Article by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
It's been 18 long years since Ian Porteous took his final, fateful jog along the beach but some of New Zealand's best surf athletes will again pay homage to him this week.
The Ian Porteous Memorial Ironman is the feature race of the Omanu Classic carnival, sponsored by New World Mount Maunganui, which will kick of at midday on Sunday.
Porteous was a teacher at Mount College, a conservationist, a family man, a marathon runner and a proud Omanu club member. He was just 44 when a massive heart attack struck, on the dune walkway he'd helped construct days earlier near Shark Alley, a day before Omanu's annual long-distance carnival.
Today, a memorial plaque stands where he fell, while fellow Omanu clubbie Denny Enright decided the 1996 long-distance ironman would be a fitting tribute to his good mate. Mount Maunganui's Aaron Jarman won that first event and the race is now a permanent and prestigious fixture on the local calendar.
There are some impressive names on the Ian Porteous trophy, with Jarman, Cory Hutchings, Andrew Newton and Matt Sutton all having tasted success, along with reigning New Zealand ironman champion Max Beattie who won last year.
Jarman (1995 and 1996) and Sutton (2006 and 2009) join 1998 and 2008 winner Damian Munro as the only double winners.
The Omanu Classic is a fast-paced afternoon carnival with $2500 worth of prizemoney and a heap of spot prizes on offer. It features a full range of water events, with board, ski and swim events.
Racing gets underway at 12.15pm, with spectators and supporters warmly welcomed.