A quality field enjoyed near perfect conditions for Sunday's Marra Sprint Triathlon at Mount Maunganui.

The men's race was won by Spanish legend Javier Gomez in 53 minutes, 54 seconds.

Gomez is a five-time ITU World Champion, Olympic silver medallist and triple ITU World Cup champion. His wife, New Zealand rep and Tauranga athlete Anneke Jenkins won the women's race in 58.35.

Just over two minutes behind Gomez was Dylan McCullough, finishing second after forgoing his place in the junior race to compete against Gomez. Two weeks ago McCullough won the junior men's race at the Sprint Triathalon Oceania Championships in Tasmania.


Nineteen-year-old Tauranga athlete Hannah Knighton won the junior women's race on Sunday, carrying on the form that won her the junior women's title in Tasmania. She says the Mount Maunganui race is a good hit out.

"I was happy with the time. I was a little nervous on the bike with a chasing pack," Knighton says.

"I am working towards a Continental Cup race on the Gold Coast in a couple of weeks. There I will compete in the elite field. It will be a challenge and a great learning opportunity."

Knighton says she wants to keep enjoying racing this year and develop as an athlete. She says the Marra race is a good course ahead of the Gold Coast event.

"They are both saltwater swims and have flat bike courses and nice smooth roads. I am also working towards selection for the World Championships in Switzerland."

Cambridge athlete Reuben Thompson took out the title in his junior men's race. Photo / George Novak
Cambridge athlete Reuben Thompson took out the title in his junior men's race. Photo / George Novak

Cambridge athlete Reuben Thompson won the junior men's race, crossing the finish line in 55.13.

"The plan was to get that front group on the bike and run as fast as I could. It was great out there, it was a dead-flat swim, there was no wind and it wasn't too hot. I felt really comfortable on my run and when I looked at my watch I was a bit surprised with the pace I was doing. I felt really fresh," Thompson says.

"This was an important part of qualifying for the world champs. I had a shocker in Tasmania two weeks ago and I wanted redemption and to show I could do it. When you have a shocker it is important to stick to what you have always done and not over think it."


The event was the final one on the calendar for organising club Triathlon Tauranga. Event and development manager Paul Miller says it is a great end to the season.

He says the sprint event included 220 competitors, the children's races included 130 athletes and the new short course event had 30 entries.

"We couldn't have had better conditions. It has been a long summer and this is the successful culmination of it. It was a magic day for the club to finish."

Miller said he felt it was important to mention the horrific shootings in Christchurch at the event prizegiving.

"With what has happened in our country in the last few days, we can't let that stuff get in the way of living life and appreciating what we have in the Bay of Plenty."

Marra Sprint triathlon results:

Sprint Tri NZ Juniors


1st: Hannah Knighton, 1:01:45.

2nd: Olivia Cummings, 1:03:41.

3rd: Natalya Carter, 1:04:26.

1st: Reuben Thompson, 55:13.
2nd: Lachlan Haycock, 56:24.
3rd: Jaxon Taylor, 56:40.

Sprint Tri Individual:
1st: Anneke Jenkins, 58:35.
2nd: Ari Graham, 1:00:30.
3rd: Issy Coombes, 1:01:22.

1st: Javier Gomez, 53:54.
2nd: Dylan McCullough, 55:06.
3rd: Malcolm King, 56:50.