Athletics: Docherty digs deep to take Ironman


In an amazing first attempt at an Ironman, Taupo's Bevan Docherty has claimed the New Zealand Ironman title in record time.

Docherty finished in a time of 8 hours, 15 minutes and 35 seconds in his home town of Taupo at the weekend.

Second was Estonian Marko Albert, and third was Cameron Brown.

Docherty took almost three minutes off 10-time winner Cameron Brown's previous course record to blitz the field and score a stunning win.

The double Olympic medallist in triathlon said he couldn't compare the two events.

"It's a different hard, but I went into a deep dark place out there, from about the 10km mark. I actually walked and had to stretch it out and suffered for about 3km. I got some coke in me and got a bit of feeling back and started to feel somewhat normal.

Docherty's outer persona didn't convey what the athlete was feeling within.

"I was a little bit worried for a bit but had a big enough lead and with 5km to go I was just able to grit my teeth, put my poker face on and guts it home."

The 2013 champion exited the water in second place in 45m 44s, 10 seconds down on Albert, and he looked very relaxed in both the first and second transitions. Docherty over took Albert during the cycle leg and never looked back.

Docherty said before the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain sponsored event he was heading into the unknown and was uncertain about his nutrition and pacing plans but his inexperience actually worked in his favour and he put a lot of his win down to following Albert's early pace.

"Marko Albert did an amazing job out there. I was able to sit on his feet ... he actually set a really good pace, a fraction too quick but it was enough to get rid of Torrenzo (who withdrew part way through the run) and then for the first 110km 120km of the bike, he just set an awesome pace," Docherty said.

"I wasn't really too sure how hard to go and so just sat behind him and then with 40km to go I thought, I can go a little hard here, put the head down and went for it."

Docherty said he will now rest up but has his sights firmly set on the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii in October.

"I'm excited to be honest. I still have a lot of work to go. But [this win] is a step in the right direction.

"To be honest I've been holding back and I know it's a long year ahead of me and I didn't want to play all my cards at once going into this event.

"So I'd like to think I can go a little bit quicker, dig a little bit deeper but who knows? Maybe I just got the combinations right. This is all new to me maybe I've done just enough. I haven't over cooked myself. Certainly going into this race, I just [had] this quiet confidence."

The women's race was dominated by American Meredith Kessler leading from start to finish. Kessler finished in a time of 9h, 17m and 10s, more than 13 minutes ahead of Kiwi athletes Gina Crawford 9h, 20m and 54s and Candice Hammond 9h, 35m and 52s.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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