Locals earn podium finishes
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.
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.
Top leg: Dougal Allan rides along the Lake Wanaka waterfront during Challenge Wanaka.
Psyched: Simone Maier prepares for the swim during Challenge Wanaka.