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World Champion & Wife Favourite For Crazyman


 
World Champion & Wife Favourite For Crazyman
  

More than 300 endurance junkies will line up on Petone Foreshore on Saturday morning for Wellington’s 19th HuttValleyNZ.com Crazyman. The 66km multisport epic takes competitors on a kayaking, mountain biking and mountain running tour of the Hutt Valley’s rugged hills, river and harbour, and is one of New Zealand’s longest running multisport events.

On a course that is as spectacular as it is challenging, competitors from all ends of New Zealand will open up with a 13k kayak leg along Petone Foreshore and around the eastern bays of Wellington Harbour to Eastbourne. They then swap kayaks for running shoes for an 18k mountain run over the Eastern harbour Regional Park and Mt Lowry to Wainuiomata. The final leg is a 36k mountain bike along the Hutt Hills Skyline and down the Hutt River Trail to finish at the Lower Hutt Town Hall.

As part of the Sportzhub.com national series, the HuttValleyNZ.com Crazyman is one of New Zealand’s most prestigious multisport events, and a world-class field will gather on the Petone Foreshore start line. Favourite is three-time world multisport champion Richard Ussher.

The former Olympic-skier, who hails from Wellington but now lives in Nelson, won the Crazyman in 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Other standouts include Wellington’s Glen Muirhead. The former Hurricanes physiotherapist was renowned for being fitter than his rugby team, but also for twice finishing in the top 10 at the Speight’s Coast to Coast world championship. The recently turned 40 year old is favourite for the veteran category, but will be keen to race for overall honours.

Richard Ussher will have extra motivation, however. As well as defending his Crazyman title he’ll be trying to repeat the husband and wife double that he and wife Elina achieved in 2007 when both athletes set new records for the Crazyman course.

Elina Ussher, formerly of Finland but now living in Nelson, will start as favourite for the women’s race, which she has won twice before (2006, 2007). The former Finnish cross country skiing and orienteering rep finished third in this year’s Speight’s Coast to Coast world title race, but she will face in-form Palmerston North athlete Nic Leary.

Leary is New Zealand’s second-ranked mountain biker and recently won Rotorua’s prestigious Xterra off-road triathlon. She has finished as high as third at the Crazyman in 2006, but three years later the 25 year old is a much-improved athlete. Her match up with Elina Ussher is much anticipated: The Finnish athlete should lead on the kayak section, while the run is expected to be evenly matched. But Leary could be 10min faster on the final mountain bike section, which means Ussher needs at least that much in hand to claim her third Crazyman title.

Organisers are expecting close to 400 competitors for the 66km tour through the icon outdoor elements of Wellington’s Hutt City. The event includes the full kayak, run and mountain bike for teams and individuals, and also a run and mountain bike duathlon option for non-kayakers.

Entrants vary between 16-year-old Petone student William McCormack and 64-year-old Wellington dentist Jeffery Annan.

The 2009 HuttValleyNZ.com Crazyman starts at 8am on Saturday morning on Petone Foreshore, and entries will be taken up to 7:00pm on Friday.

Ends.

 

 

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