For a second consecutive year Tauranga athletes have dominated the Premier race at the 3D Rotorua Multisport Festival. The annual event, held at Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) today, doubles as the New Zealand Multisport Championships and Tauranga's Scott McDonald completed the 9km paddle, 30km mountain bike and 10.5km run in 3h 15m 2s to take the win. McDonald finished just over a minute ahead of fellow Tauranga athlete and defending champion Bevan Jefferies (3h 16m 10s). Thomas Christison, of Hawke's Bay, was third in 3h 22m 29s. Sports reporter David Beck caught up with the top two afterwards.
"I'm stoked, absolutely stoked," McDonald said.
"It was a tough race, I haven't done this one before and the mountain bike is long and hard, it takes a lot out of you. So, it meant that last run is just whatever you've got left."
McDonald, Jefferies and fourth-place finisher Dave Gray all finished the bike within minutes of each other.
"It was an awesome race, three of us came off the bike and got into the run practically together. For these sorts of races it's not that common to be that close so it was just a bit of a slog-fest at the end.
"It makes it hard. I knew the two guys just in front of me, I knew Dave's not the strongest runner but Bevan is an incredible runner so I thought he would've had it today. Usually we're pretty close but Bevan's a bit more of a thoroughbred runner than me but it managed to fall my way today so I'm pretty chuffed."
He said multisport including mountain biking rather than road cycling gave the sport an extra element.
It was an awesome race, three of us came off the bike and got into the run practically together. For these sorts of races it's not that common to be that close so it was just a bit of a slog-fest at the end.
"If it was a road bike I probably would've got a lot more time on these other guys. As it were I think the three of us had almost exactly the same time. I'm strong on the climbs, Bevan is a demon on the down hills and Dave is in between, he's good all round. It was an awesome battle."
Jefferies said today's event was the most fun he has had racing.
"It was awesome, like Scott said it's not normally that close but we were duelling man, it was a war. It was back and forward the whole way.
"I've got a bit of age on these guys, I've got about a decade on Scotty but he deserves credit for recognising where he was weak from last year and putting in the effort. He's improved a lot."
I came off my bike five times but you just push it because I have to be fast on the descents so that was where I put in the effort.
The ear-to-ear grin on Jefferies face as he embraced McDonald at the finish line suggested it was the process he enjoyed rather than the end result.
"I just love to race, I don't really care who wins, I just really like to race and like that, back and forwards, it was awesome. It was my third time on the course and the conditions suited me, being wet, it suits the mountain bikers more than the roadies.
"I came off my bike five times but you just push it because I have to be fast on the descents so that was where I put in the effort. Being single track you get limited as to how aggressive you can be going around people, there's a fine line between being a prick and giving up too much time."
While Jefferies has been doing multisport races for a few years now, this was his last major event for a while.
"I got into it through mates, I was a trail runner and I liked the thought of there being a bit more lead shifting due to who's good at which discipline. It's more intense racing.
"I'm probably going to hang up the boots for a little bit. I've got some trail races I want to tick off, I'd love to do a 100km ultramarathon next year. The running is a lot easier with a business and a wife and two kids, it's not my number one priority so I'll take a year out I think."
Alison Wilson was the first woman home and sixth overall in 3h 34m 27s. Corrinne O'Donnell was the second woman in 3h 41m 1s and Kath Kelly third in 3h 58m 24s.
3D Rotorua Multisport Festival Premier Race Results
1st Scott McDonald (3h 15m 2s), 2nd Bevan Jefferies (3h 16m 10s), Thomas Christison (3h 22m 29s).
1st Alison Wilson (3h 34m 27s), Corrinne O'Donnell (3h 41m 1s), Kath Kelly (3h 58m 24s).