Thursday, November 30, 2023

Howick triathlete snatches silver medal

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Ainsley Thorpe (left) on the podium. Photo supplied

Over the weekend 19-year-old local, Ainsley Thorpe snatched herself a silver medal at the Oceania Triathlon Union Junior Championships in Perth. The hot weather conditions made for an earlier start for the girl’s races which consisted of a 2 lap swim, 3 lap bike and 4 lap run of the course.

Thorpe didn’t have the best start and was slightly behind after lap 1 of the swim. She managed to make up some time after the second lap of the swim and came out of the water fourth only 10 seconds down on the leaders.

The first kilometre on the bike was crucial as she managed to bridge the gap to the leading three athletes alone. Once in the lead group the four girls worked well together and maintained a 50 second gap to the large chase group which had most of the competitors.

Thorpe’s favourite part of the course was the bike leg.

“I was able to gauge how I was feeling and what I had to do on the run knowing who would be coming off the bike with me,” she said.

Heading into the weekend, Thorpe had been focusing on tempo training with some race pace efforts, working on her speed.

“Everything had gone to plan in the build-up and I was ready to see what I could do on the day,” she said.

Coming into transition two, all four girls had great transitions and headed out onto the 4-lap run together. After two laps, they managed to drop two athletes. However, a small tactical error from the 2 leading girls showed and they slowed down allowing the eventual winner, Joanne Miller (AUS) to bridge back onto the group on the start of the 4th lap.

It came down to a very close sprint over the last 200m between Miller and Thorpe, but she was just beaten on the line.

Thorpe’s achievement is proudly supported by her close friends and family and encouragement from coach Bruce Hunter.

“I would not be where I am without his support and belief in what I can achieve in triathlon,” she said.

Thorpe will wrap up her season racing this weekend in Wellington and will then take a short break before getting back into it later this year.

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