The prestigious Port of Tauranga Half triathlon has received further kudos in what will be its 25th anniversary event in January 2014; with confirmation the iconic race will again carry National Long Distance Championship status and World Championship qualification.
The news comes just over a week out from entries going online on May 1st and will only reaffirm the race as one of the most popular on the summer calendar with age group selection for the 2014 ITU Long Distance World Championships up for grabs.
Entries open at 10am on May 1st for the general public, but 9am for Tri NZ Tribe members. For those athletes on the preferential list, entries will open later this week. To enter at 10am on May 1st, visit the event website, www.tgahalf.co.nz.
CEO of Sport Bay of Plenty Wayne Werder is expecting demand to be high.
"We are delighted with the news that the Port of Tauranga Half will be the National Long Distance Championship in 2014. With the event also celebrating it 25th anniversary it is shaping up to be an event to remember, and having the leading elite and age group athletes at the Mount to help us celebrate is particularly exciting.
"This will be a special edition of a special event and I have no doubt demand will be high with many former participants keen to return and be a part of the 25 year celebrations.”
The event has been fully subscribed in recent years and 2014 is expected to be no different. Triathlon New Zealand CEO Craig Waugh says the national body is proud to play its part in an event that has meant so much to so many people over the past 24 years.
"The word iconic has to be earned and the Port of Tauranga Half has certainly earned the right to that status. It is a hugely popular event in a wonderful part of the country and Sport Bay of Plenty continue to deliver a great experience for all participants.
"It is a fantastic test for age groupers looking to earn a spot on the New Zealand team for the ITU World Long Distance Champs later in the year and yet also a course that favours the weekend warrior whose biggest goal might be simply to make the finish line.
"Triathlon New Zealand is proud to be associated with Sport Bay of Plenty in the continued delivery of this fantastic event and looks forward to another great day on Saturday 4th January next year.”
25 years ago the sport looked very different. The equipment was certainly less advanced and often the race suits left a little more bare skin on display and banana’s might have been about as scientific as it got while racing.
Very few events can call on the history of 24 years that the Port of Tauranga Half can look back on, a history that has seen the race evolve alongside the sport with a list of winners that would grace any race anywhere in the world, led by long distance legends Cameron Brown (9), Joanna Lawn (4) and internationals such as Aussies Rebekah Keat (3 wins), Kate Bevilaqua and Craig Alexander.
Former Canadian representative Frank Clarke won the event back in 1993 and has of course since made his home in New Zealand while some of the ‘pioneers’ of the sport are proud to have their name forever etched on the winners board, the likes of Scott Balance, Karyn Balance (nee Williams), Walter Thorburn, Tony O’Hagan, Sue Clark, Jenny Rose and Megan Robertson. It really is a ‘hall of fame’ for the sport in New Zealand.
Age group athletes will be vying for spots on the New Zealand team for the 2014 ITU World Long Distance Championships in WeiHai, China, on dates later in 2014 that are yet to be confirmed by the ITU.
To qualify, age groupers will need to finish within 20% of the winner in their respective age group and also be in the top 12 finishers in their age group.
To be considered, athletes must be:
Full qualification criteria and eligibility rules will be available online from May 1 at www.triathlon.org
The Port of Tauranga Half is over a race distance of 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run, while the ITU World Long Distance Championships is raced over the slightly longer 4km swim, 120km bike and 30km run.
Port of Tauranga Half - Honours Board:
2013 Graham O’Grady Gina Crawford
2012 Cameron Brown Joanna Lawn
2011 Callum Millward Joanna Lawn
2010 Michael Poole Samantha Warriner
2009 Duncan Milne Samantha Warriner
2008 Kieran Doe Kate Bevilaqua (AUS)
2007 Cameron Brown Joanna Lawn
2006 Nathan Richmond Joanna Lawn
2005 Craig Alexander (AUS) Samantha Warriner
2004 Cameron Brown Rebekah Keat (AUS)
2003 Cameron Brown Rebekah Keat (AUS)
2002 Cameron Brown Rebekah Keat (AUS)
2001 Cameron Brown Nicole Cope
2000 Cameron Brown Robin Rooke
1999 Cameron Brown Karyn Ballance
1998 Cameron Brown Heidi Alexander
1997 Tony O’hagan Karyn Mills
1996 Walter Thorburn Jenny Rose
1995 Scott Ballance Sue Clark
1994 Tony O’Hagan Sue Clark
1993 Frank Clarke (CAN) Megan Robertson
Tony O’Hagan Megan Robertson
1991 Dave Bradding Corie Lyons (USA)
1990 Scott Balance Karen Williams
Men: Nathan Richmond (2006) and Graham O’Grady (2013) 3:47:54
Women: Samantha Warriner 4:10:47