World Multisport legend - Craig Alexander wins 2015 Port of Tauranga Half
One of the legends of world multi-sport – Australia’s Craig Alexander reigned supreme in Mount Maunganui today winning the Port of Tauranga Half from rising star – Braden Currie (Wanaka) and ten time champion – Cameron Brown (Auckland).
For Alexander, it marked two wins from two starts in the event, although with ten years between victories. His last entry and win in the Port of Tauranga Half came in 2005. Since that victory at Mount Maunganui, Alexander has notched up 5 world titles, and been dubbed the “King of Kona” after three wins in the Hawaiian Ironman.
Photos - Sportzhub
He was made to work extremely hard in today’s event, with some outstanding performances coming from New Zealand’s top endurance triathletes.
It was Kinlock’s Graham O’Grady who led the men’s field out of the water, before a breakout bunch of Alexander, Currie, Brown and Mark Bowstead formed a leading pack on the bike leg.
This bunch of four were together throughout the bike leg before Braden Currie made his move on the first lap of the two-lap run course. He had a handy lead heading into final lap of the run course which incorporated running the base of Mount Maunganui, with Cameron Brown heading in that final lap in second place, and Craig Alexander third.
The patience and endurance of Alexander shone through on the final lap, attacking the Currie and Brown with approx. 7.5km to go, and eventually clearing away to record a 1 min 9 second winning margin over the second place Currie.
Ten time Port of Tauranga half champ, Cameron Brown received a huge reception from the local crowd when coming down the finish line, but had to settle for third placing this year.
ITU triathlete Ryan Sissons was using the day as an opportunity to take on some of the best long distance athletes while staying very much in training mode, the 26 year old made a good fist of it too, emerging from the water with the lead group but was undone by a 3 minute drafting penalty on the bike before going on to post the quickest run split in the field (1:14:01) to come home strongly in fifth place.
The woman’s field was dominated from start to finish by Whanganui’s Gina Crawford, who added to the Port of Tauranga Half Title which she won in 2013. Former Mount Maunganui triathlete, Michelle Bremer, who is now based in Sydney, made significant gains on the bike leg, but in the end the endurance and running ability of Crawford shone through for a comfortable victory.
The Port of Tauranga Half today doubled as the 2015 National Long Distance Triathlon Championships with the national champs being found in various age groups and with Currie and Crawford taking out the Pro NZ titles.
It is also part of the inaugural Mount Festival of Multisport which takes place at Mount Maunganui from 9 – 11 January. The festival concludes tomorrow with the Weetbix Kids TRYathlon which takes place at 9am at Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui, the King & Queen of Mauao Paddle Events, and the NZ Beach Volleyball Champs on the main beach
Port of Tauranga Half Results – Saturday, 10 January
1. Craig Alexander (Australia) 3:48:03
2. Braden Currie (Wanaka) 3:49:11
3. Cameron Brown (Auckland) 3:49:31
1. Gina Crawford (Whanganui) 4:22:05
2. Michelle Bremer (Sydney, Australia) 4:33:05
3. Julia Grant (Ashburton) 4:37:25
Age Group Winners
20-24 Years 1. Hayden Moorhouse (Tauranga) 4:26:41
25-29 Years 1. Samuel Clark (Whakatane) 4:18:15
30-34 Years 1. Keiran Daly (Auckland) 4:10:41
35-39 Years 1. Stewart Motntgomery (Mt Maunganui) 4:28:19
40-44 Years 1. Craig Kirkwood (Tauranga) 4:13:58
45-49 Years 1. Austin Parker (Pt Cook, Australia) 4:32:39
50-54 Years 1. Andrew Taylor (Christchurch) 4:38:50
55-59 Years 1. Graeme McDonald (Whanganui) 4:55:08
60-64 Years 1. John Moritary (Hastings) 5:03:03
20-24 Years 1. Nicola McCormick (Te Awamutu)
25-29 Years 1. Jessica Dean (Te Puke) 4:43:35
30-34 Years 1. Suzanne Landers (Hamilton) 4:53:30
35-39 Years 1. Nikki Edwards (Hamilton) 4:52:25
40-44 Years 1. Nan Baker (Gisborne) 4:55:59
45-49 Years 1. Deidre Lack (Te Puke) 5:04:56
50-54 Years 1. Linda Exeter-Grant 5:02:09