Marathon ride by George Rookes

26 Oct 2023

Standout cyclist George Rookes has taken on his biggest challenge, competing in the Whaka 100 race in Rotorua at Labour Weekend.

George, 17, has finished 9th in the U23 section and 54th overall in the 450-strong field, powering through more than 100 kilometres in six hours 17 minutes.

“It was by far the hardest race I have ever competed in and it pushed me to the edge of what I thought I was capable of doing,” the Year 13 Julius House student says.

The marathon distance national championships cover “108 kilometres of single track in the Whakarewarewa Forest, with 3000 vertical metres of climbing”.

The mountain-biking marathon combines an “endless single track with relentless climbs and descents” to deliver a gruelling event in tough terrain. Designed to test the best mountain bikers, the Whaka 100 is acknowledged as one of the southern hemisphere's toughest single-day mountain bike events, presenting a remarkable test of endurance.