‘Awe­some’ turnout for old­est triathlon


Ath­letes from around the coun­try cel­e­brated Christ­mas by com­pet­ing in the Lake Hayes Triathlon on De­cem­ber 27.

Lake Hayes Christ­mas triathlon or­gan­iser Adrian Bai­ley said this year’s event had an ‘‘awe­some’’ turn-out. How­ever, lo­cal ath­letes were in the ma­jor­ity.

‘‘It’s not so much of a calo­rie burner, even though we joke about that, but it’s a great fam­i­ly­ori­ented event within ev­ery­one’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties be­cause we have so many dif­fer­ent events.’’

Bai­ley, who flew from Aus­tralia on the day of the race and had his col­leagues start the event with­out him, said he was ‘‘stoked’’ to see ev­ery­thing run­ning smoothly.

‘‘When I flew in to­day I could see the course when we came out of the cloud. It was kind of a weird sen­sa­tion be­cause I was watch­ing the race from up in the sky.’’

Fe­male sprint-dis­tance win­ners were Fiona Crom­bie (1.08.57s), Anna Beik of Gibb­ston (1.12.00s) and Anna Lind­say (1.12.23s).

Male sprint-dis­tance triathlon win­ner Saxon Mor­gan, of Christchurch, de­cided to com­pete a day be­fore the event while on a fam­ily hol­i­day.

He broke the tape in 1.02.37s. Steve Mor­ri­son from Cromwell was sec­ond in 1.03.04s; Reuben Thomp­son fin­ished third in 1.04.54s.

The 16-year-old win­ner bor­rowed clothes and a bike for the day. Saxon found the course ‘‘quite tough’’, de­spite train­ing 11 times a week in Christchurch.

Queenstown ath­lete Gab­bie Ernst also found the triathlon race tough af­ter a two-year break from the event. ‘‘That would teach me not to eat too much Christ­mas pud­ding,’’ she said.

An­other event was a 5km run, in which farmer Adam Hill was the first to cross the fin­ish line. ‘‘The only fit­ness I do is lift­ing hay bales,’’ he laughed.

A Wanaka mother and daugh­ter ran the duathlon event to­gether, with Cathren Pell com­plet­ing an 8km bike ride and Elizabeth Pell, 8, run­ning 3km.

The Lake Hayes race was first held in 1983 and is New Zealand’s old­est sur­viv­ing triathlon.

The sprint-dis­tance triathlon (750-me­tre swim, 20-kilo­me­tre cy­cle and 5km run) was one of seven events on of­fer, in­clud­ing a duathlon, 5km and 10km runs and a half dis­tance triathlon (2km swim, 100km cy­cle and 18km run).


Queenstown’s Gab­bie Ernst af­ter her race at the Lakes Hayes Christ­mas triathlon in Queenstown.

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