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Burke Hat-Trick Highlights Contact Duathlon Championships


Burke Hat-Trick Highlights Contact Duathlon Championships

It wasn't quite four seasons in one day but it was a near thing as the storm front moving up the country threatened to derail competitors at the Contact National Duathlon Championships in Taupo today, with Melanie Burke (Auckland) and Michael Poole (Auckland) taking out the big awards.

Triathletes and multisport competitors are a resilient bunch however and despite the changeable conditions there was hardly a complaint from the over 500 participants in races ranging from year 7 and 8 National Schools competitors to open elite.

Mel Burke was the star of the day, the Aucklander picked up her third consecutive national title, winning the women's race by a comfortable margin, in doing so picking up the ITU Oceania title to add to the elite and age group titles won on the day.

Burke was delighted with her win in trying conditions, with a big margin back to Candice Hammond (Cambridge).

"Three in a row is great, I am really happy with that. I was freezing before I started by when the sun came out not long after we started it soon got hot out on the course. I am heading to the World Long Course Championship in Switzerland in a couple of weeks so this is great preparation for that."

In the men's Michael Poole was first across the line earning both the New Zealand and the Oceania title, thanks largely to a great cycle leg in which he clawed back Sam Osborne who established a lead of over two minutes on the opening 10km run leg.

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Poole was laid-back in his acceptance of his awards.

"I struggled to get out of bed this morning and really didn't want to warm up in the cold so pretty much sat in the car," said a tongue in cheek Poole.

"I didn't find it too windy though, the first part though took me a while to get going but in the second half I really got a rhythm and started caressing the pedals and felt like I was really floating along."

Earlier five time NZ road cycling champion Gordon McCauley was a late withdrawal due to injury, robbing the race of his class on the bike leg around the Taupo Motorsport Park course.

Triathlon New Zealand Event Manager Haidee Stratford was delighted with the day and the attitude of the participants.

"Despite the cold and at times the rain, everyone has contributed to a great day. The Marshalls and volunteers have done a sterling job while the participants just rolled their sleeves up and got on with it. I'm sure everyone's attitude was helped by the facilities and the course here at Taupo Motorsport Park though, the circuit is great fun and safe to race around and the viewing from the top of pit lane amazing, you can see the entire course and keep track of the competitors throughout, a rarity in our sport."

The day also included Contact National School Championship races in all age groups from year 7 and 8 to U19.

Competitors had travelled the length and breadth of the country, from as far as Dunedin in the South to Whangarei in the North and a number from across the Tasman chasing the Oceania titles on offer.

Contact National Duathlon Champs Standard Distance 10km run, 40km bike, 5km run Elite Men 1 Michael Poole ITU 1:56:21 2 Sam Osborne Dunedin 2:00:36 3 Ben McHale Rotorua 2:01:38 U23 Men 1 Hamish Hammond Greytown 1:59:47

Elite Women 1 Melanie Burke Auckland 2:12:06 U23 Women 1 Megan Blackett Auckland 2:20:00

Other age group and Contact National Schools results will be posted to www.triathlon.org.nz - follow the links to the Contact Duathlon Nationals via the events page

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