Inspirational entries in Port of Tauranga Half

Long-distance legend Cameron Brown has won 10 of his 19 starts in the Port of Tauranga Half, including seven straight titles from 1998-2004. Photo / Heather Mickelson
Long-distance legend Cameron Brown has won 10 of his 19 starts in the Port of Tauranga Half, including seven straight titles from 1998-2004. Photo / Heather Mickelson

This Saturday's Port of Tauranga Half is filled with inspirational entries in both the individual and team events, including that of Lynley Brown who will do the swim leg after having her lower leg amputated last year.

Lynley Brown (nee Allison) was one of the New Zealand's top long-distance triathletes in the 2000's with her crowning achievement coming in winning the 2004 Ironman USA Coeur D'Alene. She also had podium finishes in the NZ Ironman event.

Since retirement from competitive triathlon, Brown has maintained an active involvement with the sport through coaching, and roles with Triathlon NZ.

She makes an inspirational return tomorrow in the swim leg as part of the team which originally consisted of fellow triathlon identities - Jo Lawn & Anneke Jenkins. Lawn has had to hand over the run leg to husband Armando Galarrga, after being over enthusiastic in her return to training and contracting Laryngitis this week.

So, after a lower leg amputation last August, Lynley Brown will be on the start line at Mount Maunganui's Pilot Bay tomorrow for a wonderful comeback to the sport.

The team entries in the Port of Tauranga Half contain a host of country's top triathletes such as Rio Olympian - Ryan Sissons, last year's runner-up - Mark Bowstead and rising star - Matt Franklin.

The individual field is also filled with New Zealands' elite long distance triathletes with the Port of Tauranga Half defending champs starting as favourites in both the men's and women's fields.

Defending men's champ - Braden Currie has fashioned an impressive resume in his four starts in this event with a third placing behind Cameron Brown in 2014, being the first kiwi home and second overall behind Australian great Craig Alexander in 2015, and title-holder last year.

His main competition is likely to come from long-distance legend Cameron Brown who has won 10 of his 19 starts in the Port of Tauranga Half, including seven straight titles from 1998-2004, and wins in 2007, 2012 & 2014.

Other top contenders in the men's field include 2016 Coast to Coast winner Sam Clark, and 4th place-getter last year - Dan Plews.

The favourite in the women's field is defending champ - Amelia Rose Watkinson. She returns to the Port of Tauranga Half after taking the Asian triathlon scene by storm in 2016, winning 10 events in China, Korean, Malaysia, the Phillipines and Thailand.

Her main competition tomorrow is expected to come from 2011 runner up - Anna Cleaver who is back training competitively, 2015 third place getter - Julia Grant, and former Rotorua Marathon winner - Erin Furness. Teresa Adam & Rebecca Clark are stepping up to the long distance format after strong short course triathlon careers, and are expected to be prominent in the women's field.

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