World number 16 ranked triathlete Debbie Tanner is a late inclusion in the field at Saturday’s ITU Oceania Triathlon Championships in Wellington, with the 27 year old confirming her first race of the season as she recovers from Achilles tendon problems in the off season.
Tanner will line up alongside New Zealand number one Andrea Hewitt and our best performer at the World Champs finale in Budapest last year Kate McIlroy, adding to an already strong international field that includes world number 8 Vicky Holland (GBR) and a host of other international and local contenders in a race that also carries national championship status over the standard distance.
“I only made the decision to race Wellington last week with my coach Pete Pfitzinger as I put tears in my Achilles in November and it has been a roller-coaster ride in getting them healed,” said Tanner.
“Now that I am running pain free, Pete and I went through a process of testing my legs each week to see what kind of load they were able to handle and were happy with the progress so decided that Wellington would be the perfect start for my 2011 season. Obviously with Olympic qualification this year, every decision is critical and the only thing that matters for me is being in the best shape possible come August and racing in London, but to get there you need to be able to have the stepping stones put in place and not only that, racing in New Zealand and in front of a home crowd is something I don’t get to do much so every have to make the most out of the opportunities.”
Tanner admits that her time out from the sport and in particular racing made her realise how much she loves what she does.
“It has been a long time since my last race in Budapest, but I am really looking forward to getting on the start line again, racing season is upon us and I am excited to be able to race. I was unsure only a few weeks ago if it was an option and this made me take stock and realise a few things about what I do and how lucky I am, so I am looking forward to Saturday!”
The women’s race is a strong international field with Japan, Australia, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Czech Republic and of course New Zealand represented with the favourites including Takapuna winner Vicky Holland (Great Britain) and Andrea Hewitt (Christchurch) while also lining up is Elizabeth May (Luxembourg) and a host of other Kiwis including world number 22 Kate McIlroy in her first start after surgery to both Achilles tendons in the off season.
The elite women’s Contact Cup and Oceania Championship race is set to start in front of Waitangi Park at 10.30am and the men at 11.45am on Saturday, with the bike and run leg taking the athletes along Oriental Parade before finishing back at Waitangi Park.
Contact Tri Series
Saturday 12th March
Incorporating Oceania Championship for Elite and U23 competitors
Click here for course maps and information
Registration (Trophy and 3:9:3 participants)
Friday 11th March 4pm to 7pm Freyberg Pool
Saturday 12th March 6am to 6.45am Waitangi Park
Age group men 7.15am
Age group women 7.20am
Children – Boys 8.00am
Children – Girls 8.10am
Beginner – Men 9.20am
Beginner – Women 9.23am
Beginner – Teams 9.24am
Contact U19 Sprint Distance Nationals and Oceania Championship
Contact Cup Standard Distance Nationals and Oceania Championship
Elite/U23 Women 10.30am
Elite/U23 Men 11.45am