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Ironman...James Katene achieved his goal at the Taupo Ironman. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

Timaru triathlete James Katene went to the Taupo Ironman determined to improve on his previous year’s effort and succeeded.

“I was pretty happy with what I did last year but I had a few mechanical issues four punctures,” the 26-year-old said.

“I believe it slowed me by 1hr 20min. I had to do three tube changes myself and the other time had to wait for a mechanic.”

His time was 14hr 16min.

“This time I did 12hr 6min and was really happy with it. I had no punctures whatsoever.”

The ironman is a major test of endurance and mental fortitude comprising a 3.8km swim in Lake Taupo, a 180km bike ride followed by a full marathon run of 42km.

“With the ironman anything can happen and everyone goes into a dark space but you’ve got to get past that. It’s about how you get yourself up mentally.

“I got 27th out of 51 (in the 25-31 age category).

“I feel I achieved what I wanted to do. I had a very controlled event, got my nutrition right and my pace in the last hour was the strongest.

“I left it all out there, but I finished with a smile.”

End in sight…James Katene approaches the finish line at Taupo. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Katene trained eight months for the event, 15 to 20 hours a week. A member of the South Canterbury Pacers Club, he has been racing triathlons for more than five years, gradually building up the distances.

“My dream is to compete in the Hawaii Ironman. I’d like to get there in two to three years time.”

The self-coached Katene said he was grateful for the support received from local businesses.