The first of the National Elite Series was hosted by the holiday paradise of Mount Maunganui on Sunday. Strong gusty winds continued to build across the day with the elite race underway at 8am in the Sovereign Tri Series, Tinman Triathlon.
The series aims to bring top New Zealand athletes together to stimulate competition, support the elite community and showcase the sport to the wider community. It gives high performing athletes, regardless of their age, the opportunity to compete and challenge themselves against athletes who might be specialists in one discipline but not the other or in longer distances compared with short to medium distances.
A significant cash prize is up for grabs for Top 5 finishers as well National Titles, ITU ranking points (Kinloch event only) and priority invitation to an ITU World Cup. In its inaugural year, the series is expected to draw a variety of athletes from all around New Zealand, even those who are based overseas.
There was a strong line up in both the women and men's races today and we expected to see some champion racing. Tayler Reid followed closely by David Martin led the pack in the swim leg and out of the transition, it was Martin that excelled and led the bike through to the run. At that point, Martin described the run as him 'hanging on' and says, "I managed to lead the bike but Mark caught up to me in the run and I was just hanging on...". Martin, at only 18 years of age has been racing in both ITU Oceania Kinloch and Gisborne events earlier this year, almost breaking into the top 20. An impressive up and comer - worth watching his progress over the NZ season.
However, it was the powerhouse Mark Bowstead who came away with the win at a time of 1:42:21. Bowstead was the one to watch in this elite race - coming in with top form and preparing for the Taupo 70.3 in December 10. His run times in the 70.3 distances are hugely impressive which made him a massive favourite going into Tinman.
The women had an equally impressive line up with Teresa Adam coming in as one of the favourites - she was certainly going to give it all she had. Adam returns to triathlon after investing her time into building her coaching business. She arrived home on the run leg over a minute and a half, well clear of Deborah Lynch who took up second place. Lynch was followed by Rebecca Clarke who also took a third place in yesterday's Ocean Swim Series.
Taryn Ryan also came in with great form, proving to us that she's an athlete to keep an eye on across the season. Ryan, like Bowstead is training for the 70.3 and we expect to see great results from the pair based on their consistent performances.