Locals win Gibb’s Hill Challenge

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Richmond’s Suzie Wood and Trevor Voyce of Nelson justified their pre-race favouritism in Sunday’s Gibb’s Hill Challenge, with Suzie easily winning the women’s section and Trevor setting a new race record for individual men.

A former Commonwealth Games cyclist, Suzie made a good start to the race, finishing the opening 23km road cycle from Takaka to Wainui in seventh overall in 44 minutes 1 second. She completed the 21km mountain run around the northern section of Abel Tasman National Park in 2hr 2min 35sec. before riding back to Takaka in 53min 8sec to finish sixth overall in 3hr 39min 44sec.

“I was in the second bunch on the first bike and ran with Wayne Leighton for quite a while which was nice but then I suffered on the bike back to Takaka,” Suzie says. “I’ve done the race about three times now and this was my fastest time, so I’m quite pleased.”

Suzie was using the race as a lead-up to the Spring Challenge adventure race to be held in Wanaka on September 26. She will team-up with Sophie Hart and Fleur Pawsey for the race which they won last year.

“Gibbs Hill was a good tester for me but I think I’ll need to get out and do some longer treks before Spring Challenge. I’ll need to get out on the hills more too because Nathan (race organiser Nathan Fa’avae) says there’s going to be lots of steep country down there.”

Jessica Hughes was the second women to finish in 4hr 1min 17sec, with Jennifer Walker third in 4hr 20min 40sec.

Trevor took the lead early on the run after a 42min 15sec cycle to Wainui and went on to blitz the course in 3hr 10min 15sec, beating Brendan Erskine’s record set in 2014 by 1min 47sec. Craig Boggon was second in 3hr 26min 21sec while Thomas Ashley was third in 3hr 31min 12sec just ahead of Wayne, who is training for the World Ironman Champs in Hawaii in October.

Julie Turner and Claire Sykes won the team’s race in 3hr 43min 14sec with the father and son pairing of Glenn and Billy Bathgate second and Patrick Higgins, Zoe Moulam and Michelle Richardson third.

Ninety-one athletes competed in the event.