Brown and O’Grady Confirm For Iconic BOP Triathlon
8th October 2013
Brown and O’Grady Confirm For Iconic BOP Triathlon
New Zealand’s greatest ever long distance triathlete Cameron Brown is returning to one of the venues he has enjoyed most during his long and successful career with confirmation the ten-time IRONMAN NZ champion will line up in the 25th anniversary edition of the iconic Port of Tauranga Half.
The event takes place on January 4th 2014 and with 9 wins under his belt already, Brown had no hesitation in returning to the Bay of Plenty and joining the anniversary celebrations of one of the country’s longest running and most popular triathlons, a race that carries Tri NZ Long Distance National Champs status.
“The Port of Tauranga Half has always been a must do race for me over the Kiwi summer. I like to measure myself over this race as I only have 8 weeks of training left before I tackle IRONMAN New Zealand so it's a great hit out, but it is a race that also lets me know if I need to work on any weaknesses.
“Winning number ten keeps me coming back but I know it's a tough ask with all the young guys but that doesn't stop me, plus the chance of having the race as the official Tri NZ New Zealand long distance champs is a big incentive.”
One of the ‘young’ guys Brown is talking about is Graham O’Grady, a relative late bloomer in the longer distance events, O’Grady is back to defend his title from earlier this year when he equalled the race record in holding off Brown and Terenzo Bozzone.
“The Port of Tauranga Half has to be the most popular event in New Zealand, with a fantastic location, amazing crowd support, great weather and diverse course it’s always at the top of the list.
“Summer means a great season of racing in New Zealand for me, providing the opportunity to get behind local events. After winning this year I want to come back to defend the national title. I am keen to repeat last summer’s successful racing programme, with The Mount the main focus.”
Both Brown and O’Grady agree on one of the many reasons the event is so popular, the stunning course that includes a run around the base track of The Mount.
“I love the whole event but if I had to single out one leg it would be the run. Athletes always underestimate how hard that Mt base track is,” said Brown. “There aren't many races around the world with scenery like we have at The Mount with Pilot Bay, The Mount beaches and the base track.”
O’Grady agrees and notes the excitement around the course will be up a notch or two given the 25 year celebration.
“The run course is my favourite by far, the crowd support is phenomenal and you have to be strong throughout the entire run to finish well. With it being the 25th year I am sure it’s going to be one hell of a race with many of New Zealand’s top competitors wanting to take the crown. I am excited to be a part of it again in 2014.”
Brown meanwhile is targeting a big summer of racing on the back of his first decent break from the sport for some time.
“I've just come off my biggest break in ten years having had a seven week break. It's been great for my mental side as I want to have a great summer season. My first race will be the Port of Tauranga Half, followed by 70.3 Auckland and then IRONMAN New Zealand in March.”
Very few events can call on the history of 24 years that the Port of Tauranga Half can look back on, a history that has seen the race evolve alongside the sport with a list of winners that would grace any race anywhere in the world, led by long distance legends Cameron Brown (9), Joanna Lawn (4) and internationals such as Aussies Rebekah Keat (3 wins), Kate Bevilaqua and Craig Alexander.
Former Canadian representative Frank Clarke won the event back in 1993 and has of course since made his home in New Zealand while some of the ‘pioneers’ of the sport are proud to have their name forever etched on the winners board, the likes of Scott Balance, Karyn Balance (nee Williams), Walter Thorburn, Tony O’Hagan, Sue Clark, Jenny Rose and Megan Robertson. It really is a ‘half of fame’ for the sport in New Zealand.
Age group athletes will be vying for spots on the New Zealand team for the 2014 ITU World Long Distance Championships in WeiHai, China.
The Port of Tauranga Half is over a race distance of 2km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run, while the ITU World Long Distance Championships is raced over the slightly longer 4km swim, 120km bike and 30km run.
Entries are open for all comers to join the festivities and take part in the 25 year celebrations but the field is filling fast. Visit www.tgahalf.co.nz for entry details and more information on the Port of Tauranga Half.
Tauranga Half, Honours Board:
2013: Graham O’Grady - Gina Crawford
2012: Cameron Brown - Joanna Lawn
2011: Callum Millward - Joanna Lawn
2010: Michael Poole - Samantha Warriner
2009: Duncan Milne - Samantha Warriner
2008: Kieran Doe - Kate Bevilaqua (AUS)
2007: Cameron Brown - Joanna Lawn
2006: Nathan Richmond - Joanna Lawn
2005: Craig Alexander (AUS) - Samantha Warriner
2004: Cameron Brown - Rebekah Keat (AUS)
2003: Cameron Brown - Rebekah Keat (AUS)
2002: Cameron Brown - Rebekah Keat (AUS)
2001: Cameron Brown - Nicole Cope
2000: Cameron Brown - Robin Rooke
1999: Cameron Brown - Karyn Ballance
1998: Cameron Brown - Heidi Alexander
1997: Tony O’hagan - Karyn Mills
1996: Walter Thorburn - Jenny Rose
1995: Scott Ballance - Sue Clark
1994: Tony O’Hagan - Sue Clark
1993: Frank Clarke (CAN) - Megan Robertson
1992: Tony O’Hagan - Megan Robertson
1991: Dave Bradding - Corie Lyons (USA)
1990: Scott Balance - Karen Williams
Men: Nathan Richmond (2006) and Graham O’Grady (2013) 3:47:54
Women: Samantha Warriner 4:10:47
For further information visit www.tgahalf.co.nz