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Puncture doesn’t stop Stoddart

Monday 12 April 2010 | Published in Regional

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So determined was he to hold onto his title, Geoff Stoddart rode the last 4km of the bike leg on a punctured tyre during Saturday’s annual Tin Man Triathlon.

Rarotonga turned on near-perfect conditions for the 28th annual triathlon at Tikioki.

Twenty two individuals and 10 teams took up the challenge of the Triathlon Association’s ‘National Race’ over a 1200m swim, 31km round island bike and 10km run.

The 32 swimmers took off on their swim in a fairly calm lagoon, with Kelly Pick emerging from the water first, followed nine seconds later by Kevin Henderson and team Shipstone’s visiting swimmer Diane.

The next bunch of five followed between 15 and 30 seconds later, setting the scene for an exciting race to follow on the bike and run.

The lead changed on the bike leg, with Stoddart having a searing bike time of 48:35 despite a puncture 4km from the finish.

He rode the last 4km with a puncture, knowing he needed as much lead as possible on the run to hold off gun runners Phil Washbourne, Roland Neururer and Kelly Pick, who were on his tail.

Roland clocked up the next fastest bike time in 50:59 and took off on his run with a mere 1 minute 18 second lead on Phil Washbourne who came in with an impressive 51:44 bike time. It was then down to the run in very hot conditions with Geoff Stoddart convinced either Neururer or Washbourne were going to pass him.

However, his determination prevailed and knowing Washbourne had passed Neururer on the run and was just 120m behind him, kept up his pace to emerge the winner to retain his title, coming in at 1:54:16, just 33 seconds ahead of the up and coming Washbourne on his debut took out the fastest run time of the day in 42:15.

Neururer took out third spot in a time of 1:56:02.

The top three places for the women saw star triathlete Kelly Pick winning outright in a time of 1:57:46 and slamming the women’s race record previously held by Vanessa Palmer by 1 minute 16 seconds.

Serena Hunter took out second place in 2:13:02 ahead of Jennie George who despite passing Serena on the bike could not match Serena’s power on the run and came in third in 2:16:48. Rounding up the top 10 were Kevin Henderson in 5th place in a respectable time of 2:01:58 with returned expat Justin Rous having an impressive debut race taking out eighth place, followed by Taki Anaru and Richard Barltrop in ninth and 10th with Barltrop shaving six minutes off his time from last year.

There were a few other debut athletes this year including Tim Alchin 11th, Antony Will 14th and Rob Buick 20th.

In the teams’ section, Shipstone’s Diane, Andy Olah and Hayden took the honours of first team coming home seventh overall in a time of 2:17:16 followed by Just 4 Fun’s Paul Brown, John Koteka and Rebecca Brown in 2:20:43 and 3rd team went to Glamour Girls’ Bernie Raffe and Ray Rous in 2:26:46.

It was a fantastic day with remarkable efforts from all the athletes who took part including our junior team Baby Guns made up of Emily Barltrop, India Lamberth and Sam Read back once again.

There were some modest prizes that were welcomed by all with Richard Barltrop winning an extra prize for nearly taking out the timers at the end of his bike leg last week and only being a mere 30 seconds ahead of his daughter Emily on the swim.

The scene is now set for the 16th Annual Air New Zealand Rarotonga International Triathlon in three weeks’ time on Saturday May 1 at 2pm at Ngatangiia Sports Ground, Muri.

Cook Islands Triathlon Association would like to thank all those who came along to cheer and support our athletes, as well as our marshals, time keepers, kayakers and helpers on the day along with our sponsors Westpac Bank and Island Car & Bike Hire.