Kiwi’s Dougal Allan and Josie Wilcox took the top spots at the UDC Finance XTERRA Motatapu off-road triathlon on Saturday (March 4) with winning times of 4:09:27 and 4:54:06, respectively.
It’s the second win in three years for Allan at Motatapu, and his second win in two weeks on the South Island of New Zealand following his impressive course record-breaking victory at Challenge Wanaka on February 18.
“It was tough, I am not conditioned to the mountains at the moment,” said Allan, who edged last year’s winner Olly Shaw to the tape by just over one-minute. “I came here because I wanted a good adventure and this is what I used to do, and I still love it. Last week I still couldn’t really walk so I didn’t think I would race, but on about Wednesday I loosened up and knew I would be okay. Today was about having fun though and the win is a bonus. I had a cushion into the final descent over Olly, and thought I could run it softly, but there is no such thing as running an event like this softly!”
Former Nelson Girls High student Josie Wilcox was a surprising but impressive winner of the women’s race, usurping pre-ace favorites Julia Grant and Martina Fellman to take out the win on her first attempt at the iconic event, finishing almost five minutes in front of last year’s champion Mary Gray.
Having returned from a running scholarship in the States in 2014, Wilcox has spent some time on the mountain bike and might have found her niche after an impressive showing.
“This is my first time here so I am very pleased. I started towards the middle of the field in the swim and gave up about five minutes in the technical area on the bike but made up ground on the hills and then on the run – I knew I could do that on the run, that is my strength.”
The XTERRA Motatapu course, which combines a 2km swim with a 47km mountain bike, and 15km trail run is the longest and arguably one of the hardest courses on the entire XTERRA World Tour. More than half the field took six hours or longer to finish.
The race was the second of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 29. Here's a look at the 17 athletes who punched their ticket to paradise on Saturday:
Female 18-24: Mary Gray 25-29: Josie Wilcox 30-34: Femke Hilbink 35-39: Kristy Jennings 40-44: Claire Martin 45-49: Megan Brett 50-54: Kate Hobsley 55-59: Celine Hepworth 60-64: Alison Russell. Male 18-24: Liam Robinson 25-29: Tyrone Hellyer 30-34: Adam Wilson 35-39: Matt Randall 40-44: Stephen Hurdley 45-49: Nicholas Kensington 50-54: David Cormack 60-64: Chris Seeley 65+: Robert Jackson.
Over 3,500 competitors were treated to a perfect Queenstown Lakes District day for the 13th hosting of the Macpac Motatapu, New Zealand’s iconic one day multi-sport race with walkers, runners, triathletes and mountain bikers competing in a variety of races from the 15km Miners Trail, to the 51km Ultra-Run.
MOTATAPU BY THE NUMBERS: SKODA Mountain Bike – 1,914 riders; Off Road Marathon – 437 runners; Miners Trail – 688 runners; XTERRA UDC Finance Triathlon – 225 triathletes; Ultra-Run – 96 runners. TOTAL = 3,360 racers
Full results CLICK HERE