It was the day of the age groupers and the social athletes at the Barfoot & Thompson ITU World Triathlon in Auckland today as participants took to the course in sprint, standard, teams and paratri events.
Fiona Crombie of Christchurch has followed Kate McIlroy into triathlons with instant success winning the women’s section of the standard triathlon. Like McIlroy Crombie is a former New Zealand 3000 metre steeplechase champion as well as winning national cross country and road titles. But now at the age of 30 she has decided to concentrate on triathlons.
“It was great out there today. It is only my third standard tri so I wanted to see how it panned out.
“I want to go further in the sport but it will take time. It is my first major one and lots can go wrong in triathlons, so it’s just about experimenting and see what to do in different circumstances,” said Crombie who finished with a sizzling 36m 49s clocking for the 10km.
Sibling rivalry was the incentive all Matt Franklin needed to win the standard triathlon.
“My brother Sam usually beats me but I’ve been training for the last four weeks for this, so it was easy out there today,” he said.
“I’ve been doing triathlons for the last eight years and only started coming through in the last couple of years. I’ll probably move out to the half ironman but will stick with the standard until I get a bit older,” he added.
It was the 20 year olds first win over his 21 year old brother Sam, Matt recoding 1h 58m 19s, nearly six minutes faster than Sam.
“I’m pretty happy with that.”
A pair of 14 year olds won the sprint triathlons.
Daniel Hoy who was first coached by the late Jack Ralston was in great form winning the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run by a wide margin.
“I had a pretty solid swim but a little bit back from the first person but I soon caught him on the bike on a couple of hills going through Queen Street and I held it on the run,” said Hoy.
The Westlake Boys’ pupil will now reward himself with a holiday in England and a bit of a rest period before returning for the winter running scene of cross country and cycling.
“I’ve been doing triathlons for two years now and enjoying it, I’m now coached by Nathan Richmond,” he added.
Katherine Badham from Takapuna Grammar School was first through in the women’s sprint tri, helped over the closing stages with her favourite discipline running.
“I’m not really a swimmer but I had a good swim, and the bike and run were okay,” said a modest Badham.
However after just two years experiencing triathlons she has set her sights high.
“I want to keep going and hopefully make it to the Olympics,” she said.
“It was pretty good winning today; I’ve won a few before but never had the tape to breast at the finish before.”
Stephen Sheldrake an age group winner last October returned to compete only to receive his first ever penalty.
“I got my first penalty in a triathlon, first ever in my life. I had a bit of an indiscretion on the bike and got a two minute penalty on the side of the course. I suppose there’s got to be a first time for something.
“But I enjoyed it, it was a lovely day and it’s nice to be part of the triathlon and not be coaching on the side, I loved it. I’m now in the 40 age group and I’m definitely feeling every year now,” said Sheldrake who won the 40-44 age group by over seven minutes.
Former test cricket opener Mark Richardson anchored his Team Rigor home first in the teams event. Richardson training towards going under three hours in the Auckland Marathon later this year was pleased with his time of 19m 6s for the 5km leg.
“I was looking good heading out but half way around I wasn’t looking too flash, I definitely went out a little bit fast,” he said.
“I knew the team had put me in the lead and I was running scared I couldn’t let them down. What a fantastic event and congratulations to everyone who has been involved,” added Richardson.
Sam Wallace brought the TVNZ team home with a 21m 46s clocking over the 5km run.
“It’s rough, it’s different when you’ve got a whole team waiting for your performance, the pressure was on. Toni (Street) came out of the water first and Rawdon (Christie) put in a pretty good effort on the bike.
“What a cool event, when you’ve used up all your energy but with everyone looking at you, you have to keep running,” said Wallace.
Mike Ramsay New Zealand Ironman extraordinaire, never one to miss a triathlon was back in action, finishing second in the 65-69 age group.
“I enjoyed the swim, the bike was solid, but the run was just a plod for me as I’m just two weeks off recovering from an Achilles injury. I’ll be right in three months, maybe next season,” said Ramsay who has completed every New Zealand Ironman.
Former top runner Jerry Fletcher in the 65-69 age group, who was the organising chairman of the world cross country championships at Ellerslie Racecourse in 1988, is also a regular participant in triathlons these days.
“I finished in October and I finished today. I can’t recommend triathlons strongly enough, cross training is great,” said Fletcher.
A keen spectator in the stands at the finish line was former great Rick Wells, three times world champion and winner of the inaugural Commonwealth triathlon at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.
“The sport has really evolved and it’s great to see where it is now and it’s nice to have been a little part of its history,” said Wells.
Managing Director of Barfoot and Thompson, Peter Thompson, principal sponsor of the event said his company was pleased to support such a great event.
“It’s good to see Auckland out supporting the event. We had a number of teams competing, 16 in total out there led by Garth, Kiri and Henry Barfoot. We had managers, sales people, receptionists all competing today,” said Thompson.