Victory surprise

Didn’t know he had won until he was told at the finish line

Didn’t know he had won until he was told at the finish line

Dougal Watts starts the cycle leg of the Coast Duathlon race from Gisborne to Te Puia Springs . . . with a puncture waiting just minutes down the road. The senior constable is used to brother Stu being in the media limelight through his success in reality TV programme The Block. On Saturday, Dougal grabbed the headlines by winning the individual title of the duathlon, although he was under the impression that Tim Marshall was ahead of him. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Josiah Ney on the opening run leg to Tatapouri. Ney and younger brother Caleb were first team overall and the only ones to break the four-hour mark.

Dougal Watts figured he was beaten.

The first patch of roadworks on State Highway 35, minutes out of Tatapouri, had claimed him.

His solo bid in the Coast Duathlon was turning pear-shaped as he glimpsed a chasing Tim Marshall’s bright yellow riding top pass by, while he was head-down repairing a puncture and a loose bike seat for good measure.

For the rest of his five-and-a-half-hour ride and run to Te Puia on Saturday, he had no idea he was still the leading individual in the milestone 30th 100-kilometre run/cycle/run from Gisborne to the Te Puia Hot Springs pub.

The rider in fluoro, he discovered later, was a similarly dressed team rider.

It was a surprise to the Gisborne police officer to be told at the finish line he had beaten Marshall to the line by 17 minutes, recording faster splits on runs and bike legs — all the while believing Marshall was somewhere ahead of him.

But Marshall, a long-time team and solo campaigner over many years of the duathlon, had not made up enough of the eight minutes that Watts had built on the 14km run from the city centre to Tatapouri.

He was close but on the 10km finishing run from Tokomaru Bay up to Te Puia pub, the gap doubled in size.

Third in the small solo field in 6:45 was fellow veteran Ron Skelton, a 31-times NZ ironman competitor and ultra-endurance cyclist who is preparing for another crack at the gruelling Race Across America cycle race next year.

Evergreen veteran Keith Scholes, a former winner, withdrew before Tolaga Bay, calling it not his day.

A long way up the road, two athletes who would not be veterans even if they combined their ages were blitzing the teams’ race.

Brothers Josiah and Caleb Ney bolted from the field on the 14km run to Tatapouri, laid down the fastest cycle split, threw in a second-fastest time on the run to Te Puia and recorded the only sub-four-hour time of 3:55.

This gave them junior team and overall line honours.

Next-best team were the winning men’s duo of Peter Blake and Michael Lynch, who were third into Tatapouri and second-fastest on the cycle leg.

Their race time of 4:22 was half an hour ahead of the second men, and eight minutes faster than winning veteran team Murray van Dorp and Hans van Kregten, who clocked 4:30 and were 11 minutes ahead of first women Samantha Jennings, Rose Candy and June Beange. Candy had the third-fastest ride time.

Winning mixed team Gerard McDiarmid, Phil Rowland and Janine McDiarmid were just a minute behind and closing on the final run.

Next to finish were second-placed men’s team Chris Gilmore, Tim Soloman and Josh Campbell, second-placed women’s team Phoebe Bint and Eliza Hood, second-placed mixed team Frank Erceg, Samantha Jennings and Kim Hedley, and second-placed vet team Rocky and Russell Smyth — with only a 12-minute spread covering them.

Rocky Smyth knocked out the final run in just under 48 minutes, denying the Ney brothers a clean sweep of fastest splits.

While the road surface and roadworks were the worst in the race’s history, most managed to get through unscathed.

The weather had threatened to make conditions more difficult for competitors but opened an almost-perfect window of cool temperature and light wind, with the rain arriving too late to be a spoiler.

Dougal Watts figured he was beaten.

The first patch of roadworks on State Highway 35, minutes out of Tatapouri, had claimed him.

His solo bid in the Coast Duathlon was turning pear-shaped as he glimpsed a chasing Tim Marshall’s bright yellow riding top pass by, while he was head-down repairing a puncture and a loose bike seat for good measure.

