The Doe Show delivers again

By Kelly Exelby


Kieran Doe's dad reckons if money was everything, his triathlon-star son should base himself deep in the heart of the Bay of Plenty.
That's a tough thing for a proud Manawatu man to admit but Terry Doe has witnessed first-hand how Tauranga people have embraced his boy.
"He should be living in Tauranga, not Auckland _ I told him this is where he should be chasing his sponsorship!" Terry Doe said with a grin.
"He loves the race, he loves the crowd and he always does well here. I think he'll do the same buildup next year, do the Tinman and Surfbreaker (triathlons) and have another crack at it."
You'd be excused for thinking Fielding-born Doe junior had won Saturday's Port of Tauranga half ironman, instead of emerging, gutted and exhausted, with another runnerup medal. Thick crowds _ some of the biggest in the 17-year history of the race _ chanted his name every time the 24-year-old cantered past, and waved banners urging him on.
Amid the throng, nearly 30 members of Team Doeboy _ his closest supporters and family members _ donned mops to mimic his trademark dreadlocks and screamed themselves hoarse.
In the past four years, Doe has finished third, fourth, second and second.
This year, it was Athens Olympian Nathan Richmond who stole Doe's thunder, scorching home on the run to break the race record and continue an agonising run of near-misses. Richmond and Doe spent the best part of 3 hours racing side-by-side on Saturday, and even the winner was impressed by Doe's popularity.
"Kieran's a friend and a training partner and we had a laugh together," Richmond said. ``We were running along chatting about his supporters and how great they were, cheering him on.
"If I'd gone through a dull patch and I was hearing that, it may have played on me.

But when it's on, it's on. It was definitely on today."
Tauranga event organiser Iris Thomas has a theory on Doe's popularity.
"He's just got that Kiwi can-do attitude," Thomas said.
"He just goes out and gives it 100 per cent each time he races.
"I saw him crash over the finishing line last year after he'd tried to chase down Craig Alexander. His legs just buckled and he couldn't go any further.
"And he also dares to be different _ all the other triathletes look the same but he chooses to look different. And I don't think he does it for attention _ it's just because he's comfortable with himself."
Despite another tormenting near-miss, Doe himself believes his time will come over the 2km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run event around Mount Maunganui.
"The older you get, the stronger you get and I still feel like I'm getting stronger every year," the 24-year-old said.
"Each buildup I feel like I'm improving, and my running is getting a lot better. The last couple of months, it's really shot up."
Doe's brother Jarad joined their parents Terry and Pam sideline on Saturday and Team Doe will continue to swell their numbers _ and wigs. They want Tauranga's biggest sporting event to become the Doe Show ... and won't stop until he wins.
"I'm pretty disappointed for Kieran _ he was hoping to get this one _ but never mind," Terry Doe said.
"There's always next time. He'll be back again and the team will be right behind him again."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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