Javier Gomez to compete in this Saturday's Calley Homes Tauranga Half
One of the world’s greatest triathlete’s will be at Mount Maunganui this Saturday, taking part in the Calley Homes Tauranga Half. Javier Gomez from Spain has been described as “the most well-rounded triathlete in history” with five ITU World Championships (2008, 2010, 2013-15), two Ironman 70.3 Championships (2012 & 2017), ITU Long Distance World Championship (2019), an XTERRA World Championship 2012, and a Silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics to his name.
He has transitioned to long distance triathlons winning his first full Ironman distance race at Ironman Malaysia in 2019, with a course record on 8:18:59.
Gomez will on the start line at Pilot Bay this Saturday up against many of the country top triathletes including current NZ Ironman champion – Mike Phillips, and the in-form Jack Moody. Also in the elite athlete mix for the event are Simon Cochrane, Matt Kerr & Ben Hamilton.
It is the first time that Javier Gomez has competed in the individual event at the Calley Homes Tauranga Half. He is looking forward to Saturday, saying - “I live in Tauranga half of the year, so it just makes sense when I live literally on the course! I’ve also heard many good things about this race: great organization, world class athletes competing, unique course… so I’m very happy to be part of it.”
Despite it being a home course of sorts for Gomez, he will have huge competition from former event winner – Mike Phillip and perennial place-getter – Jack Moody.
Mike Phillips won Ironman New Zealand in 2023 after previously winning this title in 2019. He last won the Calley Homes Tauranga Half in 2019 and is looking for another win to kick start his multi-sport year saying - “It’s always great to start the year with the Calley Homes Tauranga Half event. It is a good chance to test the fitness against some good competition in an iconic location.”
Jack Moody is no stranger to this event’s podium, finishing second in 2022, 2020 & 2019 and third in 2023 & 2021. He had a stellar year in 2023 taking out Challenge Wanaka and Xterra Rotorua, and was on several international 70.3 and off road podiums in Europe.
He can’t wait for this weekend’s event saying - "I am an Auckland-based long course triathlete and have been racing the Calley Homes Tauranga Half every year since 2018. Pretty cool to be a part of the 35th Anniversary with some fond memories on this event.”
Simon Cochrane has been in the event’s top five for the past few years. He had an incredible 2023 earning the title of Ultraman World Champion. He is looking forward to competing this Saturday, saying - “the Calley Homes Tauranga Half is always an epic event to kick off the summer of racing. Training is in full swing over the Xmas break and it’s the first chance to really test yourself against NZ’s best athletes.”
The Calley Homes Tauranga Half elite women’s field is the strongest ever assembled for the event. It features Ironman World Champion – Chelsea Sodaro from the US, 2023 Ironman NZ Champ Els Visser from the Netherlands, local multisport legend – Hannah Berry and defending champion – Rebecca Clarke.
In looking ahead to Saturday’s event, Festival Director Julia Tilley said – “we are stoked to have incredibly strong fields for this year’s Calley Homes Tauranga Half, including leading internationals in Javier Gomez, Chelsea Sodaro & Els Visser. To have these icons of our sport up against NZ’s top multisport athletes will make for a special 35th Anniversary of the event.”
Also on the Fulton Hogan Mount Festival programme for Saturday is the Pilot Bay Ocean Swim event, the Aquabike event, and the Pressio Mount Festival Half Marathon which has 5km, 10km and half marathon options.