Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Triathlon: Heat goes on Te Puke triathlete

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Triathlete Malesa McNearney will compete at a major world event in Mexico in September. Photo / Photos4Sale
Triathlete Malesa McNearney will compete at a major world event in Mexico in September. Photo / Photos4Sale

Te Puke's Malesa McNearney is hoping to make the next significant step as an international triathlete.

The 25-year-old accountant is totally focussed on getting into the best possible condition ahead of the ITU Age Group World Triathlon Championships to be held in Cozumel, Mexico, in September when an international contingent of 8000 triathletes will compete.

Expected in Mexico will be 150 of the world's best triathletes chasing the world championship title less than a month after the Rio Olympics.

McNearney and the vast majority of athletes are chasing age group world championship titles in sprint and Olympic distances over five days of competition.

There are definitely easier places in the world to contest a triathlon than in the fierce Mexican heat.

But the island of Cozumel has excellent facilities and has hosted three consecutive ITU World Cup events.

McNearney is travelling to Mexico with her partner and top ranked triathlete Jai Davies-Campbell, who won the world 20-24 age group title in Chicago last year.

She says the heat will definitely be a serious factor to contend with.

"Everyone is expecting it to be roughly 32 degrees. I am not sure about the humidity but that will be interesting.

"It will be a whole new challenge. We are planning to head over to Houston at the start of September just to get used to the heat."

Last year McNearney competed at the world champs in Chicago and finished fifth in her age group (25-29) in the sprint distance.

"I wanted to finish in the top 10 last year and I definitely achieved it," she said.

McNearney is realistic about her chances in Mexico but would love to finish on the podium.

She had a good summer with a third placing in her age group at Kinloch, second at the Tinman in Mount Maunganui and first overall in Gisborne.

"I think I will do okay but we always put a lot of pressure on ourselves as athletes to do better and to expect a lot of ourselves. .

"I need to work on my cycling as it is my weakness. It is just a matter of doing lots more cycling to get that up and not have it as such a weakness.

"At the moment it is cross country season. I am part of the Hawks running club in Hamilton and there are events on almost every weekend. So it is good to do cross country and to run with other runners because they push you that much harder and it is always that much faster."

McNearney is a relative late comer to the sport.

"I was into swimming when I was younger but I didn't compete (triathlon) when I was at Te Puke High School. But I started running about two years ago as a way to keep fit and de-stress and stuff."

McNearney has set up a Givealittle page to help fund-raise funds to get here to Mexico.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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