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Scottish Triathlete Brings Her Class to Port of Tauranga

Scottish Triathlete Brings Her Class to Port of Tauranga Half

Well performed international triathlete Catriona Morrison is taking time out from the cold of the northern hemisphere and will line up on January 4th alongside great friend and rival Jo Lawn at the Port of Tauranga Half triathlon.

36 year old Morrison brings real international credibility to the field and will challenge strongly for the win against the likes of Lawn and recent winner at the Taupo Half, Candice Hammond.

Morrison has a superb CV, one that includes multiple world championship wins over various distances in duathlon triathlon events around the world. The Scottish triathlete has a close association with New Zealand and is looking forward to racing at the 25th Anniversary POT Half event.

“My first triathlon club was Wellington; we lived there for 18 months while my husband was finishing his studies and Victoria University. One of his colleagues Kelly Barclay was celebrating his 50thbirthday earlier this month and we accepted the invitation to return for the first time since 1999/2000.

“Kelly is now living in Tauranga so that brought us to the Bay of Plenty. We have been in the country since the 13th December, the first stop was the party and now here I am getting ready to race in a week or so, this could be really terrible or really wonderful!”

Morrison is alluding to the fact that at this time of the year she is normally hiding from the weather at home, not out logging up big miles in warm conditions.

“This is the opposite time of year to be racing for me, I’m usually wrapped up and hiding from the cold, it will be interesting. I do have some history here though, I remember doing the Shore Breaker event one year, and although I won it I have been having nightmares about that for some time. I also started the Tinman race once but I was bitten by a crab, swam into a boat, then had a puncture – not one of my better days in my triathlon career!”

Morrison is clearly expecting a better day when she lines up alongside hundreds of others celebrating the 25th anniversary of this iconic event, although given what she has endured you would forgive the personable but fiercely determined Morrison for putting her feet up on the beach.

“Looking back on 2013 the highlight for me was simply to be racing again. From Kona 2011 to May 2013 when I saw Jo for the first time in a few years, I had double Achilles tendon surgery and broke my collar bone, the whole season didn’t exist for me so the highlight was just to race again.

Not knowing how the surgery would turn out was a worry, but up until now - touch wood, it has been great. I was 3rd at European 70.3 champs and 4th at World 70.3 Champs which after having 18 months out, I guess is a strong season.

“The Port of Tauranga course is great but will be deceptively hard for me as I like hills, but it will be tricky and being the 25th anniversary will be a great community feel behind it. I like races that have a long standing history and community buzz about them, they are the ones I like to go back to. Some can be anonymous in big cities but with 25 years of history, everyone knows that the first weekend of January will see a triathlon outside their front door at Mount Maunganui and Papamoa.”

Morrison has already spent some time familiarising herself with the course, in particular the run around the basse of the Mount, although she did take the familiarisation to a new level.

“I ran around The Mount last week, it was one of the first ones I did, although we ran up the mount and then back down again, not just around it! I have been doing my long runs from Pilot Bay, around The Mount and down to Papamoa, it will be hard, but if it is a hot day like today, there will at least be shade somewhere!”

Morrison shows her sense of humour when she suggests that while it has been great catching up with friends and fellow triathletes while here in New Zealand, few have ventured to her part of the world.

“It is great to catch up with people and will be good to see Jo; I have seen her a few times this season, last time at the World Champs in Vegas. Tri is a great community for this, all around the world everyone is so hospitable – I must admit though I am yet to have anyone come visit in Scotland – and we do have an open door policy at our place!”

While Morrison, Lawn, Hammond and the irrepressible Sam Warriner will battle out the elite women’s race, 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 21km 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.

Port of 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

Race records:
Men: Nathan Richmond (2006) and Graham O’Grady (2013) 3:47:54
Women: Samantha Warriner 4:10:47

ENDS

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