Determination and concentration are being described as the two main driving forces being Graham O’Grady and Gina Crawford winning the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman today.
Graham matched the 2006 course record of 3.57.54.
Gina came in at a time of 4:15.10.
Gina crossing line with 18-month-old son Benjamin. Photos and Interviews by Tracy Hardy.
Graham crossing the finish line.
Speaking to SunLive after the race, Gina says the race went really well.
“It was the start of the season. I had quite a big break after competiting in Kona in October.
“It’s a really good way to assess you performance. It was a great start to the year and I felt good all the way through the race.”
She says the day is just perfect, the crowd is really supportive and she loved running off road tracks so the Mount was a great run.
“You’ve got beautiful scenery, it’s a great trail.
“It is easy to forget you’re in a race sometimes because you do tend to slow down and try and take in a bit of the scenery.”
Gina will be going for her fifth title in the Iron Wanaka Challenge in two weeks and then Taupo Ironman in March.
Graham says everything went equally perfectly for him.
“I worked hard for this race and I really freshened up. Good build up, good taper, was really relaxed and confident in my ability.
“I just wanted to push it hard from the beginning, just see who could come with me.”
He says having a good strength swim gave him a buffer heading into the ride section of the race.
“I have been riding well and I just put my head down and see what I could do. I had to try and ride a steady race and know that I still had to run 21kms as well if I want to win these races.
“I was riding good and seem to hold the same time gap and found that as the ride progressed I felt better and better and that gap opened up heading off the bike, which allowed me to set into my rhythm pretty good.”
During the running leg of the race, Graham’s fellow competitors gave him a run for the money but he managed to pick up the speed needed to get the job done.
“The guys came at me hard during the first 5kms, I was running really well and I was unsure if I should go or not and then my coach gave me an earful heading into the base and said get your butt back up there.
“So I did, I pushed hard to catch back up, once I was there I think it played a bit on my competitors and I kept pushing the pace a bit.”
He says he opened up a gap at the turnaround and just pinned his ears back.
“I knew that if I was hurting my competitor would be hurting as well.”
Terenzo Bozzone coming in second place.
Candice Hammond, Gina Crawford and Jo Lawn.
Graham O’Grady 3:47.54
Terenzo Bozzone 3:48.44
Cameron brown 3:53.01
Gina Crawford 4:15.10
Candice Hammond 4:18.08
Jo Lawn 4:21.05