Police trump triathlon

By Jared Smith

Triathlon winner Paul Baskett on the bike leg from Anzac Parade on Saturday.
Triathlon winner Paul Baskett on the bike leg from Anzac Parade on Saturday.

It was a banner afternoon on Saturday for all the right reasons for the Whanganui police as their staff members claimed the major line honours at the NZMG's triathlon.

In a strong turnout of over 50 individual and team competitors - a rare increase in numbers for a specific sport compared to the 2015 games - it was Paul Baskett who blitzed the field and broke the hour mark with a finish of 58m 35s.

Following was his subordinate in the detective branch Craig in Jackson, while the NZMG duathlon winner and Palmerston North police officer AJ Cornwell also made up the fastest finishing individuals with multisport veteran and 2015 winner Rob Gemmell.

At the start underneath the Aramoho rail bridge, a strong current heading downstream saw competitors clinging to the support beams or waiting to the last possible moment to get in the water and conserve strength.

But when co-ordinator and fellow policeman Jason Page let everybody go, the current shot the competitors along a high pace, with Baskett having covered the 750m back to the club rooms in less than four minutes, having to run past his toddler daughter who was delighted to see him.

Gemmell and Jackson followed as they transitioned into the 20km bike leg of two laps to Upokongaro and back.

Completing his first lap in around 15 minutes, Baskett was looking at a very good time, while Jackson passed Gemmell as the slowing individual cyclists had to give up some ground to the team riders.

Cornwell also began to eat into some of the distance.

However, with a two minute lead coming into the 5km road run down Anzac Parade, where he would overtake the leading team runner, Baskett was looking steady and despite Jackson closing the gap to around a minute, he was not able to keep his superior officer in sight.

Baskett, who had done a 9h 18m ironman event recently, thanked Page for laying out a fun course.

"I've been away from Tri for a long time and I came out to see what I can do.

"I appreciate all the people who take the time to organise and marshal."

The boss had a handshake waiting for Jackson as he reached the finishing chute.

"I understand where he's at, he's at a heavy training with his upcoming (New Zealand) ironman.

"We're quite proud of the police family. It's fantastic to see such a participation, represent positively in the community."

Runnerup Craig Jackson heads out from the transition to the final 5km run to the finish.
Runnerup Craig Jackson heads out from the transition to the final 5km run to the finish.

Jackson has about three weeks left until the 33rd Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman NZ in Taupo.

"It was very warm on the run," he said.

"I was under the illusion the boss was injured and couldn't run.

"Typical boss, never gives away the true story."

The Nesbitt's team of Paul and Tonia continued their busy games with one of the top team finishes, despite Tonia also have entered the West Coast cycling championships at the Velodrome that morning.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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