Auckland's Alexi Petrie held on from a fast-finishing Kieran McPherson (Matamata) to win the trophy event at the Whangamata round of the .kiwi Tri Series yesterday.

Natasha Bowyer, of Auckland, had her first victory in the women's race.

Petrie was locked in a battle with Matt Franklin in the swim and first part of the bike but Franklin was forced to withdraw. The Aucklander had been ill in the lead-up to the race and made the decision to save himself for another day when his heart rate got a little too high late on the first lap of the 40km bike.

From that point, Petrie concentrated on putting enough distance between himself and McPherson, knowing his rival had the better run record so far this summer.


"It was like nothing else out there today, it was so hot, along the beach it was a headwind and that combined with the heat, it was just murder," said Petrie.

"At Mount Maunganui I had a bit of a lead off the bike and Kieran caught me so today I put a bit more burn down on the bike and just tried to stay away but I was definitely running scared.

"It was really nice on the back of the course. I have been doing a lot of cycling so I enjoyed the hills, I really enjoyed the course. I am stoked, this is my best result to date and now I have finished uni I am keen to have a real crack at the season so this is great," he said.

McPherson tried to stay in touch on the bike but admitted to not having the legs on the second lap.

"I was hurting a little on the second lap of the bike, they pulled away a bit and today it was just too much for me to run down. I saw that Matt had pulled out but it was just too far to catch up on the run."

Bowyer was strong in the hot conditions in the women's event.

"The last lap of the run, coming down the beach, it felt like I wasn't moving," she said. "It was good to get up on the grass again and get to the finish. This is probably the fastest I have been running. I have been working on that through the winter. I am now looking to work on my bike. This is the first time I have won a triathlon so it feels great."

The sprint distance events were won by Ashleigh Williams (Auckland) and Damien Decas (New Plymouth) in impressive times from a host of young athletes.