After travelling around the country cheering his dad Dean across the finish line in adventure races and triathlons, 12-year-old Taniora Heke is looking forward to entering a race with him.
The Springwood duo are hoping for a top 10 finish in the final 2017 Paddy Pallin Adventure Series event at Glenbrook on September 23.
The 35km event is an off-road triathlon, comprising 15-25km mountain biking, 5-10km trail running, 2-4km kayaking and a navigation element. The lengths vary due to the navigational element, with the course a secret until an hour before the start, leaving competitors only a short time to strategise.
“We have to stay within 100m of each other. He can’t leave me behind,” Dean Heke said. “Taniora’s running has come along in the last few years. But I’ve got him on the cycling and kayaking,” he said with a laugh.
Taniora, a Faulconbridge Public School student, said his favourite component was the running but he also enjoyed the navigation and reaching the checkpoints.
His dad agreed, saying he enjoyed the navigation and being “able to read a map” was an advantage, as was knowing the area.
The father and son try to run or cycle together most days in preparation.
The 51-year-old father of three said the training and race was a good opportunity to spend quality time together. “I don’t often get that one-on-one time with my eldest son,” he said.
Gaining special permission, they entered the race last year, placing 19th.