Triathletes qualify for Hawaii Ironman


A contingent of Nelson triathletes had a big day at the office on Saturday competing in the Kelloggs Nutri-Grain New Zealand Ironman but for two of them the hard work has only just started.

Eileen Searle and Wayne Leighton headed the Nelson assault on the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run by finishing in second and third respectively in their F50-54 and M55-59 age groups to qualify for the world champs in Kona, Hawaii in October.

Although both athletes jumped at the chance to perform in the biggest and toughest Ironman event in the world, they also knew what they are letting themselves in for.

“I was looking forward to a break after Taupo but now I’ll have to keep training,” Wayne says. “It’s going to be a long, hard winter.”
It was a top result for Wayne in his first Iron- man and he conceded he was surprised to finish third after recording a fast 10hr 35min 23sec.

“I had no idea how I would go because running a marathon after cycling 180km is such a big unknown. I was aiming for a top 10 finish and would have been happy with that but I surprised myself ”

In contrast, Eileen was expected to go close to qualifying for Kona after two impressive wins in Challenge Wanaka.
But it was still a tough race for Eileen who bat- tled in all three stages before finishing in 11hr 34min 47sec.

“I didn’t feel good at any stage. I got nauseous in the last 20km of the cycle and struggled on the run which is normally my strength.
“I also got knocked around by the wind so it was a real test – it was mind over matter that got me to the finish.”

Nelson’s Donna Shaw and Mark Corlett also had to find extra resolve on the run with both suffering from severe cramping.
However, they managed to keep going finish- ing one second apart in 11hr 50min 29sec and 11hr 50min 30sec to improve on their person- al bests by over 40 minutes. Donna finished fourth in her F44-49 age group.

“The run was awful – I had bad cramping for 42km,” Donna says. “I had sore feet too and changed my shoes at 21km which turned out to be a mistake because when I sat down eve- rything seized up.”

Donna and Mark attributed their big improvement in time to following a training programme by coach Graham O’Grady which placed an emphasis on “quality not quantity. Richard Bamfield produced a super-fast cycle leg of 5hr 26min to finish in 10hr 44min 26sec while Eric Wylde impressed in his first Iron- man with a time of 11hr 6min 2sec.

Richard also found some extra speed in the swim to complete the 3.8km in 1hr 14min 31 sec almost 20 minutes faster than he swam last year.

Nathan Chippendale also made a good Iron-man debut finishing in 11hr 24min 23sec. ‘Chips’ started with a 1hr 9min 6sec swim and 5hr 57min 1sec cycle before enjoying a 4hr 8min 40sec marathon.

“I enjoyed the experience. I didn’t know what to expect or how hard to go so I just made sure I finished and enjoyed it.”
Wayne Corbett finished in 11hr 51min 40min in his Ironman debut to secure family brag- ging rights beating his son Tim who finished in 13hr 27min 8sec.

Simon Bloomberg finished fourth in his M55- 59 age group in 10hr 39min 1sec after a good swim and cycle and steady run.