Lo­cals earn podium fin­ishes

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - By CHE BAKER and NATHAN BURDON

Wanaka swim spe­cial­ist teacher Dou­gal Al­lan said Chal­lenge Wanaka would be a ‘‘chas­ing race’’ for him. And it was. The first time chal­lenge com­peti­tor was able to snatch third place in the race on Satur­day af­ter a strong chase fol­low­ing the 3.8km swim which put him 17 min­utes be­hind the lead­ers. The only ad­van­tage from his swim was that his change bag was easy to find be­cause it was the only one left in the elite field. Al­lan then peeled off the best bike leg over 180km of the day to el­bow his way to­wards the podium. The fi­nal leg was a 42.2km run. ‘‘I’m over the moon re­ally. I had a fo­cus on my own game plan all day, just try­ing to stay in the mo­ment. I was never go­ing to think about the out­come un­til I crossed the fin­ish line. ‘‘I passed a few, com­ing out of the swim as far back as I did, but that didn’t re­ally change the way I was rac­ing,’’ he said. Al­lan, a two-time run­ner-up in the Coast to Coast, had no prob­lems with third place. ‘‘Just the way the day unfolded, the cal­i­bre of the ath­letes out there, when I was com­ing in here know­ing I was third, I was ab­so­lutely stoked.’’ Christchurch’s Dy­lan McNe­ice de­fended his Chal­lenge Wanaka ti­tle be­com­ing the first male com­peti­tor to go back-to-back in the long-dis­tance triathlon. For­mer win­ner and course record holder Richard Ussher took sec­ond place. Wanaka-based fe­male rac­ers Gina Craw­ford and Si­mone Maier came sec­ond and third re­spec­tively in the wom­ens sec­tion. Cam­bridge’s Candice Ham­mond was able to turn the ta­bles on Craw­ford, who has won the event five times. ‘‘I don’t think I’ve ever been in so much pain in [an iron-dis­tance race] be­fore. It was a real men­tal bat­tle out there but it was good to get to the fin­ish line,’’ Craw­ford said. ‘‘I knew it was go­ing to be re­ally hard be­cause I’ve made a lot of changes to my bik­ing and run­ning, and it just wasn’t enough time but I re­ally wanted to race here be­cause it’s my favourite race,’’ she said.

Photo: GETTY IM­AGES 628853165

Run­ner-up: Wanaka-based Gina Craw­ford crosses the line in sec­ond. Elite men: Dy­lan McNe­ice 8:38:48; Richard Ussher 8:49:49; Dou­gal Al­lan 8:54:37. Elite women: Candice Ham­mond 9:33:54; Gina Craw­ford 9:41:08; Si­mone Maier 9:48:50.

Photo: GETTY IM­AGES 628852562

Top leg: Dou­gal Al­lan rides along the Lake Wanaka water­front dur­ing Chal­lenge Wanaka.

Photo: GETTY IM­AGES 628853344

Psyched: Si­mone Maier pre­pares for the swim dur­ing Chal­lenge Wanaka.

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