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Braden Currie & Amelia Watkinson win Port of Tauranga Half

Braden Currie & Amelia Watkinson win Port of Tauranga Half

The Port of Tauranga Half was run this morning in fine but blustery conditions at Mount Maunganui, with Braden Currie and Amelia Watkinson crowned the men’s and women’s winners respectively.

Braden Currie produced an exceptional run leg in today’s event to finish top of the podium for the first time after finishing in second place last year, and third in 2013.

Currie had to come from behind on this morning’s run leg after a strong 90km bike leg from Waiuku’s Mark Bowstead. Currie trailed by 2 minutes 32 seconds heading into the half marathon run, but was able to use his exceptional run speed to overtake Bowstead and eventually finish with a 1 minute 34 second winning margin, in a time of 3 hours 52 minutes and 26 seconds.

The wins caps a remarkable twelve months for the Wanaka multisport athlete, with victories in the Coast to Coast, the Taupo 70.3 Half Ironman in December and a second placing in the 2015 World XTERRA Championships. Currie now has his sights set on a possible place in the NZ team for the Rio Olympics in short course triathlon, and while he is yet to compete over the distance, anything seems possible for this exceptional 29 year old athlete.

Currie was made to work hard for his victory today emerging 5th out of the water at Mount Maunganui, before advancing to second place at the end of the 90km bike leg.

Matt Franklin was first out of the water at Pilot Bay, with Graham O’Grady and Mark Bowstead only 3 seconds adrift.

Bowstead then decided that he had to use strength on the bike to build a decent lead over Currie heading into the run. A 2 minute 32 second margin is a good lead by anyone standards, but was not enough to keep Braden Currie at bay today, who completed the 21.1km run leg in 1 hour, 16 minutes and 24 seconds.

Bowstead hung in on the run leg for second place, beating his long time idol Cameron Brown for first time in the process.

Brown, a ten-time winner of the event, was slow out of the water this morning – two minutes 35 seconds down on the leaders, before using his incredible strength on the bike and run to finish third.

The woman’s field was dominated from start to finish by the rising star of the sport in this country – Amelia Watkinson. The 24 year old, who moved from Auckland to the Hawkes Bay last year, has worked exceptionally hard on her swimming in her time in Hawkes Bay, and was first out of the water, 44 seconds clear of former NZ swimming rep – Anna Cleaver.

Watkinson didn’t look back from there, powering away from the women’s field to win in by a 12 minutes and 53 seconds margin, and record her first win in the Port of Tauranga Half in a time of 4 hours 16 minutes and 26 seconds.

Second in the women’s field was Candice Hammond from Cambridge in a time of 4 hours 29 minutes and 18 seconds, while Aucklnd’s Rebecca Fogarty came third in a time of 4 hours 30 minutes and 47 seconds.

The Port of Tauranga Half doubles as the 2016 National Long Distance Triathlon Championships so Braden Currie and Amelia Watkinson won these national titles, while the national champ in various age groups was found.

The Port of Tauranga Half is also part of the Mount Festival of Multisport which features the NZ Tri Team Championships, Mauao Fun Run and NZ Beach Volleyball Championship tomorrow at Mount Maunganui.

Port of Tauranga Half Results – Saturday, 9 January
1. Braden Currie (Wanaka) 3:52:26
2. Mark Bowstead (Waiuku) 3:54:00
3. Cameron Brown (Auckland) 3:55:06
4. Daniel Plews (Auckland) 3:57:47
5. Simon Cochrane (Hamilton) 4:03:04
1. Amelia Watkinson (Hawkes Bay) 4:16:26
2. Candice Hammond (Cambridge) 4:29:17
3. Rebecca Fogarty (Auckland) 4:30:46
4. Julia Grant (Asburton) 4:34:12
5. Larrisa Cochrane 4:39:27
18-19 Years 1. Corey Le Couteur 5:45:41
20-24 Years
1. Jason Hall 4:07:59
25-29 Years
1. Bobby Dean 4:19:12
30-34 Years 1. Daryl Harding 4:19:43
35-39 Years
1. Brodie Madgwick 4:13:36
40-44 Years 1. Bron Healey 4:28:34
45-49 Years 1. Bevan McKinnon 4:11:08
50-54 Years 1. Tim Brenton-Rule 4:42:16
55-59 Years
1. Peter Kane 4:41:24
60-64 Years
1. Rob Wylie 4:54:52
65-69 Years 1. Stu Witchell 5:16:58
70-74 Years 1. Ray Lichtwark 5:18:42

20-24 Years 1. Jess Barnes 5:17:38
25-29 Years
1. Stephanie Scheirlinck 5:01:28
30-34 Years
1. Karen Toulmin 4:45:32
35-39 Years
1. Nikki Edwards 4:53:13
40-44 Years
1. Serena Hammond 4:46:45
45-49 Years
1. Samantha Bradley 4:31:37
50-54 Years
1. Linda Exeter-Grant 5:03:34
55-59 Years
1. Karen Hopson 5:34:06
60-64 Years
1. Debbie Clark 5:18:52


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