Hammond fights hard to take third

By Nellie Tuck

While most head to the popular beach town of Whangamata for a holiday, it was all business for triathlete Hamish Hammond, who has kicked off his summer with a podium finish in race two of the national triathlon series.

The 22-year-old has returned from Australia where he trained over the winter and headed to Whangamata last Friday to defend the title he took out last year.

"I came out with the win last year, that was my first national series win and it was so exciting I always planned to head back this year."

Hammond was up against some stiff competition including Clark Ellice (Taranaki) who has been ranked as high as 32nd in the world.

That strong competition saw Hammond finish in third place with a respectable time of 2:00:19, on a course that included a hilly bike section and a punishing 10km run - half of which was soft sand. Ellice took the win and Auckland long-distance triathlete Mark Bowstead finished second.

"It's a tough course and it was great to get out there and give it a good hit-out against some really strong athletes.

"I wasn't on the top spot this time around but that just gives me more to work on."

Hammond, a former swimmer, is relatively new to triathlon, which makes his run up the ranks all the more impressive.

Since taking up triathlon in 2010, he has taken out two world titles and now has his eyes set on the elite levels of the sport.

That goal made his decision to head to the Gold Coast, after completing a Bachelor of Agricommerce at Massey University, a no-brainer.

"I've decided I want to give triathlon a real go and, really, it's now or never.

"I have been working really hard on my cycling and running and things seem to be coming along nicely."

Triathlon is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Hammond's training regime is testament to that.

With three disciplines, he is in the pool six times a week, out on his bike for up to 400km and out running up to 100km, making up to 28 hours of training a week.

Now back in New Zealand and based in his hometown of Greytown, the former Rathkeale College student has a busy season ahead with races throughout the country over the next three months.

When asked what it is like being home again, there's no hesitation. "I'm a Wairarapa boy at heart, you can't go wrong training here during the Kiwi summer. To be honest, there's nowhere else I'd rather be right now."

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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