PRIZED EVENT: A competitor in last year’s Motu Challenge takes on the kayaking leg. File photo

MULTISPORTERS can bank on extra incentives for this year’s Motu Challenge.

In a bid to attract more competitors, organisers of the Motu Challenge have increased the prize money on offer for the multisport race.

Organising committee spokesman Jarrod Teddy said the event’s monetary rewards were back to a first-class level with a total of $20,000 up for grabs.

The increases include $2000 for both the male and female winners of the Motu 160, where previously the prize was $400.

It will mark the first time the Motu 160 prizes will pay out the same as the main race – which has also had an increase from $1000 for first place. Prizes will be paid out down to fifth place. The prize for the three or four-person team event in the main race has increased from $250 to $1000. There is also a $3000 prize for breaking the course record.

The event will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October and Teddy said they wanted to reinvest after categories such as the three or four-person team section, a lucrative part of the event, had dwindled.

“If you are running it like a business, you want income to pay for your costs. We have a target of 400 to 500 competitors over the whole event. We want to see 100 people at the start line for the Motu 160, which has been around 60 or 70 in the last few years.”

Like many races of its kind, the Motu Challenge has had to adapt from its original format.

In 2009, the event added the two-leg Motu 160 option, which includes largely the same mountainbike leg as the main race before a road cycle leg from Motu to Opotiki.

More recently, a duathlon option allowed for both cycle legs, with the run in the middle, or just the mountainbike and run legs. The Mini Motu is an off-road duathlon for children, based around Memorial Park.

The Motu Challenge has often been touted as the North Island’s premier multisport race and as a natural step to the Coast to Coast. Teddy said while changes had been made to the event as a whole, the bones of the race remained.

“It is important to stick with what we have, it is an iconic event on the New Zealand multisport calendar. It is a great event for the North Island Coast to Coast competitors. The Waioeka River is nowhere near as powerful as the Waimakariri, but it does have some challenging rapids. It is a great place for them to their hone skills.”

Teddy said three-time Coast to Coast winner Sam Clark, who cut his teeth on the Motu Challenge, was confirmed for this year’s race.