For the rest of his five-and-a-half-hour ride and run to Te Puia on Saturday, he had no idea he was still the leading individual in the milestone 30th 100-kilometre run/cycle/run from Gisborne to the Te Puia Hot Springs pub.

The rider in fluoro, he discovered later, was a similarly dressed team rider.

It was a surprise to the Gisborne police officer to be told at the finish line he had beaten Marshall to the line by 17 minutes, recording faster splits on runs and bike legs — all the while believing Marshall was somewhere ahead of him.

But Marshall, a long-time team and solo campaigner over many years of the duathlon, had not made up enough of the eight minutes that Watts had built on the 14km run from the city centre to Tatapouri.

He was close but on the 10km finishing run from Tokomaru Bay up to Te Puia pub, the gap doubled in size.

Third in the small solo field in 6:45 was fellow veteran Ron Skelton, a 31-times NZ ironman competitor and ultra-endurance cyclist who is preparing for another crack at the gruelling Race Across America cycle race next year.

Evergreen veteran Keith Scholes, a former winner, withdrew before Tolaga Bay, calling it not his day.

A long way up the road, two athletes who would not be veterans even if they combined their ages were blitzing the teams’ race.

Brothers Josiah and Caleb Ney bolted from the field on the 14km run to Tatapouri, laid down the fastest cycle split, threw in a second-fastest time on the run to Te Puia and recorded the only sub-four-hour time of 3:55.

This gave them junior team and overall line honours.

Next-best team were the winning men’s duo of Peter Blake and Michael Lynch, who were third into Tatapouri and second-fastest on the cycle leg.

Their race time of 4:22 was half an hour ahead of the second men, and eight minutes faster than winning veteran team Murray van Dorp and Hans van Kregten, who clocked 4:30 and were 11 minutes ahead of first women Samantha Jennings, Rose Candy and June Beange. Candy had the third-fastest ride time.

Winning mixed team Gerard McDiarmid, Phil Rowland and Janine McDiarmid were just a minute behind and closing on the final run.

Next to finish were second-placed men’s team Chris Gilmore, Tim Soloman and Josh Campbell, second-placed women’s team Phoebe Bint and Eliza Hood, second-placed mixed team Frank Erceg, Samantha Jennings and Kim Hedley, and second-placed vet team Rocky and Russell Smyth — with only a 12-minute spread covering them.

Rocky Smyth knocked out the final run in just under 48 minutes, denying the Ney brothers a clean sweep of fastest splits.

While the road surface and roadworks were the worst in the race’s history, most managed to get through unscathed.

The weather had threatened to make conditions more difficult for competitors but opened an almost-perfect window of cool temperature and light wind, with the rain arriving too late to be a spoiler.

Coast Duathlon results

Individual section — Men: Dougal Watts 5hrs 35mins 12secs, 1; Tim Marshall 5:52:44, 2; Ron Skelton 6:45:14, 3; Keith Scholes dnf.

Teams section — Men: Peter Blake/Michael Lynch 4:22:23, 1; Chris Gilmore/Tim Soloman/Josh Campbell 4:56:42, 2; Doug Rawiri/Adrian Sparks 6:28:45, 3.

Women: Samantha Jennings/Rose Candy/June Beange 4:41:05, 1; Phoebe Bint/Eliza Hood 4:59:15, 2.

Mixed: Gerard McDiarmid/Phil Rowland/Janine McDiarmid 4:42:01, 1; Frank Erceg/Samantha Jennings/Kim Hedley 5:07:28, 2; Samantha Jennings/Kim Hedley 5:07:33, 3; Mark van Wijk/Neil Smoker/Bill Wheeler/Sonja van Wijk 5:10:05, 4; Dougal Watts/Joanne Buckley 5:20:31, 5.

Veteran: Murray van Dorp/Hans van Kregten 4:30:41, 1; Rocky Smyth/ Russell Smyth 5:08:59, 2; Ann Wood/Bruce Humphris/Annette Robinson/Stefel Gordon 5:27:55, 3; Pete Lamont/Jim Gambrill/Norm Graham/Dave Conway 5:55:29, 4.

Junior: Josiah Ney/Caleb Ney 3:55:23, 1 (and overall line honours).

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