Hot on the heels of New Zealanders Cameron Brown, Belinda Harper and Candice Hammond standing on the podium at Ironman Cairns, yet more New Zealanders featured highly at the Ironman 70.3 in Hawaii, a forerunner to October's World Ironman Championship, with 3 men in the top ten and representation on the women's podium.
While 7 x Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong continued to astound the triathlon world with his preparation for a tilt at Kona with an impressive win over Greg Bennett (AUS) and Chris Lieto (USA), New Zealanders were to the fore in the top ten of both the elite men's and women's events.
Leading the way for the Kiwis was Julia Grant (Christchurch) with a strong second place in the women's race behind Linsey Corbin (USA). 27 year old Grant will take great encouragement from arguably her strongest performance against international opposition in the tough conditions over the 70.3 distance as she prepares for an attack on the Ironman 70.3 world championships in September this year.
Armstrong though continues to make the triathlon world sit up and take notice that his foray into the sport is a serious one, the 41 year old knocked 6 minutes of the race record, previously held by Chris McCormack.
It was in fact a day for the 40 plus brigade, with Bennett and Lieto both having seen the last of their 30's, emphasising how important experience and maturity is in the sport of triathlon, in particular over the longer distances.
Guy Crawford was the best of the New Zealanders in 5th, while the Bowstead brothers James and Mark came home 7th and 9th respectively.
For the full race report and summary, click here
Ironman 70.3 Hawaii Pro Men
1 Armstrong, Lance USA 03:50:55
2 Bennett, Greg AUS 03:53:41
3 Lieto, Chris USA 04:05:55
4 Twelsiek, Maik USA 04:06:16
5 Crawford, Guy NZL 04:06:59
6 Jeuland, Jose FRA 04:12:24
7 Bowstead, James NZL 04:13:45
8 Hauth, Chris USA 04:16:54
9 Bowstead, Mark NZL 04:18:05
10 Marr, Timothy USA 04:18:58 Pro Women 1 Corbin, Linsey USA 04:26:09 2 Grant, Julia NZL 04:30:17 3 Walsh, Beth USA 04:31:47 4 Wee, Bree USA 04:32:45 5 McQuaid, Melanie CAN 04:38:57