The 30th Anniversary of the Tauranga Half produced two new champions today with Mike Phillips and Hannah Wells taking out the men’s and women’s elite races in
hot conditions in Mt Maunganui.
It was the third trip north for Christchurch’s Mike Phillips for the iconic race, and a case of third time lucky.
Phillips won today’s event with a winning margin of 1 minute 53 seconds over fast finishing Aucklander – Jack Moody.
Phillips came into today’s Tauranga Half, which was also the NZ Mid-Distance National Champs, determined for victory, after an early puncture on the bike leg
spoiled his chances in 2014, and being out run by training partner Dylan McNeice in last year’s event.
Phillips has worked hard on his swimming and biking over the past year, and this showed this morning, when he emerged
from the water on Pilot Bay in the lead with Auckland’s Mark Bowstead.
Bowstead copped a drafting penalty on the first lap of the 90k bike leg, allowing to Phillips to ride out front alone.
Mike Phillips produced the fastest bike leg of the race, giving him a large buffer heading into the 21k run leg. He
needed this healthy margin on the final leg as it transpired, with half marathon specialist Jack Moody producing an
outstanding 1:14:34 run leg, to storm home for second place.
Today’s victory comes after a stellar 2018 season for Mike Phillips which included a 5th in the NZ Ironman champs, 16th
at the World Ironman Champs at Kona, Hawaii, and victory in the Taupo 70.3 in December.
He was thrilled to finally win the Tauranga Half saying – “I have been trying to win this prestigious event for a few years, so really happy to achieve this. After
building a good lead on the bike, I was able to settle into my own pace on the run and build a good lead. I needed that
lead as Jack Moody is running extremely well.”
Phillips said he felt good through today’s 2km swim, 90km bike and 21km run, although he did notice the heat on the
second lap of the run.
Jack Moody was delighted with his runner-up performance today. He only got into long distance triathlon a couple of
years ago, and has shown great improvement since his 6th placing at this event last year.
The women’s elite race also produced a break-through performance from Tauranga triathlete – Hannah Wells. Wells upset
the pre-race form guide, producing a withering half marathon run leg to cross the tape first, to the delight of local
fans who packed the final stretch of road down Pilot Bay.
Before her second attempt at the Tauranga Half today, Well’s goals were a podium finish, and to complete the event in a time of 4 hour 20 minutes, if possible.
Hannah Wells smashed both pre-race goals, to win today’s Tauranga Half in a time of 4:13:19. In the process, she beat two-time champion Amelia Rose Watkinson, and highly accomplished long
distance triathletes Rebecca Clark and Teresa Adam.
With biking and running being her strengths, Wells needed a strong swim this morning to keep in contact with the
Rebecca Clark and Teresa Adam were first out of the water, completing the 2km swim in 24 minutes 23 seconds, with Amelia
Watkinson and Hannah Wells coming out of the harbour together, trailing by 1 minute 43 seconds.
Wells rode the bike leg with Watkinson, maintaining a 2 minute deficit to Clark & Adam throughout the 90k bike.
Heading into the final 21k run leg, Wells had a fantastic transition to put a break on Watkinson, and then set about
hauling in Clark and Adam. She hit the lead on the first of the two lap run course, and maintained this lead to the
finish, to the delight of her home crowd.
Wells was ecstatic with her performance, saying “it’s so good to win on my home course.”
In assessing her performance, Wells said – “I was pleased to stick with Amelia during the swim which meant that I was
able to ride the bike leg with her. I had a quick final transition, which gave me a kick into the run. I focused on form
and consistency during the run leg, and was able to stay strong.”
She said the hardest part was “being in the lead, and not knowing how fast the other girls were running.”
Amelia Watkinson also produced an outstanding 21k run leg to finish second, ahead of Rebecca Clark in third and Theresa
Adam in fourth place.
Another popular winner today was leading NZ triathlete – Andrea Hewitt who made her first appearance at the Tauranga Half, winning the female team’s race, with Anneke Gomez.
Today’s Tauranga Half was the headline event for the Mount Festival of Multisport which included a range of athletic and community events.
Sam Clark who took out the Enduro which was completed over a 3m swim, 120km bike and 25km run distance. Clark, a
multiple Coast to Coast winner, showed his class on the bike and run to win the event by 32 minutes.
Tauranga Half Results – Saturday, 12 January 2018
1. Mike Phillips (Christchurch) 3:49:05
2. Jack Moody (Auckland) 3:50:58
3. Mark Bowstead (Auckland) 3:57:11
4. Simon Cochrane (Hamilton) 4:00:18
5. George Gwynn 4:01:03
1. Hannah Wells (Tauranga) 4:13:19
2. Amelia Rose Watkinson (Auckland) 4:15:12
3. Rebecca Clarke (Auckland) 4:16:19
4. Teresa Adam (Auckland) 4:17:38
5. Emily Donker 4:30:00
Age Group Men’s
18-19 Years1. Chris Johnson 4:54:34
20-24 Years1. Lucas DuRoss 4:11:57
25-29 Years1. Alec Geddes 4:11:24
30-34 Years1. Bobby Dean 4:12:21
35-39 Years1. Jeffrey McHardy 4:13:39
40-44 Years1. Brodie Madgwick 4:07:32
45-49 Years1. Brendan Erskine 4:20:21
50-54 Years1. Tony O’Hagan 4:28:11
55-59 Years1. Glenn Wright 4:29:35
60-64 Years1. Peter Kane 4:41:18
65-69 Years1. Ron Wylie 5:05:58
70-74 Years1. Ray Lichtwark 5:29:19
80+ Years1. Garth Barfoot 8:21:40
Age Group Women’s
20-24 Years1. Yasmin Kessner 5:16:21
25-29 Years1. Julia Hunt 4:44:58
30-34 Years1. Kirsty Wood 4:55:17
35-39 Years1. Katherine Kabala 5:01:59
40-44 Years1. Fleur Bromley 4:52:22
45-49 Years1. Kathy Eggers 5:14:22
50-54 Years1. Jen McDermott 5:04:04
55-59 Years1. Jane Baldwin 5:15:34
60-64 Years1. Karen Williams 6:12:59
70-74 Years1. Shirley Jean Rolston 6:55:59
Enduro Results – Saturday, 12 January 2018
1. Sam Clark 5:27:51
2. Hayden Corkin 5:59:30
3. Daniel Eberhardt 6:19:21
1. Megan Arthur 6:31:28
2. Erin Furness 6:40:05
3. Rebecca Swainson 6:45:43
Hopt Soda Aquabike Results – Saturday, 12 January 2018
1. Rob Haynes 1:30:43
2. Michael Glynn 1:30:56
3. Bron Healey 1:31:02
1. Claire Badenhorst 1:38:26
2. Natalie Smith 1:39:18
3. Issy Coombes 1:39:28