the Run and Trot around the perfect island – no cars, no dogs, no bikes. The entire 6.14km trail and track around the island is litter-free and well maintained.
There were 24 runners / walkers in total. The run started at 3pm in the afternoon in the heat of the day.
In the run was newly returned Ironman Darren Young who used the race to loosen up tired legs from a week ago.
Alex, Durant and Ty doubled up from the swim to take the top three placings in the run. Montoro claimed his first run title in the Run Series. Combined times gives young Durant Webster overall victory of the race. Super Kat Riley takes another win in the run series and is the first women’s Manono combined winner.
The next Samoa Events race is the Race 2 of the TRI Series next Saturday at Mulinu’u.
RESULTS top 7
1. Durant Webster, 1hr 18mins
2. Ty Feekings 1:18:10
3. Alex Montoro 1:27:00
4. Bernie Poort 1:28:00
5. Aleka Freijah 1:40:22
6. Kat Riley 1:42:00
7. Stuart Brown 1:55:0
1. Alex Montoro 37mins 37secs
2. Durant Webster 38:01
3. Ty Feekings 39:20
4. Philip Marsden 42:01
5. Darren Young 47:00
6. Daniel Afoa 47:00
7. Susie Poort 47:09
Winners: Men, Durant Webster; Women, Kat Riley.