NELSON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 25: Wairua Warrior held at Cable Bay on March 25 2017 in Nelson, New Zealand. (Photo by: Evan Barnes Shuttersport Limited)

Warriors tame the pain (and mud)


Defending Wairua Warrior champion Ethan Helliwell embraced the man who beat him, as the Wairua Warrior was decided by seconds on Saturday.

The American pro Brakken Kraker lived up to his billing to topple Ethan and Waimea College’s multisport prodigy, Cameron Jones in a hotly contested elite men’s race over the 12km obstacle course at Happy Valley.

Brakken won the race in one hour 29 minutes and 23 seconds.

He won by one minute and 19 seconds over Ethan who had passed Cameron late with the teenager finishing third, a further 55 seconds behind.

More than 600 competitors took part in damp conditions both as individuals and teams competing in a 6km or 12km course, many of them tasting a sandbag carry or a mud crawl for the first time along the way.

Brakken used all of his experience to earn a lead from the outset but he knew Ethan and Cameron were on his tail the whole way.

Brakken says the Wairua Warrior course would stand up to any world standard course he has competed on around the world.

“It was brutal and a great mix of everything.”

“I’ve run technical, I’ve run terrain, I’ve run hills, but this has the best mix I’ve raced in.”

Ethan, who was third behind Cameron until the final set of monkey bars, says he was happy to finish second, but gave Cameron a lot of credit.

“He’s a terrific runner, especially in a straight line so I had to make the most of my chances to catch up when we did the obstacles.”

The trio all qualified as pros while Sam Millson, Manuel Casado, Ben Bolitho, Max Bell, Reid Carnegie, Dan Boote and Stu Cottam qualified in their age-group for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in Vancouver later this year.

Caitlin Fielder, Ethan’s partner Alysia Simkin and Dawn Chalmers all qualified for the global event in the women’s section after filling the podium.