NZ National Triathlon Champs - Wellington 2011

Written by Gail Harvey-Heyward
Date: 11 March 2011
Distances: 1500m Swim / 40km Bike / 10km Run

Firstly thanks to all those who gave me words of encouragement, support and congratulations. Especially Craig for his last minute “tweaking” maybe my swimming isn't a lost cause after all. This race was a target for me and it was an absolute buzz, blast and adrenaline rush to complete it successfully.

Race Day

Conditions were calm….unbelievable for Wellington. The dawn atmosphere at transition was tense and electric. Not sure if that was the anticipation of racing or a result of the possibly pending tsunami on its way.


Pre-race was surprisingly improved for me, I was actually able to breathe and relax and stay composed. I felt like I was ripping through the water, the salt water felt so light and easy to pull through after doing so much training in fresh water. A definite positive BUT I got so engulfed in swimming strong and fast I lost sight of…literally the course.  It felt like I swam via china to get around the first buoy. Definitely lots to work on.


Wee drama here….my race belt broke and slipped off my waist and thankfully didn’t tangle itself in my rear wheel.  After being yelled at that I would be disqualified if I didn’t pick it up I did a u-turn, retrieved it and knotted it on. This lost me about two minutes and I felt like I was in catch up mode for the rest of the bike leg.  All competitors had their age group displayed in massive black vivid marker on our calf so I was on a mission to catch any F35-39, hunt them down and pass them.  I did manage to pass lots of other competitors but didn’t see any of my age group and assumed they were still further ahead. With this in mind I was very pleased to finish the bike without any further incidents especially cheering to myself ‘yaaaah, no flat tyres!’ and ready to hammer the run.


The course was a two lap out and back which meant you could see and track other competitors.  The wind had picked up by now, no surprise being in Wellington.  Pushing into the head wind on the first 2.5k I soon realized my legs knew they had pushed hard on the bike and I would need to dig deep to achieve a run time I would be satisfied with.  It was time to get into my ‘hurt box’ and stay there.  I finished with everything I had left in me, I never did get to pass any F35-39 competitors and was honestly terrified I was forth.  Winning my age group and receiving my gold national medal was a pleasant surprise, relief and huge buzz for me. However, an overall placing of 24th and a race time of 2hrs 24mins did not impress me so I still have lots to improve on and lots of work to do and lots of fun to be had.


Swim + T1 28:00
Bike + T2 1:14:31
Run 42:28 Total
Time 2:24:59