In the quest to finish first every time he lines up in a competition, Brendon Vesty never loses sight of the fact that no one is left behind or forgotten in his family.

Vesty claimed the Kinloch Triathlon-NZ National Sprint Championship crown for the 45-49 male category, 10 seconds ahead of Jonathan Linyard, in Taupo last Sunday but with his ensuing aspirations came his commitment to his understanding and supportive family.

"The kids know that I have to do some quite long training days on a Sunday and things, which I haven't been doing, when we could be out picnicking or something" says the father of four - son Karsen, 13, Sofia, 11, stepdaughter Sage, 7, and year-old Noah.

"The thing is I'm really lucky to have a supportive partner [Jessica Harris] who lets me do all this training but I have a few friends who struggle to get out as much as me," says Vesty whose victory has paved the way for him to compete potentially anywhere from the Gold Coast in Australia to the United States, South Africa and Kona, Hawaii.


The triathlon, which also doubled as a Gold Coast qualifier, comprised a 750m swim leg, 20km bike ride punctuated by hills and a 5km run.

Vesty, who finished in 1h 11m 40s, considers himself lucky because the inclement weather had turned the course into a slow one.

"The run course was a little like running cross country because there was rain on it," he says after taming it in 22m 03s.

The 45-year-old director of finance for Stortford Auto Sales in Hastings swam the course in 13:02 before clocking 34:25 in his favourite cycling leg.

Vesty has some big plans to fulfil this year. While he has qualified for the standard and sprint distances for the Gold Coast event in September, the bigger picture is to compete at the Santa Rosa Ironman in May.

"By winning the half ironman on Sunday I have also qualified for the world championship 70.3 in South Africa in September as well."

However, Vesty aims to nail the top two placings in his age group in Santa Rosa which will give him a passport to the Kona Ironman Championship in October this year.

"That's where I really want to be. For me that's the ultimate of triathlons so, basically, if I make that I'll forgo the others."


He is mindful the humidity in the tropical Pacific Island will pose different challenges.

"It'll be a pretty big goal just to get there but if I make it then I'll think about the race and what I need to do."

But if the Kona plan doesn't pan out he'll switch to the Gold Coast and South Africa events in September.

He chuckles at the thought of collecting funds for his campaign but intends to keep on working - although some financial backing would be godsend.

"Sponsors will be nice but we'll get there somehow. I'll just have to work hard."

Vesty is comfortable in the knowledge that Harris is a pivotal provider to their income.

"With our four children Jess is doing some in-house daycare as well."

Karsen, a Havelock North High School pupil who finished 26th in Kinloch, receives coaching from Ken McLaren but, like his father, struggles with swimming.

Vesty, a Hawke's Bay Ramblers Cycling member, finished runner-up in the age-group national cycling championship in 2016 with a "limited amount of training".

Before that he had finished third in the elite cycling nationals in New Plymouth in 2001.

The former Hastings Boys High School pupil is in only his second season of triathlons, after finishing 30th in the 40-44 men's category of the Kellogg's Ironman 70.3, his maiden event, in Taupo in December 2016.

The Havelock North athlete had a decade-long professional career in cycling first in Europe and then with American team Navigators in the final four years before retiring.

He needed a bigger challenge than club cycling offered so the three-discipline sport beckoned.

But accidents have become deterrents for Vesty.

In 2016, just before the Taupo Ironman, a vehicle had knocked him down on the way to the well-known Pain Train ride around the Tukituki Valley.

This time, before Kinloch, he broke a wrist and sprained the other during a Ramblers club ride a week after he won the Taupo Half Ironman last December.

"I was in the race and had a tangle with a rider which left me in a cast, luckily enough, for just a month."

He managed to cycle and run but swimming with a cast was not a goer.

Vesty, who is self-coached, intends to consult Napier coach Reece Kennedy from today to improve his swimming.

"I really would probably need a coach but I basically train to what I can fit in."

The recovery time from his broken wrist has put out of kilter his initial long-term plan to compete in the Taupo Ironman next month.

He sees his cycling career and triathlon conquests as mutually exclusive because in the former he rose to professional heights but in the latter it's with his age group.

"In cycling you've got to use your mind and energy a lot but with triathlon you know what you can do before you start the day. Cycling is more like playing chess."

Vesty says in cycling there tends to be a tendency to rely on a hostile leading bunch or peloton to share some of the load but triathletes do it alone.