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Tough at the top, record field

Monday 21 March 2011 | Published in Regional

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The 6th Annual Island Car and Bike Hire Women’s Triathlon on Saturday was another huge success with record numbers once again of 30 individuals and 9 teams tackling the 400m swim, 16km cycle and 4km run course.

Despite rain clouds looming, the lagoon calmed down and there was only a small headwind on the cycle and cloud cover for most of the run, which made near perfect conditions.

This was confirmed with several personal bests achieved on the day.

It was a great race for everyone, with spectators enjoying the competition particularly from the front runners and gutsy sprint finishes in the middle of the pack.

While Vanessa Palmer had the race sown up from the front, the next 3 positions were vied for with Serena Hunter 2nd out of the water, Jennie George 3rd and Rangi Apera 4th.

However, on the cycle leg, Apera had a stellar bike ride and was 2nd at the end of the cycle leg behind Palmer with George in 3rd and Hunter hot on her heels in 4th.

It was the run that had spectators wondering who would come around the corner next, with George managing to hold off Hunter and Apera not too far behind.

Vanessa Palmer emerged the winner for the 3rd year running in 53 minutes 14 seconds with the next three racers placing personal best times – Jennie George taking out 2nd place in 56.03, Serena Hunter 3rd in 56.28 and Apera 4th in 57.17.

Fifth to 10th place makers, all with excellent results and most personal bests were respectively – Apii Napa 1.04.41, Rebecca Brown 1.05.18, Melanie Wilson 1.05.24, Erin Matheson 1.05.53, Pare Tangata 1.07.05 and Bernie Raffe 1.08.13.

First team home was ‘We Tri-ed’ in 1.09.18 made up of Janine Fiebig, Gail Townsend and Danielle Cochran, 2nd team went to Reef Motel’s Jenny Henry, Maire Brown and Katrina Brown in 1.10.41 with 3rd team being Double Trouble in 1.15.27 made up of Rae Rous and Annie Sutherland.

One of the highlights of the races was an all out sprint finish between veteran triathlete Mona Henderson and up and coming racer Rachel Reeves.

Henderson was not going to be outdone by her younger opponent and in bare feet outran Reeves for a thrilling 100m sprint finish.

There were plenty of other gutsy performances seen, especially by first timers who the triathlon association hopes have caught the tri bug and will continue racing in the weekly events.

Everyone had a fantastic race and it was great to see all the smiles on the faces when the race was finished and lots during the race too!

There were several debut triathletes including a good lot from volleyball and paddling. Congratulations to everyone!

Prizes were then dished out with medals for all individual finishers and prizes galore with Cafe Salsa meal vouchers, helmets, gloves, goggles and wine all there for the taking with most getting a spot prize somewhere along the line.

CITAI would like to thank our major sponsors Richard and Karyn Vinsen of Island Car & Bike Hire once again, without whose generous support, this event would not be growing in numbers and be so successful every year.

Also to our other sponsors, Cafe Salsa for meal vouchers, ANZ for the loan of the marquee and Westpac Bank for their continued support.

A huge thank you once again to our organisers and to the helpers on the day, Brendan Sutherland for the kayaks, Terry, Roland and Steve for setting up the swim, timers Len and Terai, road and swim marshals Andy, John Paul, Ali, Hamish, Rob, champion onion chopper and sausage sizzle cook Rhys Woodger, barmen Rob, Richard and John and all the other men who did a fantastic job. The women appreciated it!