Heat, legend no match for Tirau teen
Tirau triathlete Rebecca Kingsford got her year off to a flyer with a win in the Contact Tri-Series race in Whangamata on January 2.
Kingsford upset ironman legend Jo Lawn in claiming the win, her second victory in a week.
On December 27 Kingsford won the Surfbreaker Triathlon in Tauranga. There the 19 year old finished nearly three minutes clear of her nearest rival Maddie Dillon.
The Whangamata race was a tougher proposition for Kingsford.
Racing in 30 degree Celsius heat she tussled with defendingchampion Lawn, Teresa Adam and Maddy Brunton throughout the event.
Adam led out of the water and at the end of the bike stage. Starting the run, Kingsford was 20 seconds behind the race leader with Lawn and Brunton 45 seconds behind her.
With one lap of three completed, Adam started to struggle with a calf muscle problem and lost time before she eventually withdrew. This meant Kingsford took over the race lead with Lawn second.
Kingsford won in a time of two hours six minutes and 14 seconds to head off her senior rival by two minutes 15 seconds.
‘‘It was tough,’’ Kingsford said after the race. ‘‘I enjoyed the swim with the waves and a bit of swell, the bike was tough and to be honest I kept looking around to see how far back Jo was and if she was catching and the run was incredibly hot.
‘‘To think I have beaten a legend like Jo Lawn today though is unreal and a great result.’’
Lawn is a multisport legend in New Zealand, she has won the New Zealand ironman event at Taupo seven times.
Kingsford said she planned to race the North Island events in the Contact Tri-Series and aimed to make the New Zealand team for the world championships for a second consecutive year. The teen finished 28th in the women’s under 23 event at the ITU World Championships in Budapest last September. Her next race in the Contact Tri-Series is at Kinloch.