Today’s Tauranga Half produced a stunning course record from Kyle Smith in the men’s elite race, and back to back wins from Hannah Wells in the women’s elite race.
The 31st running of the Tauranga Half was contested in near perfect conditions at Mt Maunganui, with a flat harbour on Pilot Bay for the swim, and little wind for the bike and run legs of the event.
Taupo’s Kyle Smith made the most of the conditions, dominating the men’s field from start to finish, to record victory in a time of 3:42:07, smashing 3 minutes 31 seconds off the course record, set by Braden Currie in 2017.
Kyle Smith wins 2020 Tauranga Half. Photo: Jemma Wells.
Kyle announced his arrival into long distance triathlon, with a win in his debut event – the Taupo 70.3 event last December, in a time of 3:49:2. He has now put the triathlon world on notice, with today’s record victory, in his second start at this distance.
Kyle described his win as “unbelievable. I was pleased with how I executed the race given it was my second attempt at this distance, and to break the course record was icing on the cake.
“I was pleased to lead from wire to wire. I was able to ride my pace on the bike, and take my foot off the pedal slightly on the run, once I had established a good lead.”
Kyle Smith in the home strait. Photo: Jemma Wells
After the event, Kyle acknowledged the athlete whose course record he had just smashed saying “Braden Currie is such a classy athlete, who has paved the way for athletes such as myself to follow. I was lucky enough to train with him in 2017, and see how dedicated he is to his training.”
Coming out of the water on Pilot Bay, Kyle had opened up a 52 second lead on the chasing pack of Simon Cochrane, Mike Phillips and Australia’s Nathan Saunders. Kyle then produced a quick 2:01:48 on the 90k bike leg to extend his lead. Defending champ, Mike Phillips was second off the bike, but with his recent training severally hampered by a bulging disc in his back, he had to withdraw from the race after bike leg.
Auckland’s Jack Moody took four minutes out of Kyle’s lead on the final leg, with a classy 1:12:33 half marathon run, to finish runner-up in the event for the second consecutive year, ahead of Rotorua’s Olly Shaw.
Hannah Wells on the Cycle. Photo: Jemma Wells
Hannah Wells was equally impressive in the women’s elite race, defending her title, and finishing two minutes quicker than last year.
With the Tauranga Half being a home event for Hannah, she said “the support throughout the race was amazing”, and “it is very special to win at home.”
Hannah didn’t have things all her own way today, with Rebecca Clarke first out of the water, completing the 2km swim in 24 minutes 42 seconds. Hannah was next out of the harbour at Pilot Bay, trailing Rebecca by 1 minute 6 seconds.
Hannah Wells receiving huge local support. Photo: Jemma Wells
Hannah was able to eat into Rebecca’s lead on the bike, catching her at the 10k mark, allowing the two of them to ride together throughout the 90k bike leg. Hannah then demonstrated her running prowess, opening up a large lead on the run leg to defeat Rebecca by ten minutes 29 seconds.
Hannah was pleased with how her race panned out saying – “Bex Clarke is such a good swimmer, so was I pleased to be reasonably close to her after the swim leg. Being able to catch her early on the bike leg, meant that we could work together, and swap the lead on the bike.”
Last year’s win kick-started a remarkable year for Hannah, where she won all nine events she entered, including three IRONMAN 70.3 events in Taupo, West Sydney and Sunshine Coast, Challenge Wanaka and the Auckland Marathon.
Hannah said after the race - “I have a big year planned in 2020, so this win sets things up well.”
Hannah Wells to the finish line. Photo: Jemma Wells
Today marks a tenth straight victory for Hannah Wells, and with her now becoming a full-time triathlete, 2020 could be another remarkable year for the 29 year old Tauranga athlete.
Photo: Cameron Avery
Photo: Cameron Avery
Photo: Cameron Avery
The Tauranga Half was the headline event for the Mount Festival of Multisport which also featured the Enduro long distance triathlon, Hopt Soda Aquabike, and the Mount Run which included a half marathon for the first time in 2020. Results for all events are below.
Tauranga Half Results – Saturday, 11 January 2020
Distance 2km Swim 90km Bike 21km Run
- Kyle Smith (Taupo) 3:42:07
- Jack Moody (Auckland) 3:45:20
- Olly Shaw (Rotorua) 3:51:44
- Simon Cochrane (Hamilton) 3:54:58
- Mark Bowstead (Auckland) 3:55:36
- Hannah Wells (Tauranga) 4:11:06
- Rebecca Clarke (Auckland) 4:21:35
- Lisa Roberts (Tucson, US) 4:27:59
- Melanie Burke (Auckland) 4:33:17
- Emily McNaughton (Auckland) 4:34:45
Age Group Men’s
18-19 Years 1. Angus Hunter 6:17:30
20-24 Years 1. Brendon Bergs 4:05:26
25-29 Years 1. Matthew Dobson 4:34:40
30-34 Years 1. Jason Schoeman 4:07:12
35-39 Years 1. James Murphy 4:11:10
40-44 Years 1. Rob Dallimore 4:24:36
45-49 Years 1. Craig Kirkwood 4:21:03
50-54 Years 1. Luke Williams 4:27:14
55-59 Years 1. Matthew Brick 4:28:36
60-64 Years 1. Stewart McRobie 4:45:24
65-69 Years 1. Cor Story 5:13:52
70-74 Years 1. Ray Lichtwark 5:30:41
Age Group Women’s
18-19 Years 1. Mia Thomas 6:04:29
20-24 Years 1. Heather Neill 4:59:38
25-29 Years 1. Julia Hunt 4:38:55
30-34 Years 1. Alison Wood 4:30:20
35-39 Years 1. Victoria Wiltshire 4:43:17
40-44 Years 1. Fiona Shine 4:50:05
45-49 Years 1. Natasja Barclay 4:46:38
50-54 Years 1. Jen McDermott 4:51:55
55-59 Years 1. Jane Baldwin 5:21:08
60-64 Years 1. Vicky Earl 6:24:22
65-69 Years 1. Karen Williams 6:31:12
70-74 Years 1. Shirley Jean Rolston 6:54:05
Distance 3km Swim 120km Bike 25km Run
- Steven Miller 5:46:52
- Sam Clark 5:52:35
- Mike Robinson 5:54:26
- Megan Arthur 6:34:46
- Rhonda Lee 6:39:32
- Anna McRae 6:54:08
Hopt Soda Aquabike Results
Distance 3km Swim 120km Bike
- Michael Gain 3:47:32
- Mike Wright 3:49:17
- Matt Sillars 3:52:18
- Hayley Gallagher 4:09:28
- Aileen Campbell 4:16:40
- Deidre Lack 4:20:31
Mount Run – Results
Overall Men’s – 5km
- Paddy Lamb 18:44
- Paora Raharaha 20:15
- Steve Thomas 21:14
Overall Women’s – 5km
- Anneke Grogan 19:02
- Anja Crombie 24:12
- Heidi Moxham 24:31
Overall Men’s – 10km
- Alex Brackenbury 37:08
- Pete McLeod 38:59
- Jeremy Webster 41:21
Overall Women’s – 10km
- Emily Sherlock 45:50
- Mikayla Price 49:13
- Alice Kim 49:53
Overall Men’s – 21.1km Half Marathon
- Julian Oakley 1:10:37
- Kyle MacDonald 1:16:39
- Will O’Connor 1:18:01
Overall Women’s – 21.1km Half Marathon
- Alice Mason 1:22:00
- Laura Holyoake 1:33:00
- Ashleigh O’Grady 1:41:34