Timaru athletes to fore in Challenge Wanaka

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Timaru athletes have plenty of reasons to celebrate after the Challenge Wanaka ironman event last weekend.

Half ironman competitor Jared Millar was first in his 25-29 age bracket, while fellow competitor James Katene finished fourth in the February 17 event.

Success also followed for Rebecca Allnutt who was second in the female 18-24 age bracket.

Each completed a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run.

Millar, who completed the event in 4hr 30min 44sec, said he was happy with his result, which not only resulted in a win for his category, but second place overall for the half ironman event.

Millar, who competed in the event last year, managed to also knock 26 minutes off his previous time.

Allnutt, who was competing in her first Challenge Wanaka, finished her race in 5hr 38min 4sec.

“I’m stoked. I never thought I could do it as fast as I [did], or get a placing. I was just pleased to cross the finish line,” she said.

She was not sure if she would enter again.

“Never say never,” she said.

Allnutt started training for the half ironman in August last year.

“Before then I had never ridden a road bike. I had done a little bit of swimming, but not heaps so I was getting swimming lessons and learning how to use clip-on shoes on a bike and building up time [in each discipline] in the lead up.”

Katene (24) competed in the 25-29 age bracket in a bid to qualify for the ITU long course world championships in Denmark in July.

He was pleased with his results, finishing in 5hr 15min 29sec.

“I didn’t expect top five,” Katene said.

Instead, he was aiming for a top-10 placing, and managed to exceed that despite the tough conditions.

“It was pretty good in the morning for the swim, pouring down on the bike, which made it very slippery and dangerous, then [it was] nice and sunny for the running.”

Katene is now training for the Rarotonga Triathlon in May and the Denmark event.

To qualify for the world championships he had to finish Challenge Wanaka in the top six or within 20% of the winner’s time.

He finished in the top six by 7 minutes and had 51 minutes to spare to get within 20% of the winner.

Millar has qualified to compete in Denmark and at the ITU sprint and standard world championships on the Gold Coast in September.

However, time restraints for training and fundraising meant he had opted to compete in the Gold Coast event only